Joanna E. Burdette, Ph.D.Joanna Burdette

Associate Professor
Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy

Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education
College of Pharmacy

University of Illinois at Chicago
College of Pharmacy
900 S. Ashland Avenue (M/C 870)
Chicago IL 60607

Office: MBRB 3202
Office Phone: 312-996-6153
Labs: MBRB 3200-3210
Lab Phone: 312-996-0073
E-mail address:


Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, Research Assistant Professor 2006-2007
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, Post-Doctoral Fellow 2003-2006
University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, Ph.D. 1999-2003
Emory University, Atlanta, GA, B.S. 1995-1999

Research Interests:

Liz Tilberis Ovarian Cancer Research Fund
Studying ovarian cancer in three dimensions.
We have recently developed a 3D organ culture of ovaries and oviducts that might improve the progress towards characterizing early events in ovarian transformation.  Specifically, we are studying how ovulation alters genes that are implicated in ovarian and oviductal tumorigenesis. Ovulation damages oviductal cells by inducing double stranded DNA breaks. FSH and LH activate oncogenic pathways and increase cellular proliferation.

DOD CDMRP Ovarian Cancer Pilot
Genetic manipulation of ovarian and tubal cells.
Transgenic animal models of ovarian cancer typically are developed either by intrabursal deletion of genes in the ovarian surface or by tissue specific promoters that cannot distinguish the ovarian surface and the tubal epithelial cells. In this project, we will introduce specific combinations of genetic manipulations to perturb the ovarian surface and tubal cells when grown as three-dimensional cultures and compare their relative ability to transform and generate ovarian cancers.

American Cancer Society Research Scholar Grant Illinois
Akt transformation of ovarian and fallopian cells.
The aspects of ovulation thought to be associated with ovarian cancer include the tear and repair process, hormonal stimulation, and exposure to oxidative stress.  Our grant is focused on comparing how Akt is activated downstream of hormones and oxidative stress and contributes to transformation of the ovarian surface and tubal epithelial cells.  By comparing how normal cells respond to these stimuli as compared to cancer cells, we hope to unveil the origins of ovarian cancer.

NIBIB R01 (Meade PI)
Steroid based MRI contrast agents for hormone dependent cancer.
We have a long-standing collaboration with Dr. TJ Meade at Northwestern working to develop, validate, and image hormone receptor dependent cancers using targeted magnetic resonance imaging contrast agents. In this project, we will continue to expand our contrast agents to other nuclear receptors and increase their sensitivity. We will utilize animal models of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers to monitor receptor changes in vivo as disease progresses.

NICHD UH2 (Woodruff PI)
Ex Vivo Female Reproductive Tract Integration in a 3D Microphysiologic System.
Creating microphysiologic replicas of the reproductive tract that are validated tool(s) individually and when integrated into a unified system would represent a significant advance for drug development, toxicology and to understand and mitigate the reproductive health risks associated with environmental pollutants or a bioterrorism agents. In collaboration with the Woodruff Lab at Northwestern we are developing the 3D microfluidic organ cultures that will integrate the ovary, fallopian tube, uterus, vagina and cervix.

UIC Chancellor’s Discovery Fund
Nano-FSH dendrons for prevention and treatment of ovarian cancer.
Follicle stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR) is not only overexpressed by ovarian cancer cells, but is expressed in the cells that give rise to ovarian cancers.  We are characterizing novel nanocarriers developed by the Hong Lab to selectively destroy cancer cells without harming reproductive cells. Thus, FSHR targeting has a great potential to be used not only as a targeted therapy but also as a prophylactic treatment. 

American Cancer Society Illinois Division (Murphy PI)
Marine actinomycetes metabolites for ovarian cancer.
The coevolution of marine and eukaryotic species in the ocean has produced vast amounts of chemical diversity, some of which may function to destroy neighboring cells.  By using this diversity in an ongoing collaboration with the Murphy Lab, we are identifying lead compounds that are useful for killing ovarian cancer cells specifically with cisplatin resistance.

UIC/NIH Center for Botanical Research Pilot Project (ENDED)
Natural progestins from botanical extracts.
The hypothesis of this proposal is that selective natural progesterone compounds can be identified from botanical extracts.  The presence of progesterone receptor agonists in botanical extracts may provide novel and safer progestins that could be used for a variety of conditions such as hormone replacement therapy, contraception, and prevention of endometriosis and ovarian cancers.

Selected Publications (from 36 total):

  1. Burdette, J.E.  (2008) Review: In vivo Imaging of Molecular Targets and their Function in Endocrinology. J. Mol. Endocrinol. 40(6):253-261. [abstract]
  2. Jackson, K.S., Inoue, K., David, D.A., Hilliard, T.S., Burdette J.E. (2008) Three-dimensional ovarian organ culture as a tool to study ovarian surface wound repair. Endocrinology 150(8):3921-6.  [abstract]
  3. Sinkevicius K.W., Woloszyn K., Laine, M., Jackson, K.S., Greene G.L., Woodruff T.K., Burdette J.E. (2008) Characterization of the ovarian reproductive abnormalities in prepubertal and adult estrogen non-responsive estrogen receptor α knock-in (ENERKI) mice. Steroids 74(12):913-9. [abstract]
  4. Toh, M.F. and Burdette, J.E. (2010) Review: Botanical Mechanisms of Action. Fitoterapia 82(1):67-70. [abstract]
  5. King, S.M., Quartuccio, S., Hilliard, T.S., Inoue, K., and Burdette, J.E. (2011) Alginate hydrogels for three-dimensional culture of ovaries and oviducts.  Journal of Visualized Experiments. Jun 20 (52) pii. 2804 doi: 10.3791/2804. [abstract]
  6. Hilliard, T.S., Gaisina, I., Muehlbauer, A., Gallick, F., Gaisin, A., Burdette, J.E. (2011) Glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta inhibitors slow ovarian cancer in vitro and in vivo.  Anticancer Drugs 22(10): 978-85. [abstract]
  7. Sukerkar, P, MacRenaris, K, Meade, T.J. and Burdette, J.E. (2011) A steroid-conjugated magnetic resonance probe enhances contrast in progesterone receptor expressing organs and tumors in vivo. Molecular Pharmaceutics 8(4):1390-400. [abstract]
  8. King, S.M., Burdette, J.E. (2011) Invited Review: Evaluating progenitor cells of ovarian cancer: analysis of current animal models. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Reports 44(7): 435-45. [abstract]
  9. King, S.M., Hilliard, T.S., Wu, L., Jaffe, R.C., Fazleabas, A.T., Burdette, J.E. (2011) Impact of ovulation on fallopian tube cells: evaluating three major hypothesis connecting ovulation and serous ovarian cancer. Endocrine-Related Cancer 18(5):627-42. [abstract]
  10. Sukerkar, P., MacRenaris, K., Townsend, T., Ahmed, R., Burdette, J.E.* and Meade T.J.* (2011) Click chemistry synthesis and biological evaluation of water-soluble progesterone-conjugated probes for magnetic resonance imaging of hormone related cancers.  Bioconjugate Chemistry 22(11):2304-16. *equal contribution as corresponding author. [abstract]
  11. Toh, M.F., Sohn, J., Chen, S.C., Yao, P., Bolton, J.L., and Burdette, J.E. (2012) Biological characterization of non-steroidal progestins from botanical extracts used for women’s health. Steroids 77(7): 765-73. [abstract]
  12. Kim, M., Rooper, L., Xie, J., Rayahin, J., Burdette, J.E., Balla, A.A., Barbolina, M.V. (2012) The lymphotactin receptor is expressed in epithelial ovarian carcinoma and contributes to cell migration and proliferation. Molecular Cancer Research 10(11):1419-29. [abstract]
  13. King, S.M., Quartuccio, S.M., Vanderhyden, B.C., Burdette, J.E. (2013) Early transformative changes in normal ovarian surface epithelium induced by oxidative stress require Akt upregulation, DNA damage, and epithelial-stromal interaction. Carcinogenesis Epub Feb 1, 2013. [abstract]
  14. King, S.M., Modi, D.A., Eddie, S.M., Burdette J.E. (2013) Insulin and insulin-like growth factor increases proliferation and hyperplasia of the ovarian surface epithelium and decreases follicular integrity through upregulation of the PI3-kinase pathway. J. of Ovarian Res. 6(1): 12. [abstract]
  15. Hilliard, T.S., Modi, D.A., Burdette, J.E. (2013) Gonadotropins activate oncogenic pathways to enhance proliferation in normal mouse ovarian surface epithelium. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 14(3): 4762-82. [abstract]
  16. Quartuccio, S.M., Lantvit, D., Bosland, M., Burdette J.E. (2013) Conditional inactivation of p53 in mouse ovarian surface epithelium does not alter MIS-driven Smad2-dominant negative epithelium-lined inclusion cysts or teratomas. Plos One (in press). [abstract]

Burdette Lab