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About Rodney DeKoter

Dr. Rodney DeKoter is a molecular biologist researching transcription factors and using various methods, including animal models, to better understand how genetic mutations can disrupt those transcription factors and subsequently cause immune system diseases.

Asset Map Keywords: Leukemia, Transcription Factors, and Gene Expression --> (see more)
Children's Health Collaboration: David Hess

The goal of our research is to identify genetic causes of diseases affecting the immune system, including primary immunodeficiency and leukemia. These diseases can be caused by mutation of genes encoding transcription factors. We are particularly interested in highly related transcription factors of the E26 transformation-specific (ETS) family called PU.1, Spi-B, and Spi-C. These proteins play diverse roles in regulating development and function of B lymphocytes and myeloid cells. We use a variety of methods to perform these studies including genetically modified mouse models, primary cell culture, chromatin immunoprecipitation, and gene expression analysis. Please follow the links to learn more about our current research activities.

Our research team currently includes two graduate students, one postdoctoral fellow, one research technician, three undergraduate students, and two high school students. Our laboratory regularly accepts undergraduates as summer students, honors thesis students, or scholars elective students. We are funded by operating grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada.

Dr. DeKoter is an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at Western University in London, Ontario. Dr. DeKoter is also a Scientist with the Division of Genetics & Development at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute in London, Ontario. Dr. DeKoter obtained Bachelors degrees from Redeemer College (1988) and Western University (1990) and a PhD degree in Microbiology & Immunology from Western University (1996). Dr. DeKoter was a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Harinder Singh, working at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Chicago from 1996-2001. He was an Assistant Professor of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry, and Microbiology at the University of Cincinnati (Ohio) from 2001-2009 before moving to Western University in 2009. Dr. DeKoter’s research program is focused on nuclear proteins called transcription factors, and how these proteins regulate gene expression, immune system development, and leukemia. This work is primarily done using mouse models. Dr. DeKoter’s research is funded by the CIHR, NSERC, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada.

Research Interest Area: Immune system/disorders; Genetics

Research Overview
The goal of Dr. DeKoter’s research is to identify genetic causes of diseases affecting the immune system, including primary immunodeficiency and leukemia. These diseases are rare but devastating since there are few treatment options.

Members of the lab are working to determine how mutation of genes encoding transcription factors contributes to B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia. His research team is working hard to develop new cutting-edge therapies to fight these diseases.

Keywords: Leukemia, Lymphoma, Transcription Factors, Gene Regulation, Immune System Development

Characterization of driver mutations in a mouse model of B-cell leukemia
We have developed a new mouse model of pediatric precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). Our goal is to identify mutations responsible for driving cancer development in these mice. This will be done by sequencing and comparing genomic DNA from leukemia cells and normal cells. We are confident that the scientific community will make use of this model to develop new molecular targeted approaches for treatment of leukemia.


Present Professor, Western University Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Present Professor, Western University Department of Oncology
Present Scientist, Lawson Health Research Institute ‐ Children's Health Research Institute (CHRI)


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Previous Publications (21)