Cancer is the leading cause of death in the United States for people under the age of 85. It occurs when a single cell in the body stops performing its normal function and grows out of control. The instructions for normal cellular function are encoded in the DNA of a cell. Damage to DNA can lead to permanent changes, called mutations, which are the driving force for the loss of proper cell instruction and subsequent cancerous growth. To prevent mutations, all cells of the human body have a series of specialized proteins that recognize and repair chemical and physical DNA damage. In this talk, we will discuss the ways cells repair DNA, the mutagenic consequences of unprepared DNA damage, and the fates of individuals born without DNA repair proteins.

Location: Enochs High School, 3201 Sylvan Ave., Modesto, CA (Map)

Today you will learn

  • What is Cancer?
  • What is metastasis?
  • What is DNA and it's components?
  • What are genes? What do they make?
  • What are mutations?
  • What could cause mutations?
  • What is the relationship between tumor suppressors and onogenes?
  • How does DNA repair relate to cancer?


To understand the methods used at LLNL to assess the molecular nature of DNA and its role in Cancer.

Student Lecture Notes

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Speaker Bios

Dr.John Hinz

Lawrence Livermore national Laboratory

John received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Wabash College in 1995. He then went on to graduate school at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, and studied a cellular DNA repair mechanism called Mismatch repair, which plays a key role in the cellular avoidance of cancer-causing mutations arising during DNA replication. He received his Ph.D. from the department of Oncological Sciences in 2001. John has since been at the Lawrence Livermore National Labs researching the role of DNA repair in preventing mutations and cancer.