Dr. Karen Plaut Lab

 

Return to Lab Home Page

Lab Members

Karen Plaut

Karen Plaut

I am a Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences as well as the Director of Agriculture Research Programs and Associate Dean of Agriculture. I have been studying mammary gland and lactation biology throughout my entire career. Most of my work has focused on the endocrine regulation of mammary development in rodents and production animals as well as studying the underlying mechanisms that coordinate metabolic changes needed to initiate lactation. As a post-doctoral student at the NIH, I had the opportunity to expand my horizons into human lactation and breast cancer which has continued until today. At the forefront of our group's work has been the study of normal lactation; we have been fortunate enough to be able to use both animal models and tools of molecular biology to answer fundamental questions and develop new hypotheses. I am passionate about my research and teaching and have continued to maintain an active program so I can stay involved in both.

Contact Karen: kplaut@purdue.edu

 

Theresa Casey

Theresa Casey

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences. My graduate research focused on understanding the role of stroma and hormones in regulating mammary gland development. Following graduate school I held several teaching positions and then returned to researching mammary gland biology full-time. My re-initiation into research was coincident with the advent of the post-genomic era and the development of methods that measure large numbers of transcripts, proteins, and metabolites. These high-throughput techniques allow simultaneous examination of changes in the genome (DNA), transcriptome (messenger RNA [mRNA]), proteome (proteins), or metabolome (metabolites) in a biological sample with the goal of understanding physiology. Our research has recently employed these 'omics' tools including genomic and transcriptomic based studies that resulted in the development of new hypotheses we are currently exploring in the lab.

Contact Theresa: theresa-casey@purdue.edu

 

Jennifer Crodian

Jennifer Crodian

I am a Research Assistant with the group and also serve as lab manager. I earned a BS in Microbiology from Indiana University and have worked in both industry as well as academic research positions. My time in industry was spent at the biotechnology firm Stratagene in La Jolla, CA and I most recently worked in an academic research lab that studied developmental biology using zebrafish as a model system. Since joining the lab in the fall of 2010, I have been involved with the development of a non-invasive technique to capture mammary gene expression of cows using RNA isolated from the milk fat globule in addition to multiple other experiments that relate to the lab's study of lactation. Mentoring our undergraduate students and helping them to learn how to work in a research environment is another exciting aspect of my role.

Contact Jennifer: crodian@purdue.edu

 


 

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Emily Erickson

Emily Erickson

Year: Junior

Hometown: Clarks Hill, IN

Major: Biochemistry

Research Project Focus: researching the link between the circadian system and lactation - more specifically, elucidating the role of the core clock gene Clock in cell development and differentiation in HC-11 cells in culture.

In summer of 2013, Emily interned at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the Mammary Stem Cell Biology Section, researching the capability of the regenerating mouse mammary gland to redirect human embryonal carcinoma cells to a cancer-free phenotype. Emily worked in Dr. Gilbert Smith's lab under the direction of Dr. Sonia Rosenfield.

Emily will study abroad in Ireland at University College Dublin (UCD) in spring of 2014, and anticipates attending medical school.

Contact Emily: ericksoe@purdue.edu

 

Bethany Weldon

Bethany Weldon

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Greenfield, IN

Major: Animal Science - Bioscience

Contact Bethany: weldonb@purdue.edu

 

Lab Alumni