Medicine Experts

Deborah Wood Neklason

Department of Internal Medicine
Huntsman Cancer Institute
United States of America


Deborah Neklason, PhD, is a member of Huntsman Cancer Institute's colon cancer research team and research associate professor in the Department of Oncological Sciences at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She is also a member of the Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program.Neklason's works focuses on the genetic basis of inherited forms of colon cancer. Scientists have identified the genes that account for about five percent of inherited cancer cases. The goal of Huntsman Cancer Institute's colon cancer research is to find the genes that lead to the rest of the cases and to identify targets for chemoprevention.Neklason coordinates clinical and basic research projects originating from the Familial Colon Cancer Clinic. This clinic is for patients and family members who are at risk for inherited colon cancers. She is working to identify genes responsible for cancer in these families and to characterize the molecular consequences of the genetic mutations. She is also involved in the "Sibling Pair Project," which is the largest search ever launched for brothers and/or sisters with a common colon cancer gene. In this study, Huntsman Cancer Institute collaborates with 20 other major cancer centers in the United States to identify multiple genes that cause a predisposition to cancer.Prior to joining Huntsman Cancer Institute, Neklason was manager for biochemical assay products at Echelon Biosciences in Salt Lake City. She received her PhD in human genetics from the University of Utah in 1999.

Research Interest

Genetics Colon Cancer


  • Neklason DW, Done MW, Sargent NR, Schwartz AG, Anton-Culver H, Griffin CA, Ahnen DJ, Schildkraut JM, Tomlinson GE, Strong LC, Miller AR, Stopfer JE, Burt RW (2011). Activating mutation in MET oncogene in familial colorectal cancer. BMC Cancer, 11, 424.

  • Huff CD, Witherspoon DJ, Simonson TS, Xing J, Watkins WS, Zhang Y, Tuohy TM, Neklason DW, Burt RW, Guthery SL, Woodward SR, Jorde LB (2011). Maximum-likelihood estimation of recent shared ancestry (ERSA). Genome Res, 21(5), 768-74.

  • Knight S, Abo RP, Abel HJ, Neklason DW, Tuohy TM, Burt RW, Thomas A, Camp NJ (2012). Shared genomic segment analysis: the power to find rare disease variants. Ann Hum Genet, 76(6), 500-9.

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