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Lara Collier, PhD

Associate Professor
Director of Graduate Studies, Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Program

Microglia, which are central nervous system (CNS) resident macrophages, have a variety of functions in both the normal and diseased CNS. Research in the Collier laboratory focuses on the use of mouse models to study microglial functions, primarily in certain CNS diseases for which there are no effective treatments. Specifically, we study the actions of microglia in brain tumors called gliomas and in a rare genetic disorder called Alexander disease. We use genetic models in combination with approaches such as quantitative immunofluorescence and RNA sequencing to understand how the phenotypes and functions of microglia evolve during disease progression. We also specifically study if microglia or other immune cells can be therapeutic targets for disease treatment. To this end, we use both genetic and pharmacologic approaches to modify actions of microglia and other immune cells and measure the impact on disease phenotypes. Our ultimate goal is to learn how to best target the immune response to treat CNS diseases that are in desperate need of new therapeutic approaches.

Prospective graduate students, please apply to one or more of the following Ph.D. programs: Pharmaceutical Sciences, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, Genetics, or Cellular and Molecular Biology. 

Graduate program memberships:

• Pharmaceutical Sciences

• Genetics

• Cellular and Molecular Biology

• Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (chair, admissions committee)


• BA with highest distinction in Biology with a second major in Chemistry focusing on Biochemistry, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.

• PhD in Cancer Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA.

• Postdoctoral Fellow studying mouse cancer genetics. David Largaespada’s laboratory at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Faculty Honors and Awards:

• K01 Howard Temin award from the NCI

• Kimmel Scholar

• American Cancer Society Research Scholar

Pharm Sci 310 Drugs and their actions

Pharm Sci 401 Survey of pharmacology

Pharm Sci 521 Pharmacology I

Pharm Sci 522 Pharmacology II

Highlighted Publications:
  • Collier LS*, Carlson CM*, Ravimohan S, Dupuy AJ, Largaespada DA. Cancer gene discovery in solid tumours using transposon-based somatic mutagenesis in the mouse. Nature. 2005;436(7048):272-6. *equal contribution 
  • Keng VW, Villanueva A, Chiang DY, Dupuy AJ, Ryan BJ, Matise I, Silverstein KAT, Sarver S, Starr TK, Akagi K, Tessarollo L, Collier LS, Powers S, Lowe SW, Jenkins NA, Copeland NG, Llovet JM, and Largaespada DA. A conditional transposon-based insertional mutagenesis screen for hepatocellular carcinoma-associated genes in mice. Nat Biotechnology, 2009 Mar;27(3):264-74.  
  • Starr TK, Allaei R, Silverstein KAT, Staggs RA, Sarver AL, Bergemann TL, Gupta M, O’Sullivan MG, Matise I, Dupuy AJ, Collier LS, Powers S, Oberg AL, Asmann YW, Thibodeau SN, Tessarollo L, Copeland NG, Jenkins NA, Cormier RT, Largaespada DA. A Transposon-Based Genetic Screen in Mice Identifies Genes Altered in Colorectal Cancer. Science, 2009 Mar 27;323(5922):1747-50. 
  • Rahrmann EP*, Collier LS*, Knutson TP, Doyal ME, Kuslak SL, Green LE, Malinowski RL, Roethe L, Akagi K, Waknitz M, Huang W, Largaespada DA, Marker PC Identification of PDE4D as a proliferation promoting factor in prostate cancer using a Sleeping Beauty transposon based somatic mutagenesis screen. Cancer Research, 2009 May 15;69(10):4388-97. *equal contribution 
  • Collier LS, Adams DJ, Hackett CS, Bendzick LE, Akagi K, Davies MN, Diers MD, Rodriguez FJ, Bender AM, Tieu C, Matise I, Dupuy AJ, Copeland NG, Jenkins NA, Hodgson JG, Weiss WA, Jenkins RB, Largaespada DA. Whole-body Sleeping Beauty mutagenesis can cause penetrant leukemia/lymphoma and rare high-grade glioma without associated embryonic lethality. Cancer Res. 2009 Nov 1;69(21):8429-37. 
  • Mattison J, Kool J, Uren A, de Ridder J, Wessels L, Jonkers J, Bignell GR, Butler A, Rust AG, Brosch M, Wilson CH, van der Weyden L, Largaespada DA, Stratton MR, Futreal PA, van Lohuizen M*, Berns A*, Collier LS*, Hubbard T*, Adams DJ*. Novel candidate cancer genes identified by a large-scale cross-species comparative oncogenomics approach. Cancer Res. 2010 Feb 1;70(3):883-95. *equal contribution 
  • Bender AM, Collier LS, Rodriguez FJ, Tieu C, Larson JD, Halder C, Mahlum E, Kollmeyer TM, Akagi K, Sarkar G, Largaespada DA, Jenkins RB. Sleeping Beauty-mediated somatic mutagenesis implicates CSF1 in the formation of high-grade astrocytomas. Cancer Res. 2010 May 1;70(9):3557-65. 
  • Wu X, Northcott PA, Dubuc A, Dupuy AJ, Shih DJ, Witt H, Croul S, Bouffet E, Fults DW, Eberhart CG, Garzia L, Van Meter T, Zagzag D, Jabado N, Schwartzentruber J, Majewski J, Scheetz TE, Pfister SM, Korshunov A, Li XN, Scherer SW, Cho YJ, Akagi K, MacDonald TJ, Koster J, McCabe MG, Sarver AL, Collins VP, Weiss WA, Largaespada DA, Collier LS, Taylor MD. Clonal selection drives genetic divergence of metastatic medulloblastoma. Nature. 2012 Feb 15;482(7386):529-33. 
  • Pérez-Mancera PA, Rust AG, van der Weyden L, Kristiansen G, Li A, Sarver AL, Silverstein KAT, Grützmann R, Aust D, Rümmele P, Knösel T, Herd C, Stemple DL, Kettleborough R, Brosnan JA, Li A, Morgan R, Knight S, Yu J, Stegeman S, Collier LS, ten Hoeve JJ, de Ridder J, Klein AP, Goggins M, Hruban RH, Chang DK, Biankin AV, Grimmond SM, APGI18, Wessels LFA, Wood SA, Iacobuzio-Donahue CA, Pilarsky C, Largaespada DA, Adams DJ, Tuveson DA. The deubiquitinase USP9X suppresses pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Nature. 2012 Apr 29;486(7402):266-70. 
  • Bagley BN, Keane TM, Maklakova VI, Marshall JG, Lester RA, Cancel MM, Paulsen AR, Bendzick LE, Been RA, Kogan SC, Cormier RT, Kendziorski C, Adams DJ and Collier LS. A dominantly acting murine allele of Mcm4 causes chromosomal abnormalities and promotes tumorigenesis. PLOS Genetics. 2012 Nov;8(11):e1003034  
  • Sukup-Jackson MR, Kiraly O, Kay JE, Na L, Rowland EA, Winther KE, Chow DN, Kimoto T, Matsuguchi T, Jonnalagadda VS, Maklakova VI, Singh VR, Wadduwage DN, Rajapakse J, So PTC, Collier LS and Engelward BP. ROSA26-GFP direct repeat (RaDR-GFP) mice reveal tissue- and age-dependence of homologous recombination in mammals in vivo. PLoS Genet. 2014 Jun 5;10(6):e1004299  
  • Vyazunova I, Maklakova VI, Berman S, De I, Steffen MD, Hong W, Lincoln H, Morrissy AS, Taylor MD, Akagi K, Brennan CW, Rodriguez FJ and Collier LS. Sleeping Beauty mouse models identify candidate genes involved in gliomagenesis. PLoS One. 2014 Nov 25;9(11):e113489.  
  • De I, Nikodemova M, Steffan MD, Sokn E, Watters JJ and Collier LS. Csf1 over-expression has pleiotropic effects on microglia in vivo. Glia. 2014 Dec;62(12):1955-67  
  • Nikodemova M, Kimyon R, De I, Small A, Collier LS and Watters JJ. Microglial numbers attain adult levels after undergoing a rapid decrease in cell number in the third postnatal week. J Neuroimmunol. 2015 Jan 15;278:280-8 
  • Morrissy AS, Garzia L, Shih D, Zuyderduyn S, Huang X, Skowron P, Remke M, Cavalli F, Ramaswamy V, Lindsay P, Jelveh S, Donovan L, Wang X, Luu B, Zayne K, Li Y, Mungall K, Mayoh C, Thiessen N, Mercier E, Ma Y, Tse K, Zeng T, Shumansky K, Roth A, Shah S, Farooq H, Kijima N, Holgado BL, Lee J, Matan-Lithwick S, Qin L, Reimand J, Rolider A, Liu J, Thompson Y, Wu X, Mack S, Manno A, Michealraj KA, Nor C, Peacock J, Pugh T, Ally A, Bilenky M, Butterfield Y, Carlsen R, Cheng Y, Li H, Long W, Mayo M, Plettner P, Qian J, Schein J, Tam A, Wong T, Birol I, Zhao Y, Chuah E, Corbett R, Dhalla N, He A, Lee D, Faria C, Pimentel J, Nunes S, Shalaby T, Grotzer M, Pollack I, Hamilton R, Li X-N, Bendel A, Fults D, Walter A, Kumabe T, Tominaga T, Collins VP, Cho Y-J, Hoffman C, Lyden D, Wisoff J, Garvin Jr. J, Stearns D, Massimi L, Schüller U, Sterba J, Zitterbart K, Puget S, Ayrault O, Dunn S, Tirapelli D, Carlotti C, Wheeler H, Hallahan A, Ingram W, MacDonald T, Olson J, Van Meir E, Lee J-Y, Wang K-C, Kim S-K, Cho B-K, Pietsch T, Fleischhack G, Tippelt T, Ra YS, Bailey S, Clifford S, Lindsey J, Eberhart C, Cooper M, Packer R, Massimino M, Garre ML, Bartels U, Tabori U, Hawkins C, Dirks P, Rutka J, Bouffet E, Wechsler-Reya R, Weiss W, Collier LS, Dupuy A, Korshunov A, Jones D, Kool M, Northcott P, Pfister A, Largaespada DA, Mungall A, Moore R, Jabado N, Bader G, Jones S, Malkin D, Marra M and Taylor MD. Divergent Clonal Selection Dominates Medulloblastoma at Recurrence. Nature. 2016 Jan 21;529(7586):351-7. 
  • De I, Steffen M, Clark PA, Patros CJ, Sokn E, Bishop SM, Litscher S, Maklakova VI, Kuo JS, Rodriguez FJ and Collier LS. CSF1 overexpression promotes high-grade glioma formation in vivo without impacting the polarization status of glioma-associated microglia and macrophages. Cancer Res. 2016 May 1;76(9):2552-60.