Meet UNMC New Investigator Karen Gould, Ph.D.

April 06, 2011

UNMC researcher Karen Gould, Ph.D., answers questions about her work, life and interests.

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Karen Gould, Ph.D.
NOTE: This profile is part of a series highlighting the 24 researchers who will be honored at a May 2 ceremony for UNMC's 2010 Scientist Laureate, Distinguished Scientist and New Investigator award recipients.

  • Name: Karen Gould, Ph.D.
  • Title: Assistant professor of genetics, cell biology and anatomy
  • Joined UNMC: 1999
  • Hometown: Chicago

Describe your research in laymen's terms.

One project in my lab seeks to understand how the female sex hormone estrogen affects the risk of developing lupus, an autoimmune disease that is ~10 times more common in women than men. ... A second project focuses on determining the role of genetic factors and estrogens in the risk of colon cancer, a disease that is more common in men than women.

How does your research contribute to science and/or health care?

Our work sheds light on how estrogens can promote the development of lupus, a debilitating disease that affects more than 1.5 million Americans. Likewise, our studies enhance our understanding of how estrogens protect against colon cancer. Our genetic studies have identified a number of genes that impact the development of autoimmune disease, the risk of certain cancers and the ability of estrogens to exert their effects in the various tissues. Also, we hope our emerging work in targeted drug delivery will allow us to translate the results we obtain in our basic studies into novel therapies ... to treat and/or prevent disease.

Name someone at UNMC who provides vital contributions to your success and briefly describe how they help you.

My UNMC mentors have helped me to hone my grant writing skills, provided me with invaluable constructive criticism, assisted me in developing my leadership and mentoring skills and given me opportunities to further develop as a scientist. I have established productive and exciting collaborations with a number of other UNMC scientists. I also am very appreciative of the outstanding administrative support I receive in the GCBA department. Because so much of my research involves studies in mice, the contribution of the comparative medicine staff also is extremely important to me. Finally, I am lucky to have talented and dedicated technicians and students in my lab.

List three things few people know about you.

  • I love to fish. I even enjoy ice fishing;
  • I am a first generation American; and
  • I root for the Green Bay Packers.

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