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Lab Members

Jensen Lab 2014

Starting from back, then left to right: Derek Oien, Lisa Harlan-Williams, Emily Sibala,
Easwari Kumaraswamy, Stacey Hembruff, Dani Li and Roy Jensen

Current Members:

Lisa Harlan-Williams, PhD
Lisa M. Harlan-Williams, PhD
Research Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology
lharlan-williams@kumc.edu, 2019B Wahl Hall East, (913) 588-5443

PhD - University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
BS - Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, AR

Research Focus: My project aims to identify a small molecule activator of BRCA1. The clinical association between genetic mutations within the BRCA1 tumor suppressor gene and hereditary breast cancer is well-established; however a vast majority of sporadic breast cancer cases (>90%) cannot be attributed to a specific BRCA1 genetic mutation. Interestingly, 30-40% of breast cancers display reduced BRCA1 expression suggesting a role for BRCA1 in the pathogenesis of some sporadic breast cancers.  Sporadic breast tumors which demonstrate downregulation of BRCA1 are of the basal-like subtype. Basal-like breast cancers (BLBCs) are associated with an aggressive clinical course, resistance to chemotherapy and 80% are triple-negative tumors - lacking ER, PR and HER2.

Our lab has demonstrated that overexpression of BRCA1 in the murine mammary gland provides protection against mutagen-induced mammary neoplasia. Therefore, we designed a breast cancer cell-based assay to screen chemical libraries for compounds that increase BRCA1 expression. To date, over 500,000 compounds have been screened and validated compounds have been identified.

BLBCs are considered the biggest unmet need in the treatment of breast cancer due to limited therapeutic options. Sporadic breast cancers which demonstrate loss of BRCA1 function in the absence of mutation are of the basal-like subtype. The discovery and development of a novel compound that increases BRCA1 expression could shift the current clinical practice paradigms in patients diagnosed with BLBCs.

Easwari Kumaraswamy, PhD
Easwari Kumaraswamy, PhD
Research Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
ekumaraswamy@kumc.edu, 2020A Wahl Hall East, (913) 588-5332

PhD - Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, India
M.Sc - Bharathidasan University, Trichy, India
B.Sc - Bharathidasan University, Trichy, India




Stacy Hembruff, MS
Research Associate, University of Kansas Kansas Center
shembruff@kumc.edu, 2020 Wahl Hall East, (913) 945-7956

Dani Li, PhD
Research Associate, University of Kansas Kansas Center
dli2@kumc.edu, 2020 Wahl Hall East, (913) 945-7956

Emily Sibala
Research Assistant, University of Kansas Kansas Center
esimbala@kumc.edu, 2020 Wahl Hall East, (913) 945-7956

Derek Oien, PhD
Research Associate, University of Kansas Kansas Center
doien2@kumc.edu, 2020 Wahl Hall East, (913) 945-7956

Last modified: Sep 24, 2019
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