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Christopher K. Mathews

Distinguished Professor Emeritus



Ph.D. 1962, University of Washington


In 2012 Dr. Mathews closed his research laboratory, which had enjoyed extramural research support for more than 48 years at three different universities. The major research interest of the Mathews laboratory was the enzymology and regulation of DNA precursors, the deoxyribonucleoside triphosphates, or dNTPs.

Some of the questions explored by Dr. Mathews and his 35 Ph.D. students, plus postdoctoral associates, research assistants, and undergraduates, included the following:

  • How are enzymes of dNTP synthesis organized within cells to facilitate the flow of intermediates into dNTPs and to maintain optimal dNTP concentrations at DNA replication sites in the face of rapid turnover as nucleotides are incorporated into DNA?
  • How are dNTP pool sizes regulated within cells to support DNA replication at optimal rates and fidelity?
  • By what mechanisms is genomic instability increased as a consequence of abnormal regulation of dNTP pools?
  • What are the pathways supplying precursors for mitochondrial DNA replication in mammalian cells?
  • To what extent does the high spontaneous mutation rate for the mitochondrial genome result from distinctive features of mitochondrial nucleotide metabolism? 

As he continues in semi-retirement, Dr. Mathews is involved with writing new editions and new versions of the biochemistry textbook that was coauthored with Ken van Holde in its first edition, in 1990.