Rafael Daniel Camerini-Otero, M.D., Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Genetics & Biochemistry Branch


Building NIHBC 05, Room 205A
5 Memorial Dr
Bethesda, MD 20892

+1 301 496 2710


Research Topics

The ultimate goal of our research is to improve the health of individuals with inherited and congenital conditions and diseases.

Current Research

My laboratory is interested in the biochemistry and molecular biology of homologous recombination in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The focus had been on the first homology-dependent step in homologous recombination, the homologous pairing of DNAs. We have been studying the underlying biochemical mechanism to understand the biology of genetic recombination and to devise new strategies to manipulate complex genomes in vitro and, in the future, in vivo, and the DNA-protein complexes involved. In addition, we have been studying the biochemistry and molecular biology of mouse meiosis and evolutionary genomics. Most recently, we have been investigating novel approaches to map recombination hotspots in a variety of mammals including humans.


  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2012
  • Solomon A. Berson (NYU) Medical Alumni Achievement Award in Basic Science, 2001
  • Gerald D. Aurbach Lecture Award of the Endocrine Society, 1993
  • Founding Fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics, 1993
  • American Society for Clinical Investigation, 1983
  • Research Associate, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, NIAMDD, NIH, 1974-1977
  • Fellow in Medical Genetics, Johns Hopkins University and Hospital, 1977-1978
  • Pediatrics Residency, New York University & Bellevue Hospital, 1973-1974
  • M.D., Ph.D., New York University, 1973
  • B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1966

Selected Publications

  1. Brick K, Smagulova F, Khil P, Camerini-Otero RD, Petukhova GV. Genetic recombination is directed away from functional genomic elements in mice. Nature. 2012;485(7400):642-5.
  2. Pratto F, Brick K, Khil P, Smagulova F, Petukhova GV, Camerini-Otero RD. DNA recombination. Recombination initiation maps of individual human genomes. Science. 2014;346(6211):1256442.
  3. Brick K, Thibault-Sennett S, Smagulova F, Lam KG, Pu Y, Pratto F, Camerini-Otero RD, Petukhova GV. Extensive sex differences at the initiation of genetic recombination. Nature. 2018;561(7723):338-342.
  4. Lam KG, Brick K, Cheng G, Pratto F, Camerini-Otero RD. Cell-type-specific genomics reveals histone modification dynamics in mammalian meiosis. Nat Commun. 2019;10(1):3821.
  5. Pratto F, Brick K, Cheng G, Lam KG, Cloutier JM, Dahiya D, Wellard SR, Jordan PW, Camerini-Otero RD. Meiotic recombination mirrors patterns of germline replication in mice and humans. Cell. 2021;184(16):4251-4267.e20.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Wednesday, January 10, 2024