I grew up in an Appalachian community in rural Pennsylvania and, with grants and scholarships, attended Edinboro University of Pennsylvania (not the University of Edinburgh in Scotland), earning a BA in chemistry. I became a Research Assistant in the Department of Pharmacology at CWRU and have been here ever since. I received outstanding mentorship from John Nilson and have held every position in the department other than Chair (watch out Kris!), including Research Assistant, Graduate Student, Post-doctoral Fellow, Instructor, Assistant, Associate and Full Professor and am currently a Vice Chair of the department. I am also the Associate Director for Basic Research in the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.
My research trajectory began with identifying the basic mechanisms of gene regulation in reproductive biology, specifically the glycoprotein hormones in the pituitary. After a brief stint identifying the role of luteinizing hormone in contributing to granulosa cell tumors of the ovary, I moved into discerning mechanisms underlying breast development and cancer and have been in this field for nearly 20 years. I have many interests in science, but my core foci are transcriptional and intracellular signaling control of cell states. I am also strongly committed to training the next generation of scientists, particularly those from underserved backgrounds. My mantra is to never give up. If you work hard enough and smart enough, you will be successful!
"I wish I was the full moon shining off a Camaro's hood..." Pearl Jam
The Keri Lab resides in the Lerner Research Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Our mission is to provide key research findings in breast cancer disease for the scientific community and to train the next generation of scientists. We provide care for each other and are open to collaboration with other lab families. We are fortunate to collaborate with other labs regionally, nationally and internationally.
Our research is driven by curiosity. This curiosity has allowed us to be open to various biological fields in understanding breast cancer. We have often been known for investigating the roles of essential transcription factors in mammary gland development and carcinogenesis. Throughout the years we have also expanded to investigating drug cocktails for treating breast cancer and understanding epigenetic regulation in breast cancer.
Aside from research, we are also focused on training students and postdocs to become valuable members in the scientific community. The Department of Pharmacology and the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center inform us of the latest discoveries in pharmacology and oncology through seminars, respectively. In house, lab members are required to present their latest research (lab meeting) and present a key research article in breast cancer (journal club). Lastly, all members are highly encouraged to attend and present in regional, national and international conferences and to apply for funding provided by various sponsors. Altogether, these activities provide the Keri Lab members knowledge and opportunities to exercise their scientific minds.
My research includes mechanisms of breast cancer initiation, growth, and metastasis, as well as mechanisms of therapeutic response and resistance in cancer.
For more than 17 years, my research has focused on the genomic and signaling mechanisms that control mammary gland development and cancer. As reflected by my position as a member of the steering committee for the Gene Expression and Genotyping Core Facility at CWRU, I have significant expertise in the acquisition and use of gene expression profiling data to identify novel factors that may control the phenotypes of breast cancer cells. This has involved generating and using data from cell lines and genetically manipulated mouse models of breast cancer as well as evaluation of publicly available human breast cancer array data. I have designed and used mouse models of disease throughout my research career, including assessing the efficacy of therapeutic agents such as vitamin D analogs, rapamycin, and dasatinib in mammary cancer models. I also have significant experience assessing drug synergy, in vitro and in vivo.
My laboratory extensively uses xenograft models of breast cancer. We also have expertise in the analysis of proliferation and apoptosis, migration and invasion, centrosome defects and genomic instability, and gene-specific chromatin immunoprecipitation as well as immunohistochemistry of mouse and human tissues. As a result, we have an unrivaled capacity to examine the functional significance of pathways and drugs targeting those pathways in mammary development and cancer. Underscoring this ability, I was the co-leader of the Breast Cancer Program-in-Development in the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center (Case CCC) before becoming its Associate Director for Basic Research. I also have significant expertise in Pharmacology, having earned my doctoral in this field.