Kaitlyn R. Sherer

  • Graduate Students

Faculty Advisor: Ashlee H. Rowe, PhD

B.S., 2009, Michigan State University

Entered Program in 2012
Dual Degree DVM/PhD Program

Rowe Lab

Academic and Research Background

During my undergraduate career and as a post-baccalaureate, I worked with Dr. Bill Atchison here at Michigan State developing the use of C. elegans as a model system for studying methyl mercury (MeHg) neurotoxicity to understand the effect of MeHg on voltage gated Ca2+channels. During this time, I developed a passion for understanding mechanisms of disease, specifically how channelopathies lead to disease.

I also spent 2 years working with Dr. Hee Jung Chung at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I sought to understand how familial mutations in voltage-gated K+ channels lead to hyperexcitability of neurons in an infantile seizure disorder. My research revealed that mutations in the carboxy-terminus of the Kv7 channels led to aberrant trafficking patterns and the channel requires a calcium sensing protein, calmodulin, for proper expression.

I joined the Neuroscience PhD program at Michigan State in the Summer of 2012 and began the veterinary medicine curriculum in the Fall of 2013.

Current Research Interests

I believe in the concept of “One Health” where the research we do in our labs has an impact on both human and animal medicine. There is wealth of knowledge we can gain studying a variety of species throughout the animal kingdom. We can use Mother Nature’s problem solving skills to aid in human and animal medicine rather than “reinventing the wheel,” so to speak. My goal is for veterinary research to collaborate with human medicine for the betterment of all.

My current interest is to understand mechanisms of pain signaling in peripheral pain pathways. I am taking advantage of a unique model system in the lab of Dr. Ashlee Rowe. We are studying the species-prey interaction of wild grasshopper mice that exhibit decreased pain response to their scorpion prey’s toxic venom. The mice are unique because they exhibit decreased pain like behaviors to venom injections and their neurons exhibit decreased excitability. My dissertation is focused on elucidating structural and functional changes in voltage-gated K+ channels that lead to altered states of excitability.

Personal Interests

Outside of class and lab I enjoy being outdoors. I love to run and hike with my dog, Weston. I also have 4 horses and barrel race on the weekends.


  • Sherer KR*, Cavaretta JP*, Lee Ky, Kim EH, Issema RS and Chung HJ. 2014. Polarized axonal surface expression of neuronal KCNQ potassium channels is regulated by calmodulin interaction with KCNQ2 subunit. PLoS One(9)7:e103655. (*these authors contributed equally).

Posters and Presentations

  • NIH-Merial Scholars Symposium, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY Sherer KR, and Rowe AH (2014) Pain-pathway expression of K+ channels in Onychomys arenicola and Mus musculus exhibiting high- or low-sensitivity to scorpion, Centruiroides vitattus, pain-inducing toxins. Poster presentation.
  • Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX Spencely SM, Sherer KR, Hajela RK and Atchison WD (2014). Effects of Methylmercury on Caenorhabditis elegans calcium ion channel mutant strains. Poster presentation.
  • Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX Breithaupt (Sherer) KR, Hajela RK and Atchison WD (2013). Cytotoxic effects of methyl mercury in whole worms and pan-neuronal GFP-expressing embryonic cultures of Caenorhabditis elegans. Poster presentation.
  • Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Washington D.C. Sherer, KR and Chung HJ (2011) The role of Calmodulin and AKAP79/150 in KCNQ channel trafficking and Benign Familial Neonatal Convulsions. Poster Presentation.
  • Synapses: From Molecules to Circuits & Behavior Meeting, Cold Spring Harbor, NY Sherer, KR and Chung HJ (2011) The role of KCNQ channel trafficking in Benign Familial Neonatal Convulsions. Poster Presentation.
  • Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT Sherer, KR, Hajela, RK, and Atchison, WD (2010) Methylmercury-induced cytotoxicity in GFP-expressing neuronal cultures of Caenorhabditis elegans. Poster presentation.