Logo for University of Iowa Health Care This logo represents the University of Iowa Health Care

Rebecca Dodd, PhD

Assistant Professor
Internal Medicine

Office: 3269C CBRB
Office Phone: 319-335-4962

Lab: 3216D MERF

Lab Website: https://dodd.lab.uiowa.edu/

Our lab uses sophisticated mouse models to understand basic cancer biology, to study the tumor microenvironment, and to serve as advanced platforms for therapeutic screening

The ultimate goal of the Dodd laboratory is to translate insights gained from primary mouse models into findings that will benefit patients. We study soft-tissue sarcomas, a type of cancer that develops in connective tissue such as muscle, nerves, fat, or tendons. Our research program designs and utilizes powerful in vivo model systems to directly address critical questions in tumor biology. Specific areas of research include: 1) the genetics of sarcoma, 2) the tumor microenvironment, 3) preclinical platform applications, 4) novel genome editing tools, and 5) metastasis.

We use both Cre/loxP and CRISPR/Cas9 technology to model cancer mutations in unprecedented ways. These primary tumors are surrounded by a native tumor microenvironment and an intact immune system, which allows us to study the impact of tumor stroma on therapeutic outcomes. Our lab has created a novel mouse model of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST) to serve as a preclinical platform for combination therapy. Using the Cre-loxP system, sarcomas develop through deletion of neurofibromin (NF1), a negative regulator of Ras. Mutations in the NF1 gene have been recently identified in a wide spectrum of cancers, including lung, brain, breast and spontaneous sarcomas. Additionally, neurofibromin plays a central role in the cancer predisposition syndrome Neurofibromatosis Type I (also abbreviated NF1), an extremely common genetic condition that affects 1 in 3,000 children. The unique genetics of Neurofibromatosis Type 1 make this an elegant model to study the contribution of clinically-relevant changes in the tumor microenvironment using a genetically tractable system. We have utilized these models as a preclinical platform to investigate molecularly-targeted therapy, novel drug delivery vehicles, and chemotherapy regimens.

PubMed link

Department/Program Affiliations:
Internal Medicine
Molecular Medicine