MSTP Student, Molecular & Cellular Biology
1035 Medical Laboratories
500 Newton Rd
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242-1109


BS, Nutritional Science, Iowa State University
MS in Pathology, University of Iowa


I fear ever leaving the state of Iowa, completing my BS in Nutritional Science after serving in the United States Marine Corps. I then pursued a MS in Pathology at the University of Iowa. I had such a blast in the lab of Weizhou Zhang, I decided to spend the next 7-8 years here while I went through the combined MD/PhD program. In my free time I like to walk my dog, read, and play the harmonica.

Research Interests

Breast cancer is the second most prevalent type of cancer worldwide with nearly 1.7 million new cases and greater than 500,000 deaths per year. In the United States, 3 million women are living with breast cancer, representing a significant burden of disease. My research examines how noncnonical WNT signaling participates in tumor initiation and progression. With the examination of initiation, we hope to better understand the cells of the mammary gland that are responsible for breast tumors, in addition to the paracrine regulation of tumor initiation. In contrast, we have found that noncanonical WNT receptors may participate in metastatic programming and represent ideal targets for therapy, as they are oncofetal antigens.


  1. Schaefer, K., Toral, M., Velez, G., Cox, A., Baker, S., Borcherding, N., Colgan, D., Bondada, V., Mashburn, C., Yu, C., Geddes, J., Tsang, S., Bassuk, A., Mahajan, V. (2016). Calpain-5 expression in the retina localizes to photoreceptor synapses. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 57(6), 2509-21. PMID: 27152965
  2. Kusner, D.*, Borcherding, N.*, Zhang, W. (2016) Paracrine WNT5A signaling in the mammary healthy and neoplastic mammary tissue. Molecular & Cellular Oncology 3.1: e1040145. *co-primary author
  3. Borcherding, N., Bormann, N., Kusner, D., Kolb R., Zhang, W. (2015) Transcriptome analysis of basal and luminal tumor-initiating cells in ErbB2-driven breast cancer. Genomic Data 4, 119-122. PMID: 26167451
  4. Mahauad-Fernandez, W. D.*, Borcherding, N. C.*, Zhang, W., & Okeoma, C. M. (2015). Bone Marrow Stromal Antigen 2 (BST-2) DNA Is Demethylated in Breast Tumors and Breast Cancer Cells. PLoS One, 10(4), e0123931. PMID: 25393878. *co-primary authors
  5. Borcherding, N., Kusner, D., Kolb, R., Xie, Q., Li, W., Yuan, F., Velez, G., Askeland, R., Weigel, R. J., Zhang, W. (2015). Paracrine WNT5A Signaling Inhibits Expansion of Tumor-Initiating Cells. Cancer Res, 75(10), 1972-1982. PMID: 25769722
  6. Reed, S. M., Hagen, J., Muniz, V. P., Rosean, T. R., Borcherding, N., Sciegienka, S., Goeken, J.A., Naumann, P.W., Zhang, W., Tompkins, V. S., Janz, S., Meyerholz, D. K., & Quelle, D. E. (2014). NIAM-deficient mice are predisposed to the development of proliferative lesions including B-cell lymphomas. PLoS One, 9(11), e112126. PMID: 25393878
  7. Xie, Q., Klesney-Tait, J., Keck, K., Parlet, C., Borcherding, N., Kolb, R., Li, W., Tygrett, L., Waldschmidt, T., Olivier, A., Chen, S., Liu, G. H., Li, X., & Zhang, W. (2015). Characterization of a novel mouse model with genetic deletion of CD177. Protein Cell, 6(2), 117-126. PMID: 25359465
  8. Wu, X., Zhang, W., Font-Burgada, J., Palmer, T., Hamil, A. S., Biswas, S. K., Poidinger, M., Borcherding, N., Xie, Q., Ellies, L. G., Ltyle, N. K., Wu, L. W., Fox, R. G., Yang, J., Dowdy, S. F., Reya, T., & Karin, M. (2014). Ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme Ubc13 controls breast cancer metastasis through a TAK1-p38 MAP kinase cascade. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 111(38), 13870-13875. PMID: 25189770
  9. Borcherding, N., Kusner, D., Liu, G. H., & Zhang, W. (2014). ROR1, an embryonic protein with an emerging role in cancer biology. Protein Cell, 5(7), 496-502. PMID: 24752542
  10. Zhang, W., Tan, W., Wu, X., Poustovoitov, M., Strasner, A., Li, W., Borcherding, N., Ghassemian, M., & Karin, M. (2013). A NIK-IKKalpha module expands ErbB2-induced tumor-initiating cells by stimulating nuclear export of p27/Kip1. Cancer Cell, 23(5), 647-659. PMID: 23602409
  11. Smazal, A. L.*, Borcherding, N. C.*, Anderegg, A. S., Schalinske, K. L., Whitley, E. M., & Rowling, M. J. (2013). Dietary resistant starch prevents urinary excretion of 25-hydroxycholecalciferol and vitamin D-binding protein in type 1 diabetic rats. J Nutr, 143(7), 1123-1128. PMID: 23677864. *co-primary authors