Kristi Schaefer

Background & Contact Information

Position Graduate Student (2013 – Present)
Education: BS, Biology, Butler University 2008; Lab Tech IU School of Medicine-Dept. of Medical and Molecular Genetics 2009-2012

Fellowships & Awards: NIH Training Program in Genetics and Molecular Biology

NSF Graduate Fellowship (2014-2016)



Research Information

According to the American Cancer Society, there will be 102,000 new cases of colon cancer this year.  The tumor suppressor APC is the initiating mutation in 80% of all colon cancers.  APC, along with Axin (a scaffolding protein) and the kinases CK1 and GSK3, form the destruction complex that regulates levels of β-Catenin (βCat), the key effecter of the Wnt signaling pathway which modulates proliferation and cell cycle.  When Wnt signaling is off, the destruction complex phosphorylates βCat, labeling it to be targeted for destruction by the E3 ligase complex SCF, containing the F-box protein βTrCP.  The mechanism of how the destruction complex transfers βCat to the E3 ligase is largely unknown.  Recently the lab discovered that the scaffolding protein Axin has a conserved βTrCP binding motif and that βTrCP and Axin co-localize in human cells.  I am trying to determine the mechanism and function of βTrCP-Axin interactions.  To tease out this mechanism I am utilizing both mammalian cell culture and Drosophila genetics and cell biology.


  • Schaefer, K.N., and Peifer M.  (2019).  Wnt/Beta-catenin signaling regulation and a role for biomolecular condensates. Developmental Cell48: 429-44.
  • Schaefer, K.N., Bonello, T.T.,  Zhang, S., Williams, C.E., Roberts, D.M., McKay, D.J, and Peifer, M.  (2018).  Supramolecular assembly of the beta-catenin destruction complex and the effect of Wnt signaling on its localization, molecular size, and activity in vivo.  PLoS Genetics
  • Fadero, T.C., Gerbich, T.M. , Rana, K., Suzuki, A. DiSalvo, M., Schaefer, K.N., Heppert, J.K., Boothby, T.C, Goldstein, B., Peifer, M., Allbritton, N.L., Gladfelter, A.S., Maddox, A.S. and Maddox, P.S.  (2018).  LITE microscopy: Tilted light sheet excitation of model organisms offers high resolution and low photobleaching.  Journal of Cell Biology, in press.
  • Rogers, E.M., Spracklen, A.J., Bilancia, C.G., Sumigray, K.D., Allred, S.C., Nowotarski, S.N., Schaefer, K. N., Ritchie, B.J., and Peifer, M.  (2016).  Abelson kinase acts as a robust, multifunctional scaffold in regulating embryonic morphogenesis.  Molecular Biology of the Cell 27, 2613-31.
  • Targeting of Ras-mediated FGF signaling suppresses Pten-deficient skin tumor. Mathew G, Hannan A, Hertzler-Schaefer K, Wang F, Feng GS, Zhong J, Zhao JJ, Downward J, Zhang X.  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Nov 15;113(46):13156-13161

  • Hertzler-Schaefer K, Mathew G, Somani AK, Tholpady S, Kadakia MP, Chen Y, Spandau DF, Zhang X. (2014)  Pten loss induces autocrine FGF signaling to promote skin tumorigenesis.  Cell Reports 6(5):818-26. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.01.045.
  • Carbe C, Hertzler-Schaefer K, Zhang, X.  (2012) The functional role of the Meis/Prep-binding elements in Pax6 locus during pancreas and eye development.  Developmental Biology 363:320-329
  • Qu X, Hertzler K, Pan Y, Grobe K, Robinson ML, Zhang X. (2011) Genetic epistasis between heparin sulfate and FGF-Ras signaling controls lens development.  Developmental Biology 355:12-20


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