Primary Research Focus
The Milanovich Lab studies genetic and epigenetic regulations of normal blood development and how perturbations in these processes contribute to leukemic transformation, with a goal to help define processes that lead to the formation of leukemia stem cells.
Leukemia stem cells generate a heterogeneous, genetically diverse population of tumor cells that make up most of the clinically detected, disease-causing tumor. Characterized by unlimited self-renewal, many biological differences exist in these stem cells from most non-stem cells, differences that may cause stem cells to become more resistant to chemotherapy than most tumor cells.
Resistance of leukemia stem cells to conventional treatment explains why many cancers relapse months or years after therapy initially appeared to eradicate all detectable disease.
The lab utilizes various methods to study molecular genetics in patient samples, cell lines and mouse models of normal blood and leukemia development.
About the Milanovich Lab
Lab Projects and News
Exploring the origins of childhood leukemia
Dates: June, 2015-present
Role: Project Leader
A basic science project exploring differences in transcriptional regulation between normal hematopoiesis and the development of acute leukemia.
Meet the Milanovich Lab Team
Jenica Christopherson, AAS
Senior Research Specialist
Jenica Christopherson focuses on animal projects, administering test materials and after care of animals. She also collects test material and cell cultures, and studies childhood leukemia, a project that focuses on the study of how mutations can transform normal blood cells or bone marrow cells into leukemia stem cells.
Christopherson earned an AA in in pre-veterinary medicine from Inver Hills Community College in 2000, and added an AAS in veterinary technology from Argosy University in 2004.
Sam Hudson, BS
A Sioux Falls native with a BS from the University of Nebraska in 2013, Sam Hudson came to the Milanovich Lab with seven years of experience in research labs, with a background in biochemistry, evolutionary biology, and now cancer genetics.
As a research associate, Hudson focuses on performing experiments related to project goals, general lab managerial duties, mentoring summer interns, and orienting and coordinating with new lab employees. He also serves as a tour guide and PROMISE Lab speaker.