BIOL 101 General Biology
BIOL 106 A Modeling Based Approach to Biology
BIOL 245 Immunology
BIOL 312 Cell Biology
BIOL 345 Infectious Diseases
FYS 061 Your Immune System: Friend or Foe?
Research in my laboratory is focused on investigating the immune response to cancer. Currently, there are two major areas of interest. The first area of interest is focused on the interaction between the innate (nonspecific) and adaptive (specific) anti-tumor immune response. The second area under investigation explores the early immune response to cancer. My lab uses cellular and molecular biological approaches for studying interactions between the immune system and cancer providing students with a background in basic research techniques relevant to many different fields of study.
The first project is focused on toll-like receptors (TLR) and cancer. TLR are components of the innate defense system and are normally expressed by epithelial and white blood cells. Since 90% of cancers worldwide are carcinomas (which are derived from epithelial tissues), there is a compelling reason to gain a better understanding of the implications of TLR expressed by tumor cells. Students in my lab have found that under certain conditions we could bolster anti-tumor immunity, make tumors grow slower, and decrease metastasis by turning on TLR expressed by tumors. However, we could also make the tumors grow faster by changing the treatment conditions. In order to make sense of these conflicting data students are unraveling the TLR signaling cascade in cancer cells. So far they have found that a protein involved in the TLR signaling pathway (Myd88) contributes to tumor growth and metastasis.
The other project underway in my lab is focused on analyzing the early immune response to cancer. Many studies focused on the immune response to cancer occur once tumors have already grown because this allows investigators to capture and analyze the white blood cells that have infiltrated a solid tumor mass. As a result, there is a paucity of information about the immune response to tumors that are not yet palpable.
Recent publications: (Lafayette students*)
Murine Mammary Carcinoma Cells and CD11c+ Dendritic Cells Elicit Distinct Responses to Lipopolysaccharide and Exhibit Differential Expression of Genes Required for TLR4 Signaling. C Palha De Sousa*, CM Blum*, EP Sgroe*, AM Crespo*, RA Kurt. Cell. Immunology, 266:67-75, 2010.
Construction and Evaluation of a Combined Cyclophosphamide/Nanoparticle Anticancer Vaccine, KA Yaeger*, RA Kurt. J. Cancer Therapy, 2:384-393, 2011.
Growth, Metastasis, and Expression of CCL2 and CCL5 by Murine Mammary Carcinomas are Dependent upon Myd88, AT Egunsola*, CL Zawislak*, AA Akuffo*, SA Chalmers*, JC Ewer*, CM Vail*, JC Lombardo*, DN Perez*, RA Kurt. Cell. Immunology, 272:220-229, 2012.
Investigation of the Roles of ATM and ATR in Tamoxifen-Induced Apoptosis in 4T1 Mouse Breast Cancer Cells, N Hasan*, R Kurt, SK Majumdar. Int. J. Life Sci. Pharma Res., 2:304-320, 2012.
A novel role of hematopoietic CCL5 in promoting triple-negative mammary tumor progression by regulating generation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells. Y. Zhang, D. Lv, H. Kim, RA Kurt, W. Bu, Y. Li, X. Ma. Cell Research, 23: 394-408, 2013.
A role for HMGB1, HSP60 and Myd88 in growth of murine mammary carcinoma in vitro. SA Chalmers*, AS Eidelman*, JC Ewer*, JM Ricca*, A Serrano*, KC Tucker*, CM Vail*, RA Kurt. Cell. Immunology, 282:136-145, 2013.
The measure of DAMPs and a role for S100A8 in recruiting suppressor cells in breast cancer lung metastasis. CN Vrakas*, SE Evans*, DA Ingram*, CB Jones*, T Phuong*, RA Kurt. Immunol. Invest, 44:174-88, 2015.
Developing immunologists: A role for undergraduate education. L Hannum, RA Kurt, DR Walser-Kuntz. Trends in Immunology. 37:425-6, 2016.
A multifaceted role for Myd88-dependent signaling in progression of murine mammary carcinoma. MJ Higgins*, A Serrano*, KY Boateng*, VA Parsons*, T Phuong*, A Seifert*, JM Ricca*, KC Tucker*, AS Eidelman*, MA Carey*, RA Kurt. Breast Cancer Basic and Clinical Research (in press).