Member Biography

Karen D. Cowden Dahl

Karen Cowden Dahl, Ph.D.

1234 Notre Dame Ave.
Harper Hall, 225
South Bend, IN 46617
Phone: (574) 631-1675
Fax: (574) 631-6857

Research Program Membership

Full member

Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend

Ovarian cancer is the 5th leading cause of cancer death in women in the US. Approximately 70% of women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer have metastatic disease. Most patients respond to chemotherapy but eventually acquire chemoresistance. The five year survival rate for women with advanced disease is about 30%. Therefore understanding metastatic disease and drug resistance are major challenges in ovarian cancer research. We have become interested in a DNA binding protein (ARID3B) that is overexpressed in ovarian cancer. We have three main goals: 1) how are the ARID3B isoforms regulated, 2) what are the targets and functions of ARID3B isoforms, and 3) how do these proteins contribute to normal cellular differentiation and cancer progression. Elevated expression of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is often detected in human ovarian tumors and is associated with decreased recurrence free survival and overall survival. We demonstrate that there are two distinct isoforms of ARID3B that are EGF-responsive. The full-length ARID3B isoform is involved in cell death and may regulate genes involved in apoptosis and chemoresistance. ARID3B is also expressed in differentiating squamous epithelium and well-differentiated squamous cell carcinomas. Our data suggest that altered regulation of ARID3B isoforms may contribute to cancer and chemoresistance.

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Post-doctoral Fellowship - University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 2004-2008

Ph.D. - University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 1999-2004