Skip to main content

View Faculty Video

Susan L Forsburg

Professor of Biological Sciences

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 740-7342
Office: RRI 104C

Personal Website


Ph.D. Biology (genetics), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 5/1989
A.B. English and Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley, 6/1984

Postdoctoral Training

Postdoctoral Fellow, Imperial Cancer Research Fund/Oxford University, 08/01/1989-08/01/1993  

Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

Tenure Track Appointments

Professor, University of Southern California, 2006-  
Associate Professor, University of Southern California, 2004-2006  
Associate Professor, Molecular & Cell Biology Laboratory, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, 05/01/2000-05/31/2004  
Adjunct Associate Professor, Biology, University of California, San Diego, 05/01/2000-05/31/2004  
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Biology, University of California, San Diego, 01/01/1997-05/01/2000  
Assistant Professor, Molecular Biology & Virology Laboratory, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, 09/01/1993-05/01/2000  

Visiting and Temporary Appointments

Visiting Professor in Genetics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, 06/01/1995-08/01/1995  

Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

Accurate duplication and segregation of our chromosomes is critical for human development and well-being. Defects in the processes that maintain the integrity of our genome contribute to cancer, birth defects, and other disorders. Professor Forsburg studies how chromosome duplication and maintenance contributes to overall genome stability using a simple model genetic system, the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Fission yeast is a single-celled organism with chromosomes very similar to those in humans, and uses the same genes to maintain those chromosomes. It has proven to be an important model for cell division. Because loss of genome integrity and deregulation of cell division is associated with cancer, this is a fundamental form of cancer research.

Research Keywords

genome integrity, DNA replication, recombination, chromosomes, translocation, meiosis, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, fission yeast, genetics, model system, cancer, cell biology, molecular biology, MCM proteins

Research Specialties

Cancer Biology, DNA replication, chromosome dynamics, genome integrity, live cell analysis, microscopy, cell biology, genetics

Affiliations with Research Centers, Labs, and Other Institutions

USC/Norris Cancer Center, member


Journal Article

Sabatinos, S. A., Ranatunga, N. S., Yuan, J., Green, M. D., Forsburg, S. L. (2015). Replication stress in early S phase generates apparent micronuclei and chromosome rearrangement in fission yeast. Mol. Biol. Cell. Vol. 26, pp. 3439-50. PubMed Web Address
Forsburg, S. L. (2015). Managing Single-Stranded DNA during Replication Stress in Fission Yeast. Biomolecules. Vol. 5, pp. 2123-39. PubMed Web Address
Mastro, T. L., Forsburg, S. L. (2014). Increased Meiotic Crossovers and Reduced Genome Stability in Absence of Schizosaccharomyces pombe Rad16 (XPF). Genetics. Vol. 198 (4), pp. 1457-72. PubMed Web Address
Ding, L., Laor, D., Weisman, R., Forsburg, S. L. (2014). Rapid regulation of nuclear proteins by rapamycin-induced translocation in fission yeast. Yeast. Vol. 31 (72014/04/16), pp. 253-64.
Ding, L., Forsburg, S. L. (2014). Essential Domains of Schizosaccharomyces pombe Rad8 Required for DNA Damage Response. G3. Vol. 4 (82014/05/31), pp. 1373-84.
Peng, J., Chen, Y., Green, M. D., Forsburg, S. L., Hsu, C. (2013). PombeX: Robust Cell Segmentation for Fission Yeast Transillumination Images. PLOS ONE. Vol. 8 (12), pp. e81434. Open access
Forsburg, S. L. (2013). The CINs of the centromere. Biochem Soc Trans.. Vol. 41, pp. 1706-11. Pubmed
Li, P. C., Green, M. D., Forsburg, S. L. (2013). Mutations disrupting histone methylation have different effects on replication timing in S. pombe centromere. PLOS ONE. Vol. 8 (5), pp. e61464. Pubmed
Li, P. C., Petreaca, R. C., Jensen, A., Yuan, J. P., Green, M. D., Forsburg, S. L. (2013). Replication fork stability is essential for the maintenance of centromere integrity in the absence of heterochromatin. Cell reports. Vol. 3 (32013/03/13), pp. 638-45. Pubmed
Slaymaker, I. M., Fu, Y., Toso, D. B., Ranatunga, N., Brewster, A., Forsburg, S. L., Zhou, Z. H., Chen, X. S. (2013). Mini-chromosome maintenance complexes form a filament to remodel DNA structure and topology. Nucleic acids research. Vol. 41 (52013/01/31), pp. 3446-56. Pubmed
Sabatinos, S. A., Mastro, T. L., Green, M. D., Forsburg, S. L. (2013). A mammalian-like DNA damage response of fission yeast to nucleoside analogs. Genetics. Vol. 193 (12012/11/15), pp. 143-57. Pubmed
Le, A. H., Mastro, T. L., Forsburg, S. L. (2013). The C-terminus of S. pombe DDK subunit Dfp1 is required for meiosis-specific transcription and cohesin cleavage. Biology open. Vol. 2 (72013/07/19), pp. 728-38. Pubmed
Sabatinos, S. A., Green, M. D., Forsburg, S. L. (2012). Continued DNA synthesis in replication checkpoint mutants leads to fork collapse. Molecular and cellular biology. Vol. 32 (242012/10/10), pp. 4986-97. Pubmed
Ding, L., Forsburg, S. L. (2011). Schizosaccharomyces pombe MCM binding protein (MCM-BP) antagonizes MCM helicase. J. Biol. Chem. Vol. 286, pp. 32918-30. Pubmed
Li, P. C., Chretien, L., Cote, J., Kelly, T. J., Forsburg, S. L. (2011). S. pombe replication protein Cdc18 (Cdc6) interacts with Swi6 (HP1) heterochromatin protein: region specific effects and replication timing in the centromere. Vol. 10 (22011/01/18), pp. 323-36. Pubmed
Dolan, W. P., Le, A. H., Schmidt, H., Yuan, J. P., Green, M., Forsburg, S. L. (2010). Fission yeast Hsk1 (Cdc7) kinase is required after replication initiation for induced mutagenesis and proper response to DNA alkylation damage. Genetics. Vol. 185 (12010/02/24), pp. 39-53.
Nugent, R. L., Johnsson, A., Fleharty, B., Gogol, M., Xue-Franzen, Y., Seidel, C., Wright, A. P., Forsburg, S. L. (2010). Expression profiling of S. pombe acetyltransferase mutants identifies redundant pathways of gene regulation. BMC Genomics. Vol. 11 (2010/01/26), pp. 59.
Singh, S. K., Sabatinos, S., Forsburg, S. L., Bastia, D. (2010). Regulation of replication termination by Reb1 protein-mediated action at a distance. Cell. Vol. 142 (62010/09/21), pp. 868-78.
Sabatinos, S. A., Forsburg, S. L. Measuring DNA Content by Flow Cytometry in Fission Yeast. Methods Mol Vol. 521. 2009: 449-61
Green, M. D., Sabatinos, S. A., Forsburg, S. L. (2009). Microscopy techniques to examine DNA replication in fission yeast. Methods Mol Biol. Vol. 521 (2009/07/01), pp. 463-82.
Forsburg, S. L. (2008). The MCM helicase: at the interface of checkpoints and the replication fork. Bioch. Society Trans.. Vol. 36, pp. 114-119.
Bailis, J. M., Luche, D. D., Hunter, T., Forsburg, S. L. (2008). Minichromosome maintenance proteins interact with checkpoint and recombination proteins to promote s-phase genome stability. Mol Cell Biol. Vol. 28 (52008/01/09), pp. 1724-38.
Gómez, E. B., Nugent, R. L., Laria, S., Forsburg, S. L. (2008). Schizosaccharomyces pombe histone acetyltransferase Mst1 (KAT5) is an essential protein required for damage response and chromosome segregation. Genetics. Vol. 179 (22008/05/29), pp. 757-71.
Pankratz, D. G., Forsburg, S. L. (2005). Meiotic S-phase damage activates recombination without checkpoint arrest. Mol. Biol. Cell. Vol. 16, pp. 1651-1660.
Bailis, J. M., Bernard, P., Antonelli, R., Allshire, R., Forsburg, S. L. (2003). Hsk1/Dfp1 is required for heterochromatin-mediated cohesion at centromeres. Nat. Cell Biol.. pp. 1111-1116.
Catlett, M. G., Forsburg, S. L. (2003). Schizosaccharomyces pombe Rdh54 (TID1) acts with Rhp54 (RAD54) to repair meiotic double-strand breaks. Mol. Biol. Cell. Vol. 14, pp. 4707-20.
Hodson, J. A., Bailis, J. M., Forsburg, S. L. (2003). Efficient labeling of fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe with thymidine and BUdR. Nucl. Acids Res. .. Vol. 31, pp. e134.
Wood, V., Gwilliam, R., Rajandream, M., Lyne, M., Lyne, R., Stewart, A., Sgouros, J., Peat, N., Hayles, J., Baker, S., Basham, D., Bowman, S., Brooks, K., Brown, D., Brown, S., Fraser, T., Gentles, S., Goble, A., Hamlin, N., Harris, D., Hidalgo, J., Hodgson, G., Holroyd, S., Holroyd, S., Hornsby, T., Howarth, S., Huckle, E. J., Hunt, S., Jagels, K., James, K., Jones, L., Jones, M., Leather, S., Mcdonald, S., McLean, J., Moule, S., Mungail, K., Murphy, L., Niblett, D., Odell, C., Oliver, K., O'Neil, S., Pearson, D., Quail, M. A., Rabbinowitsch, E., Rutherford, K., Rutter, S., Saunders, D., Seeger, K., Sharp, S., skelton, J., Simmonds, M., Squares, R., Squares, s., Stevens, K., Taylor, K., Taylor, R. g., Walsh, S., Warren, T., Whitehead, S., Woodwrd, j., Volckaerv, G., Aert, R., Robben, J., Grymonprez, B., Weltjens, I., Vanstreels, E., Rieger, M., Schofer, M., Muller-Auer, S., Gabel, C., fuchs, M., Fritze, C., Holzer, E., Moestl, D., Hilbert, H., Borzym, K., Langer, I., Beck, A., Lehrach, H., Reinhardt, R., Pohl, T. M., Eger, P., Zimmermann, W., Wedler, H., Wambutt, r., Purnelle, B., Goffeau, A., Cadieu, E., Driano, S., Gloux, S., Lelaure, V., Mottier, S., Galibert, F., Aves, S. J., Xiang, Z., Hunt, C., Moore, K., Hurst, S. M., Lucas, M., Rochet, M., Gaillardin, C., Tailada, V. A., Garzon, A., Thode, G., Daga, R. r., Cruza, L. |. (2002). The genome sequence of the eukaryote fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Nature. Vol. 415, pp. 871-880.
Forsburg, S. L. (2001). The art and design of genetic screens: yeast. Nature Rev. Genet.. Vol. 2, pp. 659-668.


Sabatinos, S. A., Forsburg, S. L. (2013). Preserving the Replication Fork in Response to Nucleotide Starvation: Evading the Replication Fork Collapse Point. The Mechanisms of DNA Replication (open access)Intech.

Multimedia Scholarship and Creative Works

Web Page, Remembering Marguerite Vogt: a biography (web site), 2007-2008  
web site, Women in Biology Internet Launch Pages, 1997-  
Web page, The Forsburg Lab pombe pages or, 1995-  

Honors and Awards

Fellow (or Equivalent) of National Society in Discipline, American Academy of Microbiology, 2014-  
Fellow, California Academy of Sciences, 2013-  
Fellow, Association of Women in Science, 2006-  
Received the 2011 Evans Award from the American Society of Microbiology to honor her contribution to the participation and advancement of women in microbiology., 2011  
USC faculty fellow, Center for Excellence in Research, 2008-2011  
Mellon Mentoring Award Certificate, USC, 2005-2006   
Fellow (or Equivalent) of National Society in Discipline, Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2004  
Recipient of National or International Prize in Discipline, Stohlman Scholar, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, 2002  
Recipient of National or International Prize in Discipline, American Society for Cell Biology WICB Junior Career Recognition Award, 1996  

Service to the Profession

Editorships and Editorial Boards

Senior Editor, Genes, Genomes, and Genetics, 2011-  

Professional Memberships

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2007-  
Association for Women in Science, 1995-  
American Society for Cell Biology, 1994-  
American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1993-  
Genetics Society of America, 1990-  
Faculty may update their profile by visiting