Kaylee O'Donnell

Program: Molecular Cell Biology

Current advisor: Katherine N. Weilbaecher, MD

Undergraduate university: University of Virginia, 2020

Enrollment year: 2021

Research summary
Investigating the role of acid sensing in tumor cells and osteoclasts in tumor progression and osteolysis in bone metastases

Cells are able to sense acid through GPCRs which leads to intracellular signaling through cAMP. I intend to investigate how tumors sense acid and how this influences changes in their transcriptome, what they secrete, and how this alters integrin expression. I believe acid sensing by osteoclasts and osteoblasts is also playing a role in the homeostasis of bone in bone metastases, causing osteoblasts to secrete more osteolytic factors and osteoclasts to uncontrollably differentiate and resorb bone. Ultimately, targeting acid-sensing along with cotreatment of chemotherapy or immune therapy may lead to reduction of tumor progression and osteolysis.

Graduate publications