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Peter Mesner
Associate Professor

  • Department(s): BIOLOGY
  • Office Location: Upham Hall 207
  • Phone: (262) 472-5139
  • Email:
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Pete Mesner. 1999. Molecular Cell Biology

Ph.D., 1995, Biology; University of Iowa; Post-doc., ‘95-'99 Oncology Research, Mayo Clinic

Chief Health Professions Advisor, Advisor for Pre-Health Professions Club (PHAT) & UW-W Secular Student Alliance

Courses Taught: Intro. to Cell Biology, Human Anat. & Phys. I, & Immunology

The research in my lab focuses on issues of eukaryotic cell metabolism and cell death, especially in human solid tumor cells. At present my lab is involved in two main lines of investigation:

1) Investigating the potential of novel and/or emerging anti-cancer agents to synergize with existing chemotherapy drugs to stop cell division and/or induce tumor cell death. These studies are, at present, performed on human tumor cell lines grown in vitro using standard mammalian cell culture conditions. We employ biochemical & cell biological techniques to assess the efficacy of agent combinations and/or dosing schedules.

2) Characterization of "orphan" mitochondrial proteins. Only a fraction of the 1000+ proteins found in human mitochondria have been studied and assigned function. We are cloning cDNAs that encode select members of this protein population and using cell biological and biochemical methods to investigate their precisce sub-cellular localization and biochemical function(s).

I LOVE mentoring undergraduate research students who are driven by curiosity and an honest interest in actually doing lab work. I am not interested in working with students who lack self-motivation or who simply want to “do some research” so they can check it off their "to do" list before applying for admission to a professional school.

Selected Publications:  *denotes undergraduate student coauthor

Paulson, J.R., Kecskemeti, A*., and Mesner, P.W., (2016). Mild Hyperthermia induces apoptosis in metaphase-arrested HeLa cells but not in interphase cells. Adv. Biol. Chem. 6, 126-139.

Sorensen, E.* and Mesner, P.W. (2005). IgH-2 Cells: A reptilian model for apoptotic studies. Comp. Biochem. and Phys. 140 (1), 163-70. 

Svingen, P.A. Loegering, D., Rodriguez, J., Meng, X.W., Mesner, P.W., Holbeck, S., Monks, A. Krawjewski, S., Seudiero, D.A., Sausville, E.A., Reed, J.C., Lazebnik, Y.A., and Kaufmann, S.H., (2004). Components of the cell death machine and drug sensitivity of the National Cancer Institute Cell Line Panel. Clin. Cancer Res. 10 (20): 6807-20. 

Kottke TJ, Blajeski AL, Meng XW, Svingen PA, Rauchad S, Mesner PW, Boerner SA, Samejima K, Henriquez NV, Chilcote TJ, Lord J, Salmon M, Earnshaw WC, Kaufmann SH., (2002). Lack of correlation beteeen caspase activation and caspase activity assays in paclitaxel-treated MCF-7 breast cancer cells. J. Biol. Chem. 277 (1), 804-15.

Mesner, P.W., et al., (1999) Characterization of caspase processing and activation in HL-60 cell cytosol under cell-free conditions. J. Biol. Chem. 274 (32) 22635-45.

Mesner, P.W., et al., (1995) A timetable of events during programmed cell death induced by trophic factor withdrawal from neuronal PC12 cells. J. Neurosci., 15 (11): 7357-66.