Primary Research Focus
The research in this laboratory is to study the basic mechanisms that define cellular identity, and how identity may be altered during disease progression. In particular, we are currently investigating the mechanisms that “stem cell” genes play in the formation of multiple pediatric and adult tumors. We explore these foundational questions by the use of mouse genetics, tissue and 3D organoid culture, and molecular biology techniques combined with next generation genomic and bioinformatic analysis with a long-term goal of generating novel therapeutics to treat some of the most devastating diseases that afflict people worldwide.
About the Kareta Lab
Lab Projects and News
Oncogenic mechanism of Sox2 in Rb-deficient tumors
Loss of Rb is a cause of multiple pediatric tumors and loss of Rb function is common in nearly every human cancer, yet the role of Rb-loss in the formation in cancer is not fully understood. Sox2 has been implicated as a downstream effector following Rb loss. Determining the role of Sox2 in Rb-loss initiated tumors will then provide a basis for future investigations into novel cancer therapies.
The mechanism of SOX2 in the development of neuroendocrine lineages and its regulation of cell pliancy
Understanding the potential contributions of development on the ability of some cells to initiate cancer can have broad impacts on future therapies. Indeed, we will investigate master regulator genes that throughout development can define cellular identity, yet also promote cancer when aberrantly activated. Our objective is to use these investigations to better derive new targeted therapies and open new avenues for cancer prevention.
Meet the Kareta Lab Team
Madeline Vande Kamp, BS
Associate Research Specialist
Madeline “Maddie” Vande Kamp studies the mechanism of Sox2 in tumor formation through cell and genomic studies. She performs experiments, develops laboratory protocols, assists with lab management and analyzes data.
In 2016, Vande Kamp worked in the Dordt College labs, studying how Myosin Va supports nerve-cell interactions and brain health. She also investigated how environmental DNA (eDNA) could be used to survey for invasive Silver Carp in northwest Iowa rivers.
Vande Kamp graduated from Dordt College with a degree in biology and chemistry in 2018.
Ellen Voigt, BA
In 2017, Voigt graduated from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD with her Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry. At Augustana, Voigt worked in Dr. Jared Mays’ lab where she investigated the medicinal properties of broccoli, and in Dr. Mark Larson’s lab where she researched the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on blood clotting. She was an intern in the Avera cancer genomics lab in 2016, where she worked with drugs targeting the tumor suppressor protein p53 and its downstream target, MTOR.
Hannah Wollenzien, BA
Hannah Wollenzien contributes to research and aids in guiding projects to answer the questions the lab aims to understand.
She interned for two summers in Dr. Jonathan Geiger’s lab at the University of North Dakota studying Alzheimer’s Disease. She interned for one summer in Dr. Yagna Jarajapu’s lab a North Dakota State University studying pharmacology. She was also part of the Mayo Innovations Scholars Program studying a new tool for treatment decision making for prostate cancer.In 2017, Wollenzien earned her BA in biology, chemistry and neuroscience from Concordia College. She is currently pursuing her PhD in basic biomedical sciences.