PhD defense for Lisa Gerner

MRes Lisa Gerner at the Centre for Molecular Medicine Norway will be defending the thesis "An Exploration of the Structure and Function of Calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinase kinase 2 (CaMKK2) in Prostate Cancer"  for the degree of PhD.

The trial lecture entitled "Protein kinase inhibitors as cancer drugs - opportunities and challenges" takes place on February 17 at 11:00, The Smalltalk Auditorium, Ole Johan Dahls Building.

More information about the disputation, the adjunct committee as well as supervisors


Cancer researchers use light signals to find new treatments for prostate cancer


Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, affecting over 4,900 each year in Norway.


In her thesis, “An Exploration of the Structure and Function of Calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinase kinase 2 (CaMKK2) in Prostate Cancer”, Lisa Gerner and colleagues attempted to generate new findings, which could enable the development of new drugs against prostate cancer.


The human body consists of trillions of cells, and each cell contains thousands of different proteins. They form the cell's machinery, which determines a cell's health and how it behaves.


In prostate cancer cells, the signalling protein CaMKK2 is found in large quantities. This protein has previously been shown to contribute to the growth of cancer. Gerner and colleagues therefore decided to study how this protein looks, how it works, and how it interacts with other molecules in prostate cancer cells.


It is very difficult to find a way to study how molecules such as CaMKK2 interact with each other. In this study, Gerner and colleagues found that a known CaMKK2 inhibitor, a small molecule called STO-609, actually lights up when it comes close to CaMKK2. The potency of this light signal changes when other drugs or proteins bind to CaMKK2. This new analysis can be used to search for future prostate cancer drugs (drug screening).


In a parallel study, Gerner et al searched for other proteins that interact with CaMKK2 in prostate cancer cells. A particular protein, Gemin4 was identified, and the importance of this bond against CaMKK2 can now be measured with the described assay.


In summary, this study provides new information about CaMKK2 in prostate cancer. The work provides opportunities for further development of inhibitors, and further exploration of the contribution of CaMKK2 to a wider range of cellular functions.

Published Feb. 8, 2017 2:49 PM - Last modified Apr. 7, 2017 1:32 PM