Jill D. Haag
Jill Haag is a Distinguished Researcher in the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Her technical mastery and knowledge of breast cancer model organisms has supported the advancement of the field and training of many scientists. Jill’s career started in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Gould, where she focused on the development of chemoprevention and therapeutic agents for breast cancer. These studies involved large scale rat mammary carcinogenesis experiments and used chemical and viral agents, as well as radiation, to induce cancer. Jill’s research initially focused on the anti-tumor activity of the monoterpene, perillyl alcohol (POH). The anti-tumor effect of POH was investigated in preclinical studies of toxicity and metabolism across multiple species to identify its potential molecular mechanisms. Perillyl alcohol has since been used in human clinical trials- most recently, for the treatment of glioblastoma.
Jill’s role in the Gould laboratory currently uses comparative genomics to identify genetic risk factors and mechanisms associated with the development of breast cancer. Since joining Dr. Gould’s lab, Jill has contributed to the creation of over 250 congenic, transgenic and knockout rat and mouse lines to characterize genetic elements and the mechanisms by which they affect breast cancer susceptibility. In addition, Jill has helped established a BioBank of over 10,000 human DNA samples from women with breast cancer and controls. One of the specific loci the lab has identified in the rat, Mcs5a, affects breast cancer risk in humans and appears to act via the immune system. Currently, Jill’s research is translationally-focused, as she studies immunoprevention strategies to stop breast cancer development through the use of rodent models and a pilot human clinical trial.