University of Hawai‘i at Manoa Homepage


Dana-Lynn T. Koomoa, PhD

Dana-Lynn T. Koomoa, PhD
  • Associate Member
    Cancer Biology Program
    University of Hawaii Cancer Center
  • Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Professor
    The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy
    Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
    University of Hawaii at Hilo


  • PhD, Biomedical Science, Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology
    Brown University
    Providence, RI
  • Postdoctoral Researcher
    The Queen's Medical Center
    Honolulu, HI
  • Postdoctoral Visiting Scholar
    Abramson Research Center
    University of Pennsylvania
    Philadelphia, PA
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship
    Cancer Biology Program
    University of Hawaii Cancer Center
    University of Hawaii

Research Focus

Dr. Koomoa's project involves elucidating the mechanisms that promote the progression of NB, and identifying novel targets for the development of more effective chemotherapeutic agents and treatment strategies for advanced stage, high-risk NB. Strikingly, the major event in cancer that causes lethality is not the primary tumor itself, but tumor progression to a more malignant state, which leads to metastasis. Calcium signaling is one of the major signaling pathways that guides cell proliferation, migration and invasion. Therefore, the main objective of this project is to understand the molecular mechanisms that lead to cancer-promoting calcium signaling and identify calcium-permeable channels and channel regulators that mediate these calcium signaling events.

Dr. Koomoa's research also involves elucidating the ion channel signaling in cancer drug resistance. The ability of tumor cells to acquire drug resistance over time is the primary cause of failure of chemotherapeutic treatment of most human tumors. This project focuses on deciphering the calcium signaling events that lead to acquisition of drug resistance. Calcium signaling between the plasma membrane, ER and mitochondria are being investigated in paired patient-derived post and pre relapse cancer cell lines. In addition, mRNA and protein expression profiles will be examined. The goals of this study are to elucidate the spatio-temporal development of calcium signaling that regulate apoptosis, changes in these signaling events that lead to acquired drug resistance, and identify molecular components that mediate the calcium signals.

Selected Publications

  • Beceiro S, Radin JN, Chatuvedi R, Piazuelo MB, Horvarth J, DCortado H, Gu Y, Dixon B, Gu C, Lange I, Koomoa DL, Wilson KT, Algood HM, Partida-Sánchez S. (2017). TRPM2 ion channels regulate macrophage polarization and gastric inflammation during Helicobacter pylori infection. Mucosal Immunol, 10 (2): 493-507.
  • Lange I, Moschny J, Tamanyan K, Khutsishvili M, Atha D, Borris RP, Koomoa DL. (2016). Scrophularia orientalis extract induces calcium signaling and apoptosis in Neuroblastoma cells, Int J Oncol, 48 (4): 1608-16.
  • Lange I, Moschny J, Kerimov VN, Khutsishvili M, Atha DE, Borris RP, Koomoa DL. (2015). Juniper extracts induce calcium signaling and apoptosis in neuroblastoma cells, Journal of Pharma and Pharmaceutical Sciences, (1): 1-7.
  • Shimoda LMN, Showman A, Baker JD, Lange I, Koomoa DL, Borris B, Turner H. (2015). Differential regulation of calcium signaling pathways by components of Piper methysticum ('Awa). Phytotherapy Res, 29 (4): 582-90.
  • Lange I, Koomoa DL. (2014). MycN promotes TRPM7 expression and cell migration in neuroblastoma through a process that involves polyamines. FEBS Open Bio, 4: 966-75.

Publication list via PubMed

Active Grants

  • D. Koomoa, Junior Investigator
    National Institute of General Medical Sciences, NIH (P20)
    P20GM 103466
    "MYCN promotes neuroblastoma cell migration: regulation of TRPM7 expression, channel activity and kinase cleavage"
    The objective of this project is to determine the regulation of TRPM7 expression by MYCN, and elucidate the mechanisms regulating TRPM7 channel activity, TRPM7 kinase activity and cleavage of the TRPM7 kinase.
  • D.L. Koomoa, PI
    Geist Foundation Medical Research Grant (Hawaii Community Foundation)
    "Investigating the anti-cancer effects of Hawaiian plant extracts"
    The objective of this grant is to examine the anti-cancer effects of Hawaiian medicinal plant extracts, and to elucidate the mechanism by which these extracts exert their anti-cancer effects in Neuroblastoma.
  • D.L. Koomoa-Lange, Co-PI; Helen Turner, PI, Chaminade University)
    National Science Foundation Improving Undergraduate STEM Education
    "Engaged Student Learning at the Design and Development Level I"
    This Design and Development Level I project will address the I-USE aims of improving STEM-learning environments, broadening participation and building a professional STEM workforce for tomorrow.

Recently Completed Grants

  • D. Koomoa, PI
    NCI Mentored Research Scientist Development Award to Promote Diversity (K01)
    "MYCN-induced calcium and magnesium signaling regulates Neuroblastoma"
    The objectives of this grant are to examine the mechanisms by which calcium and magnesium regulates Neuroblastoma migration and invasion, and to determine the molecular identity of the proteins involved in these processes.