Dr. Karen K. Resendes  

      Associate Professor        of Biology

222 Hoyt Science Center
Westminster College
New Wilmington, PA 16172 USA

Curriculum Vitae



Biological Research on Nuclear Transport:

Aim 1: Determining the role of nuclear transport in chemotherapy induced apoptosis

Aim 2:  Characterizing the roles of new proteins in nuclear transport, focused on PCID2.

Education Research:

Aim 1: Determining the effectiveness of clickers (personal response systems) in small upper division courses

Aim 2: Developing active learning exercises in the laboratory and class room


Co-PI IQ:STEM Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program

Biology Division
CUR Councilor- Council on Undergraduate Research

Chair ResPAC-   Research  Professions Advisory Committee

Member URAC-  Undergraduate Research Advisory Council 

Biological Research on Nuclear Transport

My research involves studying the export of protein and  RNA from the Nucleus. Eukaryotic cells are distinct from prokaryotes in that the genome is located in its own distinct compartment, the nucleus.  Evolution of the nucleus allowed for an additional level of regulation within the cell, i.e., the separation of transcription from translation.  This separation of nuclear and cytoplasmic environments necessitated a mechanism for communication between these two compartments. The nuclear pore developed to mediate all traffic in and out of the nucleus. Small molecules and proteins are capable of freely diffusing through the nuclear pore. Larger proteins, however, require specific transport receptors to facilitate their journey through the pore.  These include involved in transcription and replication that require this system to access the genome. Similarly, RNAs and regulatory proteins exit the nucleus through the nuclear pore.  A clear understanding of the mechanism of transport between the nucleus and cytoplasm is needed to illuminate the essential role of nuclear import and export to many major cellular functions, including gene activation, mRNA processing, translation, the cell cycle and apoptosis. Moreover, because viruses such as HIV hijack cellular nuclear transport receptors during the viral life cycle, dissecting nuclear transport mechanisms will be key to developing anti-viral therapies.

Aim 1: Determining the role of nuclear transport in chemotherapy induced apoptosis

The newest avenue of research in my laboratory is understanding the role of nuclear export in apoptosis. Specifically I am interested in whether or not certain cytotoxic chemotherapeutics disrupt nuclear transport early or late in the progression of apoptosis.

Aim 2:  Characterizing the roles of new proteins in nuclear transport, focused on PCID2.

PCID2 is involved in nuclear protein export and is located at the centrosome. We seek to determine if there is a correlation between these two functions/localizations.
Relevant Publications (* Indicates undergraduate Author):

G. Diffendall*and KK Resendes  The effect of increased intracellular calcium on the localization of the catabolic subunit of telomerase, hTERT, in HeLa cells. Journal of Student Research 2015, 4(1) pp 91-103.

Cunningham, CN*, Schmidt CA*, Schramm, NJ*, Gaylord, MR and Resendes KK. Human TREX2 components PCID2 and Centrin 2, but not ENY2, have distinct functions in protein export and co-localize to the centrosome. Experimental Cell Research, (2014), 320 pp. 209-218 DOI: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2013.11.015

Resendes, KK.,  Rasala, B., and D. J. Forbes.   Centrin 2 localizes to the vertebrate nuclear pore and plays a role in mRNA and protein export.   Mol Cell Biol. 2008 Mar;28(5):1755-69. doi:10.1128/MCB.01697-07

Recent Presentations: (* Indicates undergraduates)

American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), December 2014.

Poster Presentation: Determining the function of the protein PCID2 at the centrosome NJ Schramm*  and KK Resendes

Poster Presentation: Active nuclear transport is disrupted before nuclear envelope breakdown during chemotherapy induced apoptosis in HeLa cells by 5-fluorouracil but not camptothecin and its  derivatives Rebecca Anderson*, Christina Campbell*, Sarah Broskin*, Brittanny Colosimo and KK Resendes

Undergraduate Student Research Projects:


Kelly Higby Effects of 5-Fluorouracil on nuclear transport during apoptosis in cancer cells that overexpress the nuclear protein export factor Crm1.

Melissa Bischak The Effects of 5-Fluorouracil in Combination with Topotecan and Irinotecan on the Localization of Topoisomerase I and Crm1 in HeLa Cells.

Meredith Mishler Determining the interaction partners for PCID2 in nuclear protein export.


Rebecca Anderson and Christy Campbell  5 FU but not camptotecin derivatives disrupt nuclear transport before nuclear envelope breakdown during apoptosis.

Nathaniel Schramm:
Characterizing the role of PCID2 in centrosomal function.

Sarah Broskin: The effect of topotecan on nuclear RanGTP levels in HeLa cells cells

Brittany Colosimo: The effect of 5 fluorouracil on nuclear RanGTP levels in HeLa cells

Gretchen Diffendall: Calcium mediated regulation of TERT (telomerase) localization.

David Osae: Determining the effects of centrin 2 on protein export in relation to cell cycle.

Christina Volsko:The effect of irinotecan on nuclear RanGTP levels in HeLa cells

Paul Woods: Characterizing new players  in nuclear protein export.

Corey Cunningham: Characterizing TREX2 components outside of mRNA export

Lauren Foltz and Kelly Cholewa : Effects of Increased Calcium Levels on Protein Export

Amy Steinheiser: The effect of camptothecin on nuclear RanGTP levels in HeLa cells

Casey Schmidt: Characterization of new players in mRNA export using over-expression assays

Stephanie Woodward and Ashley Grenet: Determing the role of calcium regulation on nuclear protein transport using Thapsigargin

Kaci Batzel: Determining the effects of thapsigargin on cellular energy levels

Jordan Richardson: Characterization of new players in mRNA export using siRNA knockdown
Jasmine Grady: Understanding the role of the N-terminal calcium binding domains of Centrin2

Robin McConahy: Studying the effects of  Calcium Inhibitors on the  Ran Gradient

Chase Saraiva: Characterization of new players in mRNA export

Educational Research

Recent Publications

Resendes, KK Using cellular stress of HeLa cells as a mechanism to introduce first year students to the scientific method, primary literature, protein expression and scientific writing. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education 2015, 43(2) pp110120. doi: 10.1002/bmb.20852

Balczon, JM, Corrette-Bennett, JC, Resendes, KK, Robertson, JC, Robertson, K, Assesment-Driven Revisions of a Research Based Capstone Course Curriculum. CUR Quarterly 2014, 34(4) pp 46.