Gen*NY*Sis Center for Excellence in Cancer Genomics

University at Albany, State University of New York

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Gen*NY*sis Faculty

Biomedical Sciences



Post-Doctoral Fellows:

James Keith BS (2002, University of St. Francis, Fort Wayne, IN), Ph.D. 2007, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame IN)

            Previous experiments in the laboratory have established that transcription of the cyclin kinase inhibitor p21 gene is induced following stress as a result of binding of p53 to defined response elements within the gene. To dissect the temporal aspects of the formation of the transcriptional complexes Jamie has constructed a 6 kb composite reporter gene encompassing the proximal and distal elements of the p21 promoter. He is performing sequential ChIP-ChIP analysis to determine if a temporally ordered occupancy of the response elements is required for the assembly of functional RNA Pol II complex on the basal promoter. In addition he is investigating whether the same temporal sequence is seen with different cellular stresses or chemotherapies.

Graduate Students:

Sarah Mordan-McCombs, BA (2003, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN)

            To investigate the role of the vitamin D receptor in prostate carcinogenesis, Sarah has crossed the Vitamin D receptor knockout mouse (VDRKO) with the LBP-Tag mouse which predictably develops prostate cancer. Using a variety of methods including histological analysis and molecular techniques she has examined the role of calcium and androgens in the progression of prostate cancer. She is currently using laser capture micro-dissection (LCM) and gene array technologies to define the role of the VDR in the epithelial-stromal interactions responsible for the growth regulation of prostate tumor growth and progression.

Namita Chatterjee, BSc (2003, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON Canada), MS (2008, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame IN)

            Namita is establishing new pre-clinical models to study inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). IBC is a rare but very aggressive form of breast cancer that has a very different natural history than more common ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Development of new therapies for IBC have been hampered by the lack of good model systems for the disease. Using two inflammatory breast cancer cell lines (SUM-149PT and SUM-190PT), originally established at the University of Michigan, Namita is characterizing their growth response to estrogen and their response to anti-estrogens and histone deacetylase inhibitors in vitro and in orthotopic models of breast cancer. The objective of these studies is to develop a better understanding of the cell and molecular biology of IBC and to develop improved therapies for IBC.

Winnie Wei-Lin Wang, BSc (2007, Queen’s University, Kingston ON Canada)

            Winnie is using whole genome transcriptome analysis, real time PCR and Western blotting  to investigate the interaction between vitamin D receptor-mediated signaling and androgen receptor-mediated transcription in prostate cancer. Her observations have established that elevated levels of vitamin D may abrogate the effects of anti-androgens such as bicalutamide in prostate cancer, particularly in men with normal circulating androgen levels. Her results implicate several vitamin D-responsive, calcium-mediated processes in the modulation of cell death in prostate cancer cell lines. She is using in vitro models of early stage and locally invasive prostate cancer to characterize the involvement of the vitamin D endocrine system in the efficacy of standard hormone therapy.

Visiting Co-op Students

Ann-Christin Gaupel, Diploma Thesis, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany

            Ann-Christin is using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry to examine the effects of several histone deacetylase inhibitors on the acetylation of nuclear proteins in general, and p53 in particular. Previous studies in the laboratory have established that post-translational modifications of p53, particularly acetylation, play a critical role in stabilizing the protein, but also result in the formation of different transcriptional complexes in prostate and breast cancer cell lines depending on the site of acetylation and the other modifications present in the protein. Since there are many other targets for acetylation and deacetylation in the nucleus besides p53, Ann-Christin is also using twodimensional fluorescence difference gel electrophoresis (DIGE) to identify changes in the post-translational modification of other nuclear proteins.

Summer Students

Courtney Ensslin undergraduate major in Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame IN


Ken Jones

Last updated on 02/18/2009


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