Six Colgate students, advised by Associate Professor of Biology Engda Hagos, have published research in the journal Cells on the Krüppel-like factor 4 (KLF4) gene factor and its relationship to energy-producing processes of cells.
Titled “KLF4 Regulates Metabolic Homeostasis in Response to Stress,” the research was funded through a Colgate University Picker Research Fellowship and a private gift from Dr. Richard and Mary Brauer P’18.
Experiments conducted in Hagos’ lab studied the KLF4 gene and how it regulates metabolic processes in response to different stressors within the cells. Research showed that cells lacking the KLF4 gene are prone to uncontrollable cell division, which results in cancer.
“Lots of research has been done on KLF4 and has found it to be a tumor-suppressor gene,” said lead co-author Andrew Blum ’21. “It helps regulate the cell during certain processes by decreasing proliferation, which is a type of cell division. We’re adding to the literature.”
Tenzing Dakpa ’21, Kate Mostow ’22, Estelle Kelty ’21, and Kailey Jackett ’21 reviewed published works by other researchers related to KLF4 and collected data as they tended to experiments in person, observing levels of protein expression in cells with and without the KLF4 gene. Carly Ryan ’20 served as an editor and data consultant with experience developed during her own senior research on the topic.
“I think that the path to a cure to cancer starts with taking everything one step at a time,” Ryan explained. “It takes figuring out that KLF4 regulates metabolism, then figuring out the next step, and then the next 25 more steps.”
For his part, serving as adviser and mentor, Hagos takes joy in his students’ success. “The better they do, whether in class or in research, the more it makes me happy — their success is my own sort of success.”
Andrew Blum ’21, molecular biology major; prospective Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and medical school student
Kate Mostow ’22, molecular biology major
Kailey Jackett ’21, biology major
Estelle Kelty ’21, biology major
Tenzing Dakpa ’21, molecular biology major
Carly Ryan ’20, biology graduate and technical manufacturing chemist at Abbott Laboratories