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University of Colorado Cancer Center

University of Colorado Cancer Center, A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

Robert Stearman, PhD



Molecular Biology and Genetics


University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus


The student must have completed at least 2 years of college.

Number of Openings: 1


Our previous human and animal model studies of lung cancer point to the important role of maintaining prostacyclin synthase (PGIS) expression in the lung as a protective mechanism from developing or regressing premalignant lesions. 

In our studies of pulmonary arterial hypertension, we have found certain relatively rare genotypes of the PGIS promoter are associated with protection from developing this disease and higher transcriptional activities in cell culture. The goal for this summer project will be to determine the PGIS promoter genotypes in a cohort of lung cancer patients and controls, and see if there is a correlation with disease.


The summer student will prepare genomic DNA from blood samples from the patient/control cohort. Using a variety of novel polymerase chain reaction (PCR) approaches, the student will determine each individual’s PGIS promoter genotype. Lung epithelial cells are thought to be the cell of origin for most lung cancer.

The student will start a new tissue culture project using our collection of PGIS promoter reporter plasmids. The tissue culture model will examine the transcriptional activities of different genotype in an immortalized lung epithelial cell when grown at the air-liquid interface.


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