Kari D. Loomis

Photograph of First Last

Lecturer

Contact Info

Phone: 413-545-6424
Office: 241-D Integrated Sciences Building

Education

B.S., Clemson University, 1998
Ph.D., North Carolina State University, 2008

Research Interests


Cancer Genetics/ Cell signaling/ cell cycle regulation

My doctoral research focused on the characterization of the transcription factor C/EBPα as a tumor suppressor in epithelial tissues using a tissue specific transgenic mouse model.  After earning my doctorate, I went on to teach as an Assistant professor of Biology in two small liberal arts colleges where my research focus shifted to the exploration of food as both a cause and a cure for cancers.  I wrote grants and worked with undergraduates to create mammalian cell culture labs where we grew human breast cancer cells in culture and treated them with acai berry, strawberry, and blueberry extracts.  We found all of the fruit extracts to promote apoptosis and inhibit proliferation in the cancer cells, but not in the normal cells.

At UMass, my research is primarily classroom based. I have designed and am implementing a new Genetics Laboratory course (Biology 284) that is planned to become a requirement for all Biology Majors. In the Genetics lab we explore the relationship between genotype and phenotype at the molecular and organismal level by analyzing the DNA from various dogs including students’ own dogs if they are interested and predicting traits such as height, snout length, excitability, trainability, and hair length using a technique similar to RFLP. To further explore the nature of phenotypic variation within and between species and to compare evolutionary relatedness of a gene between species, we sequence the MC1R gene involved in pigmentation and align the MC1R sequence results from the various dogs with one another and with the sequences of various other species such as the wolf, fox, coyote, woolly mammoth, and humans.

Teaching Statement

I joined UMass Amherst in the Fall of 2015 as a Biology Lecturer where I teach two large lecture courses: Genetics- Biology 283 and Introductory Biology I- Biology 151. I also design and teach the new Genetics Laboratory Course (Biol 284). My goal in teaching is to create an engaging, exciting, relevant, and informative learning environment for all students. I am interested in exploring novel and innovative approaches to teaching that promote increased student engagement and critical thinking.

Representative Publications

PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL ARTICLE

Loomis, K.D., Zhu, S., Yoon, K., Johnson, P.F., and Smart, R.C. 2007. Genetic ablation of C/EBPα in epidermis reveals its role in suppression of epithelial tumorigenesis. Cancer Res., ; 67: 6768-76

TEXTBOOK CHAPTER

Smart, R.C., Ewing, S.J., and Loomis, K.D. Carcinogenesis. Chapter 24 in Molecular and Biochemical Toxicology, 4th edition. Smart, R.C. and Hodgson, E. (eds.). 2007. New York: Wiley Interscience.

ABSTRACT

Loomis, K.D., Zhu, S., Yoon, K., Johnson, P.F., and Smart, R.C. Genetic ablation of C/EBPα in epidermis reveals its role in suppression of epithelial tumorigenesis. In: American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting Proceedings; 2007. Abstract nr 3860.