Carol A. Lange, PhD

November 10, 2023

Dr. Carol A. Lange is a Professor of Medicine and Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, holds the Tickle Family Land Grant Endowed Chair of Breast Cancer Research, is the Associate Director for Basic Science and the Director of the Molecular, Genetic, and Cellular Targets of Cancer Training Program (NIH/NCI T32) at the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center. She graduated magna cum laude with honors with B.S. degrees in both biology and chemistry as well as a mathematics minor from The University of Denver. She received her PhD in pharmaceutical science and molecular toxicology from the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Dr. Gary L. Johnson lab at National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine (Denver), followed by a second postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Kathryn Horwitz at the University of Colorado. She was then recruited to the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center, where she currently directs her research program. Dr. Lange forged a research career studying the intersection of oncogenic signaling pathways with steroid hormone receptor actions in women’s cancers. Using basic and translational research approaches, she has made seminal contributions to our understanding of steroid hormone receptor action in the context of early genetic events that typify cancer, including activation of protein kinase signaling cascades, and mutations of key mediators of cell cycle regulation or DNA repair. Major focus includes the study of estrogen and progesterone receptor crosstalk in luminal (ER+) breast cancer and the role of progesterone receptors and closely related glucocorticoid receptors as sensors of both life stress and cellular stress signaling in triple negative breast cancer and high grade serous ovarian cancer. Major discoveries have revealed novel mechanisms of ligand-independent activation of steroid hormone receptors in growth factor- and cytokine-rich tumor microenvironments and the impact of phosphorylation events on transcriptional programs required for advanced cancer progression, stemness properties, and metastasis. As the Associate Director for Basic Science within the Masonic Cancer Center, Dr. Lange enjoys team building for collaborative cancer research that is both innovative and has clinical impact. A deeper understanding of steroid hormone receptor actions and signaling interplay will provide new biomarkers and enable improved molecular targeting of steroid hormone receptor-positive cancers, revolutionizing new endocrine-based combination therapies to halt cancer progression, prevent recurrence, and increase patient survival and quality of life.

Dr. Lange is equally committed to providing high quality training and mentoring in a supportive environment that fosters creativity and embraces diversity. She has been honored to serve as a mentor to trainees at all levels, including as primary advisor to 15 undergraduate students, 16 predoctoral (PhD or Masters) students, and 16 postdoctoral fellows and has been a faculty mentor to numerous junior and mid-career faculty members in her leadership roles within the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center and within the greater nuclear receptor field as a long-term member of the Endocrine Society, where she served as the Annual Meeting Steering Committee Basic Science Chair (2008), Vice President of Basic Science (2014-2016), Chair of the Task Force on Leadership Development (2015), and as Editor-in-Chief of Hormones and Cancer (2011-2015 and 2017-2020), and Endocrinology (2020-present). She has served on numerous NIH study sections related to molecular endocrinology and hormone action and on the Board of Scientific Advisors to the NIEHS in Research Triangle Park, NC (2015-2021). Dr. Lange has been an invited instructor in the Frontiers in Reproduction Course at Woods Hole and has co-organized numerous Endocrine Society-supported regional and national meetings and educational or career development events in her field. Notably, in her role as the Basic Science Chair, she was a founding organizer of the annual Trainee Day at ENDO, an event that fosters the next generation of endocrine researchers. She remains a popular invited speaker at this annual ENDO event. Dr. Lange received the Sidney H. Ingbar Laureate Award for Distinguished Service to the Field of Endocrinology (ES Laureate Awards 2020) and was awarded the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center Mentor of the Year Award (2023).

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