Mentor / Lab:
Dr. Timothy Ratliff Lab
Specific Research Area / Project:
Cholesterol sulfotransferase (SULT) 2B1b as a regulator of cholesterol metabolism in prostate cancer
Saint Norbert College (De Pere, WI)
Prostate Cancer (PCa) is the most common non-cutaneous and second largest cause of cancer death in American men. Cholesterol
accumulates in prostate lesions and has been linked to PCa incidence and progression. Cholesterol is an important structural component of the plasma membrane, a modulator of cell signaling through lipid rafts, as well as a modulator of androgen receptor (AR) activity in PCa. Thus, accumulation of cholesterol can lead to enhanced PCa proliferation and progression to a more malignant phenotype. However, the mechanisms leading to the accumulation of cholesterol are unclear. Our research is focused on understanding cholesterol metabolism alterations in response to cholesterol modification, specifically by cholesterol sulfotransferase (SULT) 2B1b, an enzyme that converts cholesterol to cholesterol sulfate. We are investigating SULT2B1b’s role in skewing cholesterol metabolism, altering growth properties, and whether this enzyme is involved in progression of prostate cancer to more advanced forms of the disease.
I completed my undergraduate education at St. Norbert College in the great state of Wisconsin. It is a small, liberal arts college with the motto “docere verbo et exemplo,” which is Latin meaning “to teach by word and example.” This simple phrase sums up the personal academic experience I had there and caused me to look for graduate programs with strong interpersonal and interdisciplinary emphases. Upon entering the PULSe program, I have not been disappointed with the quality of interaction I have experienced with both faculty and fellow graduate students.
Coming from a small undergraduate institution it was quite a change coming to a large university like Purdue, but I was immediately able to establish connections with fellow graduate students in the PULSe program and have been expanding my network via collaborations ever since. Purdue University has so much great technology to offer, and I am thankful to be able to expand my research as a result! My research project is very collaborative by nature, which I really enjoy and always keeps my work exciting and new.
I am considering being a faculty member at a small university, such that I can continue with research, but my primary focus will be teaching and mentoring students. Teaching appeals to me because I can show students how interesting questions arise from topics they may have originally thought boring or uninteresting. Additionally, I can help shape minds of the future scientific community and embolden students to strive for the success they deserve!
- Purdue Research Foundation Research Grant Recipient 2014-2015
- OIGP Certificate of Excellence in Research Award April 2014
- Indiana University Donahue Research Symposium – 2nd place Student Lecture award winner February 2014
- Purdue Obesity and Cancer Discovery Group Retreat Poster Session award winner 2012
- Lecture Presentations: Purdue University/Indiana University Basic Urologic Research (IBUR) Donohue Research Symposium – Podium Presentation February 2014
- Cholesterol Sulfotransferase (SULT) 2B1b as a Modulator of Prostate Cancer Growth
- Purdue University/Indiana University Basic Urologic Research (IBUR) meeting presentation May 2013
- Cholesterol sulfotransferase (SULT) 2B1b as a regulator of cholesterol metabolism in prostate cancer.
- Wenig, Renee E., Kevin Kerian, Dr. Livia Eberlin, Dr. Graham Cooks, Dr. Michael Koch, Dr. Timothy Masterson, Dr. Liang Cheng, Dr. Tim Ratliff, Dr. Chang-deng Hu, & Dr. Scott Crist. Cholesterol Sulfotransferase (SULT) 2B1b as a Modulator of Prostate Cancer Growth.
- “Science in Schools” Participant. 2012-13
- PULSe First-Year Mentoring Program Co-Chair 2012-2013
- Invited Speaker: “Life as a Scientific Researcher.” Mrs. Stephanie Bartels’ Biology Research Class. 2 January 2013.Chilton High School, Chilton, WI.