Kate Marley

Kate Marley

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Education:   B.S. in Biology
Southwestern University, 1993
  Ph.D. in Biology
Florida State University, 2000


Areas of Interest

Cell biology and molecular genetics, the interface of scientific innovation and societal application, the emergence of the AIDS crisis in the early 1980s, scholarship of teaching and learning

Classes Taught

Introductory Biology, Genetics, Cell Biology, Developmental Biology, Molecular Biology, Liberal Arts Seminar 101 & 202, Energy of Life: Cells to Ecosystems, Information of Life: Genetics to Evolution

Research Interests

Early in my career, my research was focused primarily on regulation of eukaryotic transcription. This interest evolved while working with undergraduates at Doane into studying epigenetic regulation of transcription of genes that can play specific roles in tumor formation.


For example, students studied methylation of the N-cadherin promoter in human BT-20 breast cancer tissue culture cells.


In 2011, I had the tremendous opportunity to study in the laboratory of Daniel Birnbaum, Ph.D. at Centre de Recherche en Cancerologie de Marseille, France. My project involved culturing human breast cancer cell lines to form non-adhering tumorspheres, indicative of cancer stem cell characteristics, providing an in vitro model for examining substances that could induce differentiation or apoptosis of cancer stem cells. I was able to bring this research back to Doane and work with students in Crete studying tumor formation in the in vitro model system.


In 2014, my career pivoted toward supporting student success across the university and put my energy into writing and guiding a Department of Education Title III grant aimed at improving university-wide resources for academics and student life.


Now that I am back in the biology department, I have been focused on the scholarship of teaching and learning, studying what strategies in the classroom are most supportive of student learning. I am working with a team of collaborators across the U.S. on projects and publications to better support our students.   




Brancaccio-Taras, L., Pape-Lindstrom, P., Peteroy-Kelly, M., Aguirre, K., Awong-Taylor, J., Balser, T., Cahill, M.J., Frey, R.F., Jack, T., Kelrick, M., Marley, Katherine Eliassen, Miller, K.G., Osgood, M., Romano, S., Uzman, J.A., and Zhao, J. (2016). The PULSE Vision & Change Rubrics, Version 1.0: A Valid and Equitable Tool to Measure Transformation of Life Sciences Departments at All Institution Types. CBE Life Sci Educ December 1, 2016 15:ar60; doi:10.1187/cbe.15-12-0260


Aguirre K.M., Balser T.C, Jack T., Marley, Katherine Eliassen, Miller K.G., Osgood, M.P., Pape-Lindstrom P.A., Romano S.L. (2013). PULSE Vision & Change Rubrics. Letter to the Editor.  CBE-Life Science Education.


van Dijk K., Marley, Katherine Eliassen, Jeong B.R., Xu J., Hesson J., Cerny R.L., Waterborg J.H., Cerutti H. (2005). Monomethyl histone H3 lysine 4 as an epigenetic mark for silenced euchromatin in Chlamydomonas. Plant Cell. 17(9):2439-2453.


Ficzycz A., Eskiw C., Meyer D., Marley, Katherine Eliassen, Hurt M., Ovsenek N. (2001). Expression, activity, and subcellular localization of the Yin Yang 1 transcription factor in Xenopus oocytes and embryos. J. Biol. Chem. 276(25):22819-25.


Eliassen, Katherine A., Baldwin, A., Sikorski, E.M., Hurt, M.M.  (1998). Role for a YY1-binding element in replication-dependent mouse histone gene expression. Mol. Cell. Biol. 12, 7106-7118.


Select Presentations with Undergraduate Researchers

Marley, K.E. Phenotypic and epigenetic response of cultured breast cancer cells to chemotherapeutic agents: how studies using breast cancer tissue culture cells can provide insight into how chemotherapy treatments work. Academic Symposium in Honor of the Inauguration of President Jacque Carter, May 2012.


*Pracht, S., *Lukens, N. and Marley, K.E. Methylation status of N-cadherin promoter sequence in human breast cancer cell lines: implications for motility and invasiveness. The Nebraska Academy Sciences, NWU, April 2012.


*Bryant K., *Williams N., Marley, K.E. Stepwise Cloning and Evaluation of Fragments of the Human N-cadherin Promoter. The Nebraska Academy Sciences, NWU, April 2010. Received the Outstanding Undergraduate Research in Biology Award presented by the Biomedical Research Training Program and M.D./Ph.D. Scholars Program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.


*Christensen C., *Pracht S., and Marley, K.E. The N-cadherin promoter is methylated in human breast cancer cells. The Nebraska Academy Sciences, NWU, April 2010.


*Bieck A., *Merithew S., Marley, K.E. Minimally transformed human embryonic palatal mesenchyme (HEPM) cells express N-cadherin. The Nebraska Academy Sciences, NWU, April 2010.  


*Flitcroft, C., *Bryant, K., Wilson, M., *Barelmann, B., *Kroese, H., Marley, K.E. Characterization of putative regulatory elements 5’ and 3’ of exon 1 of the human N-cadherin gene. Nebraska Academy of Sciences, NWU, April 2009.


*Messersmith, H., *Hamik, A., *Sheehy, M., Wilson, M., Marley, K.E. Role of human N-cadherin promoter sequences in regulating N-cadherin gene transcription.  Nebraska Academy of Sciences, NWU, April 2008.


*Madden, S., *Workman, A, Marley, K.E. Role of human N-cadherin promoter sequences in regulating N-cadherin gene transcription.  Nebraska Academy of Sciences, NWU, April 2007.


*Packard, W., *Bricker, A., *James, M., *Gentzler, A., *Madden, S, Marley, K.E. Transcriptional regulation of the human N-cadherin gene.  Nebraska Academy of Sciences, NWU, April 2006.