Dr. Karen Colley is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. Dr. Colley’s research is based on understanding the mechanisms that control protein glycosylation. Her current focus is directed at defining the mechanisms of protein specific polysialylation, and more precisely, how the polysialyltransferases (polySTs) recognize their major substrate, the neural cell adhesion molecule, NCAM, and two other substrates involved in signaling and adhesion, SynCAM 1 and neuropilin-2.
In addition to managing a NIH funded research program, a major focus of Dr. Colley’s has been on graduate education and graduate student mentoring. She had personally mentored six Masters students, nine PhD students, and six postdoctoral scholars, as well as several undergraduates.
She also informally mentors and serves on the PhD dissertation committees of many graduate students in the College of Medicine, College of Pharmacy, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In 2012, Dr. Colley was appointed as Dean of the Graduate College and she currently oversees all graduate programs across the UIC campus.