The Best of the AACR Journals Collection: Author Profiles
Jennifer K. Richer
Title & Affiliation:
Professor of Pathology, Department of Pathology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO
Q: What is your primary area of study/research?
A: Breast Cancer: steroid hormone receptors
Q: What influenced your decision to embark on a research career?
A: As a child, I enjoyed the outdoors and learning anything to do with nature, animals or the human body. When I got older, I worked in a veterinary practice and two doctor’s offices over summers. Through these experiences, then being exposed to undergraduate research, I realized that I do not like to be constrained by current “standards of care" or protocol, but rather I am the type that likes to delve into problems in depth, push the boundaries of knowledge and make new discoveries. As an undergraduate and graduate student I studied parasitology because the life cycles and obligate relationships with insect and mammalian hosts were fascinating. I started cloning ecdysone-like receptors from parasitic nematodes, then moved into steroid hormone receptor action and breast cancer as a postdoc with Dr. Kathryn Horwitz.
Q; What excites you most about your research area?
A: What I like the most about cancer research is that you have to understand both sides of the story, the tumor (which is much like a parasite) and the host micro and macro environment. Cancer biology is multidisciplinary by nature. I like having to learn new things depending on where the results lead. Although my expertise is in steroid receptor action, I’ve had to learn about non‐coding RNAs, tumor metabolism and tumor immunology. I love working with intelligent young scientists, researchers with other expertise, and collaborating with clinicians who work directly with patients, treating cancer at the front line. Two of my lab's recent projects targeting androgen receptors and the enzyme TDO2 in breast cancer are highly translational, and it is very rewarding to play a role in moving basic science findings from the bench to the bedside, and to hopefully benefit patients.
Q: What are your hobbies or passions outside of work?
A: Not much - just kidding! I enjoy spending time with my family, hiking and mountain biking, enjoying great books and friends!