Medical School

Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation

Department of Medicine

Julie Ostrander, PhD


Academic Title

Assistant Professor of Medicine


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Administrative Contact

E: Robin Toy
P: (612) 625-2159
F: (612) 625-6919

Mailing Address

Division of Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation
420 Delaware Street SE, MMC 480
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Bio Statement

Julie Ostrander, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Minnesota and a member of the Women’s Cancer Program at the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center. Dr. Ostrander received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She holds memberships in the American Association for Cancer Research and the Endocrine Society.

Areas of Expertise

  • Biomarkers of breast cancer progression and response to chemoprevention
  • Growth factor signaling
Research Interests

Dr. Ostrander’s research interests focus on identifying biomarkers to identify pre-invasive breast cancer and response to chemoprevention. The objective of her current research is to identify the molecular mechanisms associated with PELP1-induced breast cancer initiation. PELP1 was first identified as an estrogen receptor (ER) co-activator in ER+ breast cancer cell lines. Subsequent studies found that PELP1 functions in ER+ and ER- breast cancer and is overexpressed in 80% of invasive breast cancers. While PELP1 is primarily localized to the nucleus in the normal breast epithelial cells, in about 40% of invasive breast tumors a significant amount of PELP1 is localized in the cytoplasm. Dr. Ostrander’s laboratory has found that altered localization of PELP1 to the cytoplasm promotes breast cancer initiation and cell survival in the presence of tamoxifen.

The focus of a separate project is to use endogenous fluorophores to determine whether differences exist in normal and high-risk breast tissues, as well as breast cancer tissue. The endogenous fluorophores NADH and FAD are two of the principal electron donors and acceptors in cellular metabolism, respectively. The optical redox ratio is a measure of cellular metabolism and can be determined by the ratio of NADH/FAD. We have found that the optical redox ratio is higher in breast cancer cell lines compared to normal mammary epithelial cells. Additionally, we observed a statistically significant increase in the optical redox ratio of ER(+) breast cancer cell lines. The overall goal of this research is to determine if endogenous fluorophors can detect high-risk, pre-invasive changes in normal breast tissue.


  • Ostrander JH, Daniel AR, Lange CA. Brk/PTK6 signaling in normal and cancer cell models. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2010 Dec;10(6):662-9.
  • Ostrander JH, McMahon CM, Lem S, Millon SR, Seewaldt VL, Ramanujam N. The Optical Redox Ratio Differentiates Breast Cancer Cell Lines Based on Receptor Status. Cancer Res. 2010 Jun 1;70(11):4759-66. PMID: 20460512
  • Millon SR, Ostrander JH, Brown JQ, Raheja A, Seewaldt VL, Ramanujam N. Uptake of 2-NBDG as a method to monitor therapy response in breast cancer cell lines. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2010 Apr 14. PMID: 20390344
  • Millon SR, Ostrander JH, Yazdanfar S, Brown JQ, Bender JE, Rajeha A, and Ramanujam N. Preferential uptake of ALA-induced PpIX in breast cancer: A comprehensive study on six breast cell lines. J Biomed Opt. 2010 15(1):018002. PMID: 20210488
  • Vasilatos SN, Broadwater G, Barry WT, Baker JC, Lem S, Dietze EC, Bean GR, Bryson AD, Pilie PG, Goldenberg V, Skaar D, Paisie C, Torres-Hernandez A, Grant TL, Wilke LG, Ibarra-Drendall C, Ostrander JH, D’Amato NC, Zalles C, Jirtle R, Weaver VM, and Seewaldt VL. CpG Island Tumor Suppressor Promoter Methylation in Non-BRCA-Associated Early Mammary Carcinogenesis. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2009 18: 901-914. PMID: 19258476
  • Ostrander JH*, Chalut KJ*, Giacomelli MG, Wax A. Light Scattering Measurements of Subcellular Structure Provide Noninvasive Early Detection of Chemotherapy-Induced Apoptosis. Cancer Res. 2009 Feb 1;69(3):1199-204 *Authors contributed equally to this manuscript. PMID: 19141640
  • Giacomelli MG, Chalut KJ, Ostrander JH, Wax A. Application of T-matrix method to determine the structure of spheroidal cell nuclei with angle-resolved light scattering. Optics Letters. 2008 Nov 1;33(21):2452-4. PMID: 18978884
  • Ostrander JH*, Baker JC*, Lem S, Goldenberg V, Rowell C, Ibarra-Drendall C, Jr. , Bean GR, Grant T, Pilie PG, Vasilatos S, Troch M, Scott V, Wilke LG, Paisie C, Rabiner S, Torres-Hernandez A , Zalles CM, Broadwater G, Seewaldt VL. ESR1 Promoter Hypermethylation Does Not Predict Atypia in Random Periareolar Fine Needle Aspiration nor Persistent Atypia after 12 Months Tamoxifen Chemoprevention. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2008 17: 1884-1890. *Authors contributed equally to this work. PMID: 18708376
  • Bean GR, Bryson AD, Pilie PG, Goldenberg V, Baker JC, Jr., Ostrander JH, Ibarra C, Brander DMU, Paisie C, Case NR, Gauthier M, Reynolds PA, Dietze E, Scott V, Wilke LG, Yee L, Kimler BF, Fabian CJ, Zalles CM, Broadwater G, Tlsty TD, and Seewaldt VL. Morphologically Normal-Appearing Mammary Epithelial Cells Obtained from High-Risk Women Exhibit Methylation Silencing of INK4a/ARF. Clin Cancer Res. 2007 Nov 15;13(22 Pt 1):6834-41. PMID: 18006786
  • Ostrander JH, Daniel AR, Lofgren K, Kleer, C and Lange CA. Breast Tumor Kinase Regulates Growth Factor-Induced Activation of Erk5 and p38 in Breast Cancer Cell Models. Cancer Res. 2007 May 1;67(9):4199-209. PMID: 17483331
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  • Last modified on April 23, 2015