Phyllis Strauss

Phyllis StraussMatthews Distinguished Professor and
Director, Biochemistry Program
Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology

Department of Biology
Northeastern University
106 Lake Hall
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

Academic Education

  • B.S., Pembroke College in Brown University
  • Ph.D., The Rockefeller University


  • Professor of Biology, Northeastern University (1984 – present)
  • Fulbright Research Scholar, Department of Zoology, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India (2010)
  • Sabbatical 1/02-9/02 Guest Researcher, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Laboratory of Structural Biology (2002)
  • Sabbatical 9/01-12/01Professeur Invitee, Institut Gustav Roussy, Villejuif, France (2001)
  • Sabbatical: Senior Scientist, Sealy Center for Molecular Science, University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston, Laboratory of Dr. Samuel H. Wilson (1994 – 1995)
  • Sabbatical: Visiting Scholar, Department of Biochemistry, Harvard University (1988)
  • Special Assignment to the Executive Vice President, Northeastern University (1987)
  • Sabbatical: Guest Worker, National Cancer Institute (1981)
  • Associate Professor of Biology, Northeastern University (1978 – 1984)
  • Assistant Professor of Biology, Northeastern University (1973 – 1978)
  • Research Fellow, Department of Physiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (1971 – 1973)

Other Professional Activities


  • DNA Repair (2004-present)


  • AAAS (1964 – present)
  • Sigma Xi (1965)
  • Lipid Club of New York (1967 – 1970)
  • American Society of Protozoologists (1967 – 2004)
  • New York Academy of Sciences (1911 – 1987)
  • American Society of Cell Biologists (1972 – present)
  • American Women in Science (1977 – present)
  • American Association of Immunologists (1980 – 1987)
  • NIH Alumni Association (1982 – 1987)
  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (1984 – present)
  • Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine (1986 – 1990)
  • Radiation Research Society (1998 – present)
  • American Chemical Society (2000-present)
  • American Physiological Society (2009)


  • Radiation Study Section: 6/01
  • Ad Hoc Reviewer: 11/02; 6/03; 5/04; 10/04
  • NCI Manpower and Training Grants: 3/05


  • Reviewer for the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, National Research Council’s Graduate Fellowship Evaluation Panel in Biochemistry and Biophysics, USDA Human Nutrition Center on Aging at Tufts University, Veteran’s Administration, Alberta Heritage Foundation, John Wiley & Sons, Publishers, Journal of Immunology, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, Journal of Cell Biology, Canadian Journal of Biochemistry, Journal of Cellular Physiology, Biochemical Pharmacology, Experimental Cell Research, Biochimica Biophysica
    Acta, Biochemistry (Washington), United States Information Agency, Department of Defense, Sealy Center for Molecular Science, Galveston TX, Biotechniques, Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, Nucleic Acids Research, FEMS Letters, The Petroleum Research Fund and Journal of Molecular Biology

Research Interests

The Strauss lab studies the biochemistry and cell biology of DNA repair. While the primary emphasis is on the enzyme AP endonuclease 1, the laboratory is interested in the role of base excision repair (BER) in early development. Using zebrafish as a model system, we have shown that AP endonuclease controls levels of Creb1 and Creb1-dependent proteins. We have also shown that oxidative damage to the Creb consensus sequence (Cre) modulates Creb binding both positively and negatively. Thus, the level of BER in early embryogenesis is an important pathway not only for repair of oxidatively damaged DNA but also for normal development.

Teaching Activities

Teaching responsibilities have revolved primarily around biochemistry and cell biology at the introductory, intermediate and graduate levels.