Damon Runyon Researchers

Meet Our Scientists
J. Scott P. McCain, PhD

Many organisms (including humans) have evolved circadian rhythms to adapt to the rising and setting of the sun, and recent discoveries point to circadian rhythms even in non-photosynthetic bacteria. Bacteria have a huge impact on human health, including cancer risk and treatment outcomes, and yet we may be missing a fundamental aspect of their nature. Dr. McCain is studying circadian rhythms in bacteria: how, why, and who? He is using modern genomics and classic genetics approaches to dissect how bacteria can “predict” their environment from day to day. He is also examining why bacteria do this—what are the costs and benefits of a circadian rhythm? Finally, he is looking broadly across bacteria to examine the prevalence of circadian rhythms. This project will provide fundamental insights into the biology of bacteria and circadian rhythms, both of which have direct implications for cancer biology. Dr. McCain received his MSc and PhD from Dalhousie University and his BSc from the University of Western Ontario.

Project title: "Circadian clocks in non-photosynthetic bacteria: mechanisms and impacts"
Institution: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Award Program: Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Gene-Wei Li, PhD
Cancer Type: All Cancers
Research Area: Microbiology