Geiser Lab

Vicki Geiser, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology, Mt. Marty College

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, Brigham & Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
  • Ph.D., Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
  • M.S., Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
  • B.S., Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE

The Geiser Lab

Biocompatibility of Tissue Scaffolding
We are investigating the bio-compatibility of materials used in scaffolding for growing tissues. Our project investigates how varying the composition of the scaffolding material impacts cell signaling that leads to alterations of tissue growth and differentiation. We have established a 3D cell culture system (organotypic raft culture) that models the differentiation of epithelial cells into oral tissue and will utilize this system to determine the changes in tissue resulting from modifications to the scaffolding. This research is part of a statewide effort to strengthen South Dakota's STEM education and STEM workforce. This project involves collaborations with BioSNTR as a South Dakota Research and Innovation Center and is part of an emerging science project of a National Science Foundation EPSCoR grant.

EBV Induced Cancer
We are investigating how Epstein-Barr Virus can cause cancer. Our project investigates how this virus which is normally associated with "mono" modifies tissue growth and development to initiate cancer in certain patients. Latent Membrane Protein 1 (LMP1) is a viral gene that alters cells to a cancerous state. We utilize molecular, biochemical, and genetic approaches to look at the function of LMP1 in viral replication, cell proliferation and differentiation, and viral-cellular signaling pathways and the resulting pathology. This project involves collaborations with South Dakota Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network and is part of a National Institutes of Health
IDeA grant.

Bioinformatics & Genome Annotation
We are collaborators with the Microbial Genome Annotation Network (MGAN) and the Genomics Education National Initiative (GENI). Our project investigates the function of the genes of the "MMC Bacteria" Sphaerochaeta coccoides strain SPN1. Researchers in Germany discovered this microbe in the hindgut of Florida dampwood termites. MGAN is particularly interested in the MMC microbe in the ferments different carbohydrates and produces ethanol, acetate, and formate as the main fermentation end products. Thus, this microorganism could possibly be used in the direct bioconversion of cellulose-containing wastes to fuel such as ethanol or it may harbor enzymes with potential biotechnological applications. We utilize bioinformatics to annotate the S. coocides genome in order to update and validate the public databases that scientists utilize for their research. This project involves collaborations with the South Dakota Genomics Consortium and is part of a MGAN - NSF, and GENI undergraduate research program in microbial genome annotation.

Research opportunities in the Geiser Lab

Undergraduate students are encouraged to learn more about basic research opportunities available through BioSNTR at http://sdepscor.org, biomedical research opportunities available through SD BRIN program at http://orgs.usd.edu/brin/undergrad.html, bioinformatics research opportunities available through MGAN at http://www.mgan-network.org, and by contacting Dr. Geiser at [email protected] or 605-668-1606.

Selected Peer-reviewed Publications