Professor in Comparative Biosciences

4354B Veterinary Medicine Bldg

Research Interests:Hormonal Effects in Breast Cancer and Human Development. Prolactin and related hormones’ receptors, signaling and processing.

Dr. Schuler is a legacy faculty member of MET. Students interested in her research should consider that of Wei Xu and Vincent Cryns.


The Schuler laboratory is interested in the interactions of prolactin and related hormones with other growth factors and hormones at fetal and maternal targets during pregnancy. They have extended studies on the actions of prolactin in mammary alveolar development during pregnancy to its role in the development and progression of mammary cancer. Using a variety of in vitro models, they examine control of receptor expression including receptor internalization and linkage to signal transduction, cell specific target genes, and signaling pathways employed. They have developed transgenic mouse models using a non-hormonally responsive, mammary specific promoter in order to examine interactions on preneoplastic processes in vivo.

  • Barcus, C. E., Holt, E. C., Keely, P. J., Eliceiri, K. W., and Schuler, L. A. (2015) Dense Collagen-I Matrices Enhance Pro-Tumorigenic Estrogen-Prolactin Crosstalk in MCF-7 and T47D Breast Cancer Cells. PLoS One 10, e0116891.
  • O’Leary, K. A., Shea, M. P., and Schuler, L. A. (2015) Modeling prolactin actions in breast cancer in vivo: insights from the NRL-PRL mouse. Adv. Exp. Med. Biol. 846, 201–20.
  • Barcus, C. E., Keely, P. J., Eliceiri, K. W., and Schuler, L. A. (2013) Stiff collagen matrices increase tumorigenic prolactin signaling in breast cancer cells. J. Biol. Chem. 288, 12722–32.
  • O’Leary, K. A., Jallow, F., Rugowski, D. E., Sullivan, R., Sinkevicius, K. W., Greene, G. L., and Schuler, L. A. (2013) Prolactin activates ERα in the absence of ligand in female mammary development and carcinogenesis in vivo. Endocrinology 154, 4483–92.
  • Asher, J. M., O’Leary, K. A., Rugowski, D. E., Arendt, L. M., and Schuler, L. A. (2012) Prolactin promotes mammary pathogenesis independently from cyclin D1. Am. J. Pathol. 181, 294–302.
  • Arendt, L. M., Rugowski, D. E., Grafwallner-Huseth, T. A., Garcia-Barchino, M. J., Rui, H., and Schuler, L. A. (2011) Prolactin-induced mouse mammary carcinomas model estrogen resistant luminal breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res. 13, R11.
  • Carver, K.C., T.M. Piazza and L.A. Schuler. Prolactin enhances IGF-IR phosphorylation by decreasing its association with the tyrosine phosphatase SHP-2 in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. J. Biol. Chem. 285:8003-8012, 2010.
  • Hasen, N.S., K.A. O’Leary, A.P. Auger and L.A. Schuler. Social isolation impedes mammary development and reduces expression of epigenetic regulators in wild type and p53-heterozygotic mice. Cancer Prev Res 3:620-629, 2010.
  • Arendt, L.M., T.L. Grafwallner-Huseth, and L.A. Schuler. Prolactin and growth factor crosstalk reduces mammary estrogen responsiveness despite elevated ER expression. Am. J. Pathol. 174:1065-1074, 2009. PMCID: 2665765
  • Carver, K.C., L.M. Arendt and L.A. Schuler. Complex prolactin crosstalk in breast cancer: new therapeutic implications. Mol. Cell. Endocrinol. 307:1-7, 2009.
  • Gutzman, J.H., D.E. Rugowski, S.E. Nikolai, L.A. Schuler. Stat5 activation inhibits prolactin-induced AP-1 activity: distinct prolactin initiated signals in tumorigenesis dependent on cell context, Oncogene 26:6341-6348, 2007. PMCID: 17438530
Mentor to METC Graduate Students:
  • Michael Shea (Current).
  • Jennifer Gutzman (2004)