Lab Members


Sanford Research - Paola Vermeer
Paola D. Vermeer, PhD
Principal Investigator
Dr. Vermeer obtained her B.A. in Biology from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA in 1991, her PhD from Columbia University in New York City, New York in 1998. She did a post-doctoral research fellowship at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Iowa with Dr. Michael J. Welsh. She stayed on as a Research Scientist with Dr. Welsh and then Dr. Joseph Zaber until 2008 when she joined the Cancer Biology Research Center at Sanford Research, Sioux Falls, SD. Dr. Vermeer’s interests are in the following areas:
  • Epithelial cell biology and growth factor receptor signaling.
  • Cancer mediated cellular changes and response to therapies.
  • Drug resistance pathways and tumor re-sensitization.
  • Repurposing of drugs for new applications.
  • Moving forward with the knowledge gained at the bench toward clinical trials to ultimately benefit cancer patients
Sanford Research - Paul Colbert
Paul L. Colbert
Paul obtained his B.S. in Biology from Black Hills State University and M.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Iowa State University. Since joining the Vermeer lab in 2012, Paul’s work has focused on signaling mechanisms in cancer initiation and progression. 
Christopher Lucido
Chris is an MD/PhD student at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine. He is currently doing his PhD work in the Vermeer Laboratory focused on the role of the sympathetic nervous system in cancer progression. Chris worked in the laboratory as an undergraduate at Augustana University. For his PhD thesis, he is continuing his earlier work and leading translational projects focused on tumor innervation and therapeutic interventions.
Marianna Madeo
Marianna obtained her PhD from the Department of Pharmaco-Biology at the University of Calabria in Italy. Dr. Madeo joined the Vermeer laboratory in 2015 and has speerheaded the tumor innervation project as well as a project focused on immune cell/tumor cell communication.
Caitlin Williamson
Caitlin obtained her B.S. from South Dakota State University. She was a biology and anatomy teacher at O’Gorman High School for 5 years. During that time, she was also the founder and co-advisor of HOSA, the Health Occupation Students of America group. She transitioned from the field of science education to being a full time member of the Vermeer lab and directly contributing to several projects.


Previous Lab Members

Erin Eickman
Erin was a high school PROMISE Scholar and joined the lab for the summer of 2013. Throughout the summer, Erin worked to characterize the ubiquitin ligase, SMURF2 and how it affects expression of EphrinB1. Erin will pursue a career in engineering.
Megan Bell
Megan joined the lab for the summer of 2011 and significantly contributed to the characterization of the ErbB/EphrinB1 complex in breast cancer. Her work earned her authorship on a paper published in 2012 (PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e30447). Megan has gone on to Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and is pursuing a career in genetic counseling.
Kara Prussing
Kara graduated from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD. She joined the lab as a BRIN Scholar during the summer of 2012. Kara worked on characterizing EphrinB1 clones and continued her work in the lab throughout the school year. Kara is currently a medical student at the University of North Dakota.
Bryant Weiking
Bryant joined the Lee lab and worked with many lab members, including those in the Vermeer Lab from the summer of 2010 until the Fall of 2013. Bryant worked on a variety of different projects and his contributions culminated in authorship on a number of papers. Bryant is currently a student at the Sanford School of Medicine Physician’s Assistant program in Sioux Falls, SD.