Lynne T. Bemis, PhD

Lynne T. Bemis

Department of Biomedical Sciences
1035 University Drive
223 SMed
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States


Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences

Co-Director, Native American Mentoring Program

Postdoctoral Fellow, AMC Cancer Research Center, Molecular Oncology

Ph.D. Biochemistry, University of New Hampshire

B.S., Biology, University of New Hampshire

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Awards & Recognition

  • Innovations in Science Award UMN School of Medicine, 2015
    University of Minnesota Medical School
  • Team Science Research Award, Biomedical Sciences, 2014 
    University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth Campus
  • Cole Family Research Award, 2012

Professional Associations


Research Summary/Interests

The complex role of extracellular RNA (exRNA) in health and disease is just beginning to be elucidated. Previously it was thought that RNA molecules could not s urvive in the circulation or in extracellular locations. However, with improved methods for detecting small RNAs, it has become clear that microRNAs and other small RNA molecules exist in all biological fluids and are expected to play a role very much like cytokines thereby regulating many events in both health and disease. My research focus includes projects on identifying novel RNA molecules as biomarkers for earlier cancer detection, specifically in ovarian cancer. We have identified tRNA fragments in the urine of ovarian cancer patients and are currently exploring the role of these molecules in ovarian cancer cells and determining their ability to distinguish advanced stage ovarian cancer patients from less aggressive disease. In addition, we are developing novel molecular methods to study tRNA fragments (tRFs). These are “fragments that function” and are difficult to study with current methodology because they are a part of a mature tRNA. They are actively processed from mature tRNAs and may have many functions, although the function that we have confirmed, is much like a microRNA. We have shown that a specific tRF, tRF5-Glu is capable of binding to the BCAR3 (breast cancer anti-estrogen) mRNA and blocking expression. Another aspect of extracellular RNA that we study is the mode of their extracellular transport. We have developed a novel method to pull various small noncoding RNAs out from the media, once the media is depleted of a specific noncoding RNA it is possible to study the loss of that RNA molecule on cells grown in hanging drop cultures. In addition, to our work in cancer biology, we are also interested in the role of small RNAs in infectious disease. We are currently studying small RNAs expressed in patients with Lyme disease and in animal models. The field of small RNAs is rapidly expanding and we expect to continue these studies in additional disease sites and processes.


Patents Methods and Compositions for Treating Cancer (Patent Issued No. 60/954,981) (Bemis LT Inventor)


See full list of publication at: PubMed

1. Zhou K, Diebel KW, Holy J, Skildum A, Odean E, Hicks DA, Schotl B, Abrahante JE, Spillman MA and Bemis LT. A tRNA Fragment, tRF5-Glu, Regulates BCAR3 Expression and Proliferation in Ovarian Cancer Cells. Oncotarget. 2017; in press

2. Zhou K, Spillman MA, Behbakht K, Komatsua JM, Abrahante JE, Hicks DA, Schotl B, Odean E, Jones KL, Graner MW, Bemis LT. A Method for Extracting and Characterizing RNA from Urine: for downstream PCR and RNAseq Analysis. Analytical Biochemistry. 2017; in press.

3. Graner AN, Hellwinkel JE, Lencioni AM, Madsen HJ, Harland TA, Marchando P, Nguyen GJ, Wang M, Russell LM, Bemis LT, Anchordoquy TJ, Graner MW.HSP90 inhibitors in the context of heat shock and the unfolded protein response: effects on a primary canine pulmonary adenocarcinoma cell line. Int J Hyperthermia. 2016;20:1-15. PMID:27829290

4. Regal JF, Strehlke ME, Peterson JM, Wing CR, Parker JE, Nieto NF, Bemis LT, Gilbert JS, Fleming SD. Role of IgM and angiotensin II Type I receptor autoantibodies in local complement activation in placental ischemia-induced hypertension in the rat. Mol Immunol. 2016;78:38-47. PMID:27588825

5. Seifert VA, Clarke BL, Crossland JP, Bemis LT. A method to distinguish morphologically similar Peromyscus species using extracellular RNA and high-resolution melt analysis. Analytical Biochemistry. 2016:508:65-72. PMID:27349513

6. Mayasich SA, Bemis LT, Clarke BL. DNA methylation in a sea lamprey vasotocin receptor gene promoter correlates with tissue- and life stage-specific mRNA expression. Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 2016. 2016;202:56-66. PMID: 27497665

7. Diebel KW, Zhou K, Clarke AB, Bemis LT. Beyond the Ribosome: Extra-translational Functions of tRNAs in Cancer. Biomarker Insights 2016:11(S1) 1-8. PMID:26843810

8. Wolyniak MJ, Bemis LT, Prunuske AJ. Improving medical students' knowledge of genetic disease: a review of current and emerging pedagogical practices. Adv Med Educ Pract. 2015;6:597-607. PMID: 26604852

9. Hatzel JN, Bouma GJ, Cleys ER, Bemis LT, Ehrhart EJ, McCue PM. Identification of heat shock protein 10 within the equine embryo, endometrium, and maternal peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Theriogenology. 2015. 83(5):832-9. PMID:25542459

10. Ru Yuanbin, Kechris, Katerina, Tabakoff, Boris, Hoffman, Paula, Radcliffe, Richard, Bowler, Russell, Rossi, Simona, Calin, George, Bemis, Lynne, Theodorescu, Dan. The multiMiR R package: Integration of microRNA-target interactions along with their disease and drug associations Nucleic Acids Res. 2014;42(17):e133. PMID:25063298

11. Donson AM, Kleinschmidt-DeMasters BK, Aisner DL, Bemis LT, Birks DK, Levy JM, Smith AA, Handler MH, Foreman NK, Rush SZ. Pediatric Brainstem Gangliogliomas Show BRAF(V600E) Mutation in a High Percentage of Cases. Brain Pathol. 2014;24(2):173-83. PMCID: PMC4025990

12. Bennett PE, Bemis L, Norris DA, Shellman YG. miR in Melanoma Development: MiRNAs and Acquired Hallmarks of Cancer in Melanoma. Physiol Genomics Physiol Genomics. 2013; 45(22):1049-59. PMCID: PMC4596730

13. Kenneth W. Witwer, Edit I. Buzás, Lynne T. Bemis, Adriana Bora, Cecilia Lässer, Jan Lötvall, Esther N. Nolte-‘t Hoen, Melissa G. Piper, Sarada Sivaraman, Johan Skog, Clotilde Théry, Marca H. Wauben, Fred Hochberg. Standardization of sample collection, isolation and analysis methods in extracellular vesicle research. Journal of Extracellular Vesicles 2013, 2: 20360. PMCID:PMC3760646

14. Epple LM, Bemis LT, Cavanaugh RP, Skope A, Mayer-Sonnenfeld T, Frank C, Olver CS, Lencioni AM, Dusto NL, Tal A, Har-Noy M, Lillehei KO, Katsanis E, Graner MW. Prolonged remission of advanced bronchoalveolar adenocarcinoma in a dog treated with autologous, tumour-derived chaperone-rich cell lysate (CRCL) vaccine. Int J Hyperthermia. 2013 Aug;29(5):390-8. PMID:23786302

15. Walter ND, Bemis L, Edwards M, Ovrutsky AR, Chan ED. Need for rigor in design, reporting, and interpretation of transcriptomic biomarker studies. J Clin Microbiol. 2012 50(12):4190-1.

16. Xiaoping Y, Bemis LT, Su L-J, Gao D, Flaig TW. miR-125b Regulation of Androgen Receptor Signaling Via Modulation of the Receptor Complex Co-Repressor NCOR2. BioResearch Open Access 2012

1(2):55-62. DOI: 10.1089/biores.2012.9903

17. Reuland S, Smith S, Bemis LT, et al, MicroRNA-26a is Strongly Down-regulated in Melanoma and Induces Cell Death through Repression of Silencer of Death Domains (SODD) J Invest Dermatol. 2012 Nov 29. doi: 10.1038/jid.2012.400.

18. Epple LM, Griffiths SG, Dechkovskaia AM, Dusto NL, White J, Ouellette RJ, Anchordoquy TJ, Bemis LT, Graner MW. Medulloblastoma exosome proteomics yield functional roles for extracellular vesicles. PLoS One. 2012;7(7): e42064

19. Macy ME, Birks DK, Barton VN, Chan MH, Donson AM, Kleinschmidt-Demasters BK, Bemis LT, Handler MH, Foreman NK. Clinical and molecular characteristics of congenital glioblastoma. Neuro Oncol. 2012. 14(7):931-41.

20. Arcaroli JJ, Quackenbush KS, Powell RW, Pitts TM, Spreafico A, Varella-Garcia M, Bemis L, Tan AC, Reinemann JM, Touban BM, Dasari A, Eckhardt SG, Messersmith WA. Common PIK3CA mutants and a novel 3' UTR mutation are associated with increased sensitivity to saracatinib. Clin Cancer Res. 2012. 18(9):2704-14.

21. Xiong Y, Li Z, Ji M, Tan AC, Bemis J, Tse JV, Huang G, Park J, Ji C, Chen J, Bemis LT, Bunting KD, Tse W. MIR29B regulates expression of MLLT11 (AF1Q), an MLL fusion partner, and low MIR29B expression associates with adverse cytogenetics and poor overall survival in AML. Br J Haematol. 2011;153(6):753-7.

22. Seelenfreund E, Robinson SE, Amato CM, Bemis LT, Robinson WA. Recovery of MicroRNA from Stored Human Peripheral Blood Samples. Biopreserv Biobank. 2011 Mar;9(1):29-33

23. Deng Y, Deng H, Bi F, Liu J, Bemis LT, Norris D, Wang XJ, Zhang Q. MicroRNA-137 targets carboxyl-terminal binding protein 1 in melanoma cell lines. Int J Biol Sci. 2011;7(1):133-7.

24. Pillai MM, Yang X, Balakrishnan I, Bemis L, Torok-Storb B, MiR-886-3p Down Regulates CXCL12 (SDF1) Expression in Human Marrow Stromal Cells. PLoS One. 2010; 5(12): e14304. PMID: 21179442

25. Franklin WA, Haney J, Sugita M, Bemis L, Jimeno A, Messersmith WA. KRAS mutation: comparison of testing methods and tissue sampling techniques in colon cancer. J Mol Diagn. 2010 Jan;12(1):43-50.

26. Flaig TW, Su LJ, McCoach C, Li Y, Raben D, Varella-Garcia M, Bemis LT. Dual epidermal growth factor receptor and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor inhibition with vandetanib sensitizes bladder cancer cells to cisplatin in a dose- and sequence-dependent manner.BJU Int. 2009 Jun;103(12):1729-37.

27. Bemis, L.T., Chen,R., Amato,C.M., Robinson,S.E., Classen,E.H., Coffey,D.G., Erickson,P.F. and Robinson,W.A. MicroRNA-137 Targets Microphthalmia-associated Transcription Factor (MITF) Expression in Melanoma Cell Lines. Cancer Res. 2008 68(5):1362-8.

28. Chen RW, Bemis LT, Amato CM, Myint H, Tran H, Birks DK, Eckhardt SG, Robinson WA. Truncation in CCND1 mRNA alters miR-16-1 regulation in mantle cell lymphoma. Blood. 2008 .112(3):822-9

29. Weiss GJ, Bemis LT, Nakajima, E, Sugita M, Birks, DK, Robinson WA, Varella-Garcia, M, Bunn PA, Haney J, Helfrich BA, Kato H, Hirsch FR, and Franklin WA. EGFR Regulation by MicroRNA in Lung Cancer: Correlation with Clinical Response and Survival to Gefitinib and EGFR Expression in Cell Lines. Ann Oncol. 2008; 19:1053-9.

30. Hirsch FR, Varella-Garcia M, Cappuzzo F, McCoy J, Bemis L, Xavier AC, Dziadziuszko R, Gumerlock P, Chansky K, West H, Gazdar AF, Crino L, Gandara DR, Franklin WA, Bunn PA Jr. Combination of EGFR gene copy number and protein expression predicts outcome for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer patients treated with gefitinib. Ann Oncol. (2007) 18(4):752-60.


Teaching Areas

My teaching expertise for medical students includes molecular genetics, precision medicine, health disparities, cancer biology, biochemistry and basic science concepts. I am the Course Director for the elective course for Graduate Students and Medical Students Journal Club and I am teaching faculty in the GENA curriculum.

Mentoring/Advising: undergraduate, graduate students, medical students and faculty