Nathan J. Charles


     Year entered: 2002

     Degrees Received:
     University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse
     Chemistry and Biology majors, Mathematics minor
     B.S., 2002 

     University of Minnesota
     Ph.D., 2010, Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology PhD Program
     M.D., 2012, Medical School

Honors and Awards:
-Honors, Year 1, Medical School
-6th Annual U of MN Dept. of Medicine Research Day Best Poster Award (2004)
-The U of MN Lillehei Heart Institute – Lillehei Scholars Program Research Award (2004)
-American Heart Association Greater Midwest Affiliate Predoctoral Fellowship (2005-2007)
-Steer-Pruitt Award, Minnesota Medical Foundation (2007)
-Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance (MOCA) Research Award (2008, 2009)
-The Endocrine Society’s Women in Endocrinology Young Investigator Award (2009)

Thesis Advisor: Carol Lange, Ph.D.

Thesis Research:   Progesterone receptor signaling and ovarian cancer cell biology

My thesis studies focus on the role of hormone based signaling events in the development and progression of ovarian cancer. In particular, we are interested in better understanding the impact that progesterone has on ovarian surface epithelial cells as mediated by both the classically defined nuclear progesterone receptor and the newly discovered membrane bound progesterone receptor. With regards to the nuclear progesterone receptor, we are currently investigating its ability to rapidly regulate cellular signaling events in addition to its control of gene target expression levels as a transcription factor. Furthermore, we are interested in how these effects are altered relative to changes in the expression pattern of the nuclear progesterone receptor, which appears to be downregulated in the setting of ovarian cancer. Additional studies concentrate on the ability of progesterone to activate the membrane bound progesterone receptor that is a G-protein coupled receptor whose expression is maintained at high levels in ovarian cancer. Ultimately, the goal of this research is to uncover the cellular mechanisms by which ovarian cancer arises and to develop novel treatment strategies based on altering progesterone-mediated signaling.

Publications (pubmed):

Dressing GE, Goldberg JE, Charles NJ, Schwertfeger KL, Lange CA. Membrane progesterone receptor expression in mammalian tissues: a review of regulation and physiological implications. Steroids. 2011 Jan;76(1-2):11-7.

Charles NJ, Huebert RC, Lee S, Adhikari N, Polster S, Rider JE, Braunlin E, Mariash A, Robledo M, Schuweiler D, Hall JL. Targeted Sprouty1 overexpression in cardiac myocytes does not alter myocardial remodeling or function. Mol Cell Biochem. 2010 Sep;342(1-2):57-62.

Charles NJ, Thomas P, Lange CA. Expression of Membrane Progesterone Receptors (mPR/PAQR) in Ovarian Cancer Cells: Implications for Progesterone-Induced Signaling Events. Horm Cancer. 2010 Aug;1(4):167-76.

Rider JE, Polster SP, Lee S, Charles NJ, Adhikari N, Mariash A, Tadros G, Stangland J, Smolenski RT, Terracciano CM, Barton PJR, Birks EJ, Yacoub MH, Miller LW, Hall JL. Chronic treatment with clenbuterol modulates endothelial progenitor cells and circulating ractors in a murine model of cardiomyopathy. J of Cardiovasc Trans Res. 2009 Jun;2(2):182-90.

Hall JL, Birks EJ, Grindle S, Cullen ME, Barton PJ, Rider JE, Lee S, Harwalker S, Mariash A, Adhikari N, Charles NJ, Felkin LE, Polster S, George RS, Miller LW, Yacoub MH. Molecular signature of recovery following combination left ventricular assist device (LVAD) support and pharmacologic therapy. Eur Heart J. 2007 Mar;28:613-627.

Charles N, Lee S, Kirshenbaum LA, Hall JL. Hypoxia increases Sprouty1 expression and promotes cardiac myocyte apoptosis. Circulation; Supplement II. 2006 Oct 31;114(18):232. Abstract.

Adhikari N, Charles N, Lehmann U, Hall JL.Transcription factor and kinase-mediated signaling in atherosclerosis and vascular injury.  Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2006 May;8:252-260. Review.

Huebert RC, Li Q, Adhikari N, Charles NJ, Han X, Ezzat MK, Grindle S, Park S, Ormaza S, Fermin D, Miller LW, Hall JL. Identification and regulation of Sprouty1, a negative inhibitor of the ERK cascade, in the human heart. Physiol Genomics. 2004 Aug;18:284-289.