Honors Program Theses


Honors Program Thesis (UNI Access Only)

First Advisor

Nalin Goonesekere


Pancreas--Cancer; Genetic markers;


Even with aggressive treatment, pancreatic cancer is often associated with poor prognosis, with a survival rate of less than 5%. Pancreatic cancers are rarely discovered in the early stages of the disease when it would be possible to resect all or most of the cancerous tissue. It is clear that early detection is crucial for the treatment of pancreatic cancers. Unfortunately, clinicians lack a non-invasive and efficient method of screening for the disease. The measurement of disease-specific biomarkers serum offers a promising possibility of a cost efficient, non-invasive method of early detection. A pancreatic cancer research laboratory was successfully established at the University of Northern Iowa Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry with the primary goal of contributing to biomarker and molecular therapy research. Two genes of interest, AHNAK2 and CTHRC1, were previously identified as potential biomarkers or targets of molecular therapy using the meta-analysis of microarray datasets. Unfortunately, errors arose in both the qPCR software and the incubators used to grow and maintain the cells. This resulted in the accumulation of error which led to inconclusive results. Future students will focus on repeating these experiments and work on studying other genes of interest. Further research may then be done to study the effects of these genes on pancreatic cancer and their efficacy in the early detection and treatment of the disease.

Year of Submission



Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

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