Dr. Karen K. Resendes  


Dr. Resendes

      Assistant Professor        of Biology

222 Hoyt Science Center
Westminster College
New Wilmington, PA 16172 USA
724-946-7211(Office)
resendkk@westminster.edu

Curriculum Vitae



Teaching                 

  • Fall Courses

       Bio 201 Foundations

       Bio 302 Cell Bio

       Bio 403 Cancer Bio

        Bio 601 Capstone

   Research

  • Biology Division CUR Councilor- Council on Undergraduate Research
  • Co-Chair ResPAC-    Research  Professions Advisory Committee
  • Member URAC-  Undergraduate Research Advisory Council 


Biological Research

Nuclear Transport
My research involves studying the export of protein and  RNA from the Nucleus. Eukaryotic cells are distinct from prokaryotes in that the genome is located in its own distinct compartment, the nucleus.  Evolution of the nucleus allowed for an additional level of regulation within the cell, i.e., the separation of transcription from translation.  This separation of nuclear and cytoplasmic environments necessitated a mechanism for communication between these two compartments. The nuclear pore developed to mediate all traffic in and out of the nucleus. Small molecules and proteins are capable of freely diffusing through the nuclear pore. Larger proteins, however, require specific transport receptors to facilitate their journey through the pore.  These include involved in transcription and replication that require this system to access the genome. Similarly, RNAs and regulatory proteins exit the nucleus through the nuclear pore.  A clear understanding of the mechanism of transport between the nucleus and cytoplasm is needed to illuminate the essential role of nuclear import and export to many major cellular functions, including gene activation, mRNA processing, translation, and the cell cycle.  Moreover, because viruses such as HIV hijack cellular nuclear transport receptors during the viral life cycle, dissecting nuclear transport mechanisms will be key to developing anti-viral therapies.

A New Player in Nuclear Transport: Centrin 2
Centrin proteins are small calcium binding proteins traditionally associated with and essential to microtubule nucleating centers, such the vertebrate centrosome and the equivalent spindle pole body of yeast. Centrin 2 colocalizes with the nuclear pore in vivo and specifically interacts with the Nup107-160 nucleoporin subcomplex of the nuclear pore, which is essential for nuclear pore formation. Moreover centrin 2 is required for both mRNA and protein export.  Overexpression of either the N- or C-terminal half of centrin 2 in HeLa cells disrupts both mRNA and protein export, while leaving protein import intact. Our research focuses on the role of Centrin 2 in Ran-dependant and Ran-independent export pathways. 

Alteration of nuclear transport during apoptosis.

The newest avenue of research in my laboratory is understanding the role of nuclear export in apoptosis. Specifically I am interested in whether or not certain cytotoxic chemotherapeutics disrupt nuclear transport early or late in the progression of apoptosis.

Recent Publications:

Resendes, KK.
, Rasala, B., and D. J. Forbes. Centrin 2 localizes to the vertebrate
nuclear pore and plays a role in mRNA and protein export. Mol Cell Biol. 2008
Mar;28(5):1755-69. doi:10.1128/MCB.01697-07

Recent Presentations: (* Indicates undergraduates)

Poster Presentation at the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Annual Meeting April 2013: Human PCID2 plays analagoud roles to Centrin 2 outside of the TREX-2 complex. CN Cunningham*, CA Schmidt*, and KK Resendes.

Poster Presentation at the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Annual Meeting April 2013: Calcium mediate regulation of karyopherin nuclear transport receptors. LE Foltz*, K. Cholewa*, A. Grenet*, and KK Resendes.

Poster Presentation at the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Annual Meeting April 2013: The effect of camptothecin on nuclear RanGTP levels in HeLa cells. AM Steinheiser* and KK Resendes.

Poster Presentation at the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Annual Meeting April 2013: The effectiveness of the hybrid teaching method in introductory biology at a PUI. KK Resendes, K. Mroz*, and Christina Campbell* .


Undergraduate Student Research Projects:


CURRENT PROJECTS:

Sarah Broskin: The effect of topotecan on nuclear RanGTP levels in HeLa cells

Brittany Colosimo: The effect of 5 fluorouracil on nuclear RanGTP levels in HeLa cells

Gretchen Diffendall: Calcium mediated regulation of TERT (telomerase) localization.

David Osae: Determining the effects of centrin 2 on protein export in relation to cell cycle.

Christina Volsko:The effect of irinotecan on nuclear RanGTP levels in HeLa cells

Paul Woods: Characterizing new players  in nuclear protein export.

RECENT GRADUATES:

2013
Corey Cunningham: Characterizing TREX2 components outside of mRNA export
Lauren Foltz and Kelly Cholewa
: Effects of Increased Calcium Levels on Protein Export

Amy Steinheiser: The effect of camptothecin on nuclear RanGTP levels in HeLa cells


2012
Casey Schmidt:
Characterization of new players in mRNA export using over-expression assays

Stephanie Woodward and Ashley Grenet:
Determing the role of calcium regulation on nuclear protein transport using Thapsigargin

Kaci Batzel:
Determining the effects of thapsigargin on cellular energy levels

2011
Jordan Richardson:
Characterization of new players in mRNA export using siRNA knockdown
Jasmine Grady: Understanding the role of the N-terminal calcium binding domains of Centrin2

2010
Robin McConahy:
Studying the effects of  Calcium Inhibitors on the  Ran Gradient
Chase Saraiva: Characterization of new players in mRNA export

Educational Research

My educational research involves comparing studentís retention of certain biological concepts in a non-science majors introductory biology course taught at Westminster College, (Bio101 listed above)  with those at San Diego State University, a large state university.   Does a blended web-/large lecture instruction result in the same educational outcomes as a lecture/laboratory with a small number of students? Instructors will cover the same information and use the same pre and post tests. In addition student demographic data will allow for the comparisons between similar student groups.   We hope that the friendly competition between the two groups will increase student enthusiasm and make the students aware of the diverse nature and styles of education and the importance of educational research.  In addition we are interested in including other institutions in future  studies.