Profile for Sierra Colavito

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Sierra Colavito

Associate Professor
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

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Specialty area(s)

Genetics of Breast Cancer Stem-like Cells

Please contact me if you have interest in graduate studies in my laboratory.

Current courses at UWL

BIO 306- Genetics

BIO 306L- Genetics Lab

BIO 105: General Biology

BIO 435/535: Molecular Biology



Post-doctoral Fellow, Yale University and the American Cancer Society, 2010-2014

PhD, Yale University, Genetics, 2010

BA, Williams College, Biology 2002


Teaching history

BIO 105: General Biology

BIO 306- Genetics

BIO 306L- Genetics Lab

BIO 435/535- Molecular Biology

BIO 436/536- Molecular Biology Laboratory


Professional history

My research examines signal transduction and other pathways that are improperly activated in breast cancer stem-like cells. Recently we have identified inappropriate cell-cycle checkpoint activity and DNA repair processes in breast cancer stem-like cells, and are investigating the molecular basis of this signaling using molecular genetic and cell-biological approaches.

Potential Graduate Students: Please e-mail me for more information, I am currently accepting graduate students.

Research and publishing

Colavito SA (2020). AXL as a target in breast cancer therapy. Journal of Oncology, Vol:2020. (denotes corresponding author). DOI: 10.1155/2020/5291952

Colavito SA, Platt, JT, Held, MA, Liu Z, Sokup R, and Stern DF (2019). Combinatorial drug screening of mammary cells with induced mesenchymal transformation to identify drug combinations for triple negative breast cancer. Oncotarget,10:47. ( denotes corresponding author. ^Cover article). PMCID: PMC6690678

Colavito SA, Zou MR, Yan Q, Nguyen, DX, and Stern DF (2014). Significance of glioma-associated oncogene homolog 1 (GLI1) expression in claudin-low breast cancer and crosstalk with the NFkB pathway. Breast Cancer Res. 2014 Sep 25;16(5):444 ( denotes corresponding author). PMCID: PMC4303124

Colavito S, Stepansky A, Madan A, Harris LN, Hicks J, Bossuyt V, Rimm D, Lannin D and Stern DF (2012). Abstract P3-14-01: Molecular definition of the transition of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) to invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC). Cancer Research, 72, P3-14-01.

Wilson KA*, Colavito SA*, Schulz V, Wakefield PH, Sessa W, Tuck DP, and Stern DF. (2011) NFBD1/MDC1 Regulates Cav1 and Cav2 independently of DNA damage and p53. Molecular Cancer Research, 9, 766-781 (*co-first authors). PMCID: PMC3901581

Colavito S, Prakash R, and Sung P. (2010) Promotion and Regulation of Homologous Recombination by DNA Helicases. Methods, 51, 329-35.

Colavito S, Macris-Kiss M, Seong C, Gleeson O, Greene E, Klein H, Krejci L, and Sung P. (2009) Functional Significance of the Rad51-Srs2 Complex in Rad51 Presynaptic Filament Disruption. Nucleic Acids Research, 37, 6754-6764.

Seong C, Colavito S, Kwon Y, Sung P, Krejci L. (2009) Regulation of Rad51 Recombinase Presynaptic Filament Assembly via Interactions with the Rad52 Mediator and the Srs2 Anti-recombinase. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 284, 24363-24371.

Pinnell J, Lindeman P, Colavito S, Lowe C, Savage RM. (2006). The Divergent Roles of the Segmentation Gene Hunchback. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 46, 519-532.

Au N, Kuester-Schoeck E, Mandava V, Bothwell LE, Canny SP, Chachu K, Colavito SA, Fuller SN, Groban ES, Hensley LA, O’Brien TC, Shah A, Tierney JK, Tomm LL, O’Gara TM, Goranov AI, Grossman AD, Lovett CM (2005). Genetic Composition of the Bacillus subtilis SOS System. Journal of Bacteriology, 187, 7655-7666.

Stegmaier K, Ross KN, Colavito SA, O’Malley S, Stockwell BR, Golub TR. (2004). Gene Expression-Based High-Throughput Screening (GE-HTS) and Application to Leukemia Differentiation. Nature Genetics, 36, 257-263.



Sierra Colavito, Biology, authored the article "AXL as a Target in Breast Cancer Therapy" in Changes in Cell Signaling Pathways as a Goal of Targeted Therapy of Solid Tumors published on Friday, Feb. 14 by the Journal of Oncology.

Submitted on: Feb. 14, 2020



Sierra Colavito, Biology, co-authored the article "Combinatorial drug screening of mammary cells with induced mesenchymal transformation to identify drug combinations for triple negative breast cancer" in "Oncotarget" published on Aug. 6, 2019 by Impact Journals.

Submitted on: Aug. 31, 2019