Allison Jablonski, PhD

Professor of Biology and Biomedical Science
Chair, Biomedical Science Department

Degrees and Certifications

  • BS, Biology, The College of William and Mary, 1986
  • Graduate Studies in Zoology, North Carolina State University, 1988-1990
  • PhD, Human Genetics, Medical College of Virginia / Virginia Commonwealth University, 1995


After my graduate work at the Medical College of Virginia, I moved to Charlottesville for a postdoctoral fellowship in the Cancer Center at the University of Virginia. My cross-training there involved research in the signal transduction and cell biology of breast cancer. My teaching experience includes teaching medical and dental students at MCV/VCU, and undergraduate biology at Piedmont Virginia Community College in Charlottesville.

Teaching Areas

  • Introductory Biology (majors and non-majors)
  • Molecular Cell Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Biology
  • Forensic Science

Professional Interests/Research

My research interests stem from both my graduate work, my postdoctoral fellowship, and personal experience. In graduate school, I worked on transcriptional control of a gene involved in signal transduction, Gai2. I was able to characterize some of the transcription factors involved in the negative regulation of this gene. In my postdoctoral work at UVA, I studied the expression of HER2/neu, a membrane receptor involved in the genesis of human breast tumors. Currently, I am interested in determining how HER2/neu is turned on and off, and why it is overexpressed in breast tumors. This project involves DNA and protein analysis, and how DNA interacts with proteins in the nucleus of breast cancer cells. Breast cancer research is vital and exciting, and is necessary for the effective treatment of women affected with this disease. New techniques in my lab involve the use of siRNA (small interfering RNA) in an effort to prevent production HER2/neu in breast tumor cells.

Another project in my lab examines protein phosphorylation in liver cells after Franciscella tularensisinfection, a species of bacteria which have great potential to be used as a biothreat agent. We are looking at changes occurring in infected cells, such as apoptosis, cytokine production, and changes in intracellular signaling.

Selected examples of my work (asterisks indicate undergraduate contributors):

  • Ripperger, S.*, Moorman, K.*, Kaase, T.*, and Belsches-Jablonski, A. 2010. The Knock-Out: Silencing the HER2/neu Signaling Pathway Using Small-Interfering RNA. Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference of Undergraduate Scholarship, Radford University, Radford, Va.
  • Pritchard, J., Belsches-Jablonski, A.P., and S.J. Parsons. 2009. Convergence of Src and EGFR Receptor Signaling Networks. In "EGFR Signaling Networks in Cancer Therapy," New York: Humana Press.
  • Belsches-Jablonski, A.P., S. Pylypko, Y.U. Taylor and M.L. van Hoek. 2006. Infection of Hepatocyte and Non-Hepatocyte Cells by Francisella. Virginia Academy of Science, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.
  • Belsches-Jablonski, A.P., Demory, M.L., Parsons, J.T. and S.J. Parsons. 2005. Targeted Therapies: The Src Pathway as a Therapeutic Strategy. Drug Discovery Today: Therapeutic Strategies. Vol. 2.
  • Monique van Hoek, Debra Anderson, Anne Pingitore, Pavel Vasioutovitch,* Megan Schaffner,* Koryn Johnston,* Allison Jablonski. 2005. Infection of Mammalian Hepatocytes by Francisella tularensis LVS. American Society of Microbiology Biodefense Annual Meeting.
  • Bode, C.J. and A.B. Jablonski. 2003. A RIGOROUS INVESTIGATION: When Rigor Mortis Sets In. A Case Study on the Relationships Between Cellular Respiration, Muscle Contraction and Rigor Mortis. The National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science Case Collection web site:
  • Belsches-Jablonski, A.P., Biscardi, J.S., Tice, D.A., Romney, D.A., Peavy, D.R. and S.J. Parsons. 2001. Src family kinases and HER2 interactions in human breast cancer cell growth and survival. Oncogene 20:1465-75.

Professional Associations and Affiliations

  • American Society for Microbiology
  • American Association for Cancer Research
  • Virginia Academy of Science
  • National Science Teachers Association
Allison Jablonski