Professor of Biochemistry & Structural Biology
Robert A Welch Distinguished Chair in Chemistry
I was born in Hong Kong and earned my doctoral degree from Oxford University. After a postdoctoral fellowship with Louise and Satya Prakash at the University of Rochester, I established my laboratory in 1993 at UT Medical Branch, Galveston. Since then, I have maintained a strong commitment toward understanding how eukaryotes engage homologous recombination (HR) as tool in eliminating DNA breaks. The efficiency of HR catalyzed by the RAD51 recombinase is regulated by the tumor suppressors BRCA1 and BRCA2, providing evidence for a key role of HR in cancer avoidance. Our findings have appeared in journals such as Cell, Genes and Development, Nature, and Science. I have played a leading role in teaching, advising, and mentoring students and fellows. I have served on various NIH study sections, on the editorial board of various journals including Genes and Development (since 2002), and as an Editor or Associate Editor of Molecular & Cellular Biology (from 2000-2008) and The Journal of Biological Chemistry (since 2014). I was elected into the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering while a faculty at Yale University, where I also served as Chair of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry for six years. I was recruited to UT Health San Antonio in 2019 as a Professor of Biochemistry and Structural Biology and an Established Investigator of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). I also hold the Robert A Welch Distinguished Chair in Chemistry, and am the recipient of an Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Cancer Institute.
- 1985 - D. Phil. - Biochemistry - University of Oxford
- 1981 - B.Sc. (honors) - Biochemistry - University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
- 1993 - Postdoctoral training - Biochemistry and Genetics - University of Rochester, New York
SCBA Ray Wu Award for Basic Science (1999)
Basic Science Award, Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center (2018)
Robert A Welch Distinguished Chair in Chemistry (2019)
CPRIT Scholar of Cancer Research (2019)
NCI Outstanding Investigator Award (2019)
Mendel Lecture (2018)
Keynote Speaker: CSH Asia Meeting on DNA Metabolism, Genome Stability, and Human Disease (2021)
- 1993 - Assistant Professor of Human Biological Chemistry - University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston
- 1997 - Associate Professor (1997) and Professor (2001) - UT Health Science Center San Antonio
- 2003 - Professor of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry - Yale University
- 2019 - Professor of Biochemistry and Structural Biology - UT Health Science Center San Antonio
Instruction & Training
- 1997-2000, Chair, Graduate Program in Molecular Medicine, UT Health Science Center San Antonio
- 2000-2003, Co-director, National Cancer Institute Training Program in DNA Repair, UT Health Science Center San Antonio
Research & Grants
DNA damage response, DNA repair, and tumor suppression
5RO1 ES007061-27: Sung (PI); 07/01/2016-6/30/2021; DNA Repair Genes and Proteins of the RAD52 Group
5RO1 CA168635-08 (MPI): Sung & Kupfer (PIs); 03/01/2017-02/28/2022; Mechanistic Dissection of the Fanconi Anemia Pathway of DNA Damage Response
5R35 CA241801-01: Sung (PI); 09/01/2019-08/31/2026; Chromosome Damage Repair via the BRCA1/2 Axis
5PO1 CA92584-19: John Tainer (PI), Sung (Project Leader); 09/01/2016-08/31/2021; Structural Cell Biology of DNA Repair Machine
5R01 CA221858-01: Eric Green (PI), Sung (Subcontract PI); 04/01/2020-03/31/2025; Defining the contributions of BRCA1, BRCA2 and RAD52 to genome stability
Interim Chair (2019/2020)
Director of the Biochemical Mechanisms in Medicine Graduate Discipline (22019)
Mentor of Junior Faculty (2019-present)
Associate Dean for Research, Long School of Medicine (2019-present)
Co-leader, Cancer Development and Progression Program, Mays Cancer Center (2019-present)
2000-2004 Charter Member, NIH RTB Study Section
2006-2008 Charter Member, NIH CE Study Section
2008-2010 Chair, NIH CE Study Section
2018-2021 Member, National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council
Sung, P., L. Prakash, S. W. Matson, and S. Prakash (1987) RAD3 protein of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a DNA helicase. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 84:8951-8955.
Sung, P., V. Bailly, C. Weber, L. H. Thompson, L. Prakash, and S. Prakash. (1993) Human xeroderma pigmentosum group D gene encodes a DNA helicase. Nature 365:852-855.
Sung P. (1994) Catalysis of ATP-dependent homologous DNA pairing and strand exchange by yeast RAD51 protein. Science 265:1241-1243.
Sung P. and Robberson D. (1995) DNA strand exchange mediated by a RAD51-ssDNA nucleoprotein filament with polarity opposite to that of RecA. Cell 82:453-461.
Petukhova G, Stratton S, and Sung P. (1998) Catalysis of homologous DNA pairing by yeast Rad51 and Rad54 proteins. Nature 393: 91-94.
Krejci L, Van Komen S, Li Y, Villemain J, Reddy MS, Klein H, Ellenberger T, Sung P. (2003) DNA helicase Srs2 disrupts the Rad51 presynaptic filament. Nature 423:305-9.
Sehorn, M.G. Sigurdsson, S., Bussen, W., Unger, V.M. and Sung, P. (2004) The Human Meiotic Recombinase Dmc1 Promotes ATP-dependent Homologous DNA Strand Exchange. Nature 429:433-37.
Niu, H, Chung, W.H.,Zhu, Z., Kwon, Y.H., Zhao, W.X., Chi, P., Prakash, R. Seong, C.H., Liu, D.Q., Lu, L., Ira, G. and Sung, P. (2010) Mechanism of the ATP-dependent DNA Double-stranded Break Resection Machinery from S. cerevisiae. Nature 467:108-11.
Wilson MA, Kwon Y, Xu Y, Chung WH, Chi P, Niu H, Mayle R, Chen X, Malkova A, *Sung P, Ira G. Pif1 helicase and Polδ promote recombination-coupled DNA synthesis via bubble migration. (2013) Nature 502:393-6.
Qi Z, Redding S, Lee, JS, Gibb B, Kwon YH, Niu HY, Gaines WA, Sung P, and Greene EC. (2014) Mechanism of DNA sequence alignment during homologous recombination Cell 160:856-69.
Lee JY, Terakawa T, Qi Z, Steinfeld JB, Redding S, Kwon Y, Gaines WA, Zhao W, Sung P, and Greene EC. (2015) Base triplet stepping by the Rad51/RecA family of recombinases. Science 349:977-81.
Zhao W, Steinfeld JB, Liang FS, Chen XY, Maranon DG, Ma CJ, Kwon YH, Rao T, Wang WB, Sheng C, Song XM, Deng YH, Jimenez-Sainz J, Lu L, Jensen RB, Xiong Y, Kupfer GM, Wiese C, Greene EC, Sung P. (2017) Promotion of RAD51-mediated homologous DNA pairing by BRCA1-BARD1. Nature 550:360-365.
Crickard JB, Moevus CJ, Kwon Y, Sung P, Greene EC. (2020) Rad54 Drives ATP Hydrolysis-Dependent DNA Sequence Alignment during Homologous Recombination Cell 181:1380-1394.