Alex Chaim

Post-Doctoral Fellow
Cellular and Molecular Medicine


Ph.D. in Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2016
B.S. in Biology Universidad Simón Bolívar, 2008


Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, Alex graduated from the Universidad Simón Bolívar in Caracas with a B.S. in Biology where he tested novel biodegradable three-dimensional scaffolds for their use in cartilage tissue engineering. Alex joined the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT for his graduate studies. As part of his Ph.D. in Leona D. Samson’s laboratory Alex tried to answer the question: why do some individuals develop cancer and degenerative disease while others remain healthy? He focused on the study of cellular DNA repair capacity to tackle this question and development molecular tools to measure inter-individual differences in DNA repair capacity. Alex’s work focused specifically on the repair of DNA damage caused by endogenous cellular processes such as oxidation, alkylation and deamination, which are repaired by the base excision repair pathway. In 2016 Alex began his postdoctoral research with the Yeo lab, focusing on understanding the effects of nucleic acid damage on RNA Binding Protein biology during the development of neurodegenerative diseases. Alex is also interested in establishing single cell technologies in the lab with a specific focus on utilizing single cell transcriptomics in neurodegeneration models with the goal of identifying cell-specific molecular signatures that could allow for early intervention strategies


Chaim, I.A., A.M. Gardner, J. Wu, T. Iyama, D.M. Wilson III, and L.D. Samson, A novel role for transcription-coupled nucleotide excision repair for the in vivo repair of 3, N 4-ethenocytosine. Nucleic Acids Research, 2017: p. gkx015.

Chaim, I.A. and Z.D. Nagel, Assessing BER Capacity in the Human Population, in The Base Excision Repair Pathway: Molecular Mechanisms and Role in Disease Development and Therapeutic Design. 2017, World Scientific. p. 557-607.

Nagel, Z.D., G.J. Kitange, S.K. Gupta, B.A. Joughin, I.A. Chaim, P. Mazzucato, D.A. Lauffenburger, J.N. Sarkaria, and L.D. Samson, DNA repair capacity in multiple pathways predicts chemoresistance in glioblastoma multiforme. Cancer Research, 2017. 77(1): p. 198-206.

Nagel, Z.D., I.A. Chaim, and L.D. Samson, Inter-individual variation in DNA repair capacity: a need for multi-pathway functional assays to promote translational DNA repair research. DNA repair, 2014. 19: p. 199-213.

Nagel, Z.D., C.M. Margulies, I.A. Chaim, S.K. McRee, P. Mazzucato, A. Ahmad, R.P. Abo, V.L. Butty, A.L. Forget, and L.D. Samson, Multiplexed DNA repair assays for multiple lesions and multiple doses via transcription inhibition and transcriptional mutagenesis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014. 111(18): p. E1823-E1832.

Chaim, I.A., M.A. Sabino, M. Mendt, A.J. Müller, and D. Ajami, Evaluation of the potential of novel PCLPPDX biodegradable scaffolds as support materials for cartilage tissue engineering. Journal of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, 2012. 6(4): p. 272-279.