Deborah Wood Neklason, PhD

Research Interests

  • Genetics Colon Cancer


Lab Website


  • English

Academic Information

  • Departments: Internal Medicine - Research Associate Professor, Oncological Sciences - Adjunct Associate Professor
  • Divisions: Epidemiology
  • Cancer Center Programs: Cancer Control & Population Sciences

Academic Office Information

  • 801-587-9882
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute
    2000 Circle of Hope
    Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Academic Bio

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.

Education History

Type School Degree
Doctoral Training University of Utah, Department of Human Genetics, Laboratory of James Metherall, Ph.D
Human Genetics
Other Training University of Utah, Department of Continuing Education
Management Certificate Program
Undergraduate University of Washington

Selected Publications

Journal Article

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Jasperson KW, Vu TM, Schwab AL, Neklason DW, Rodriguez-Bigas MA, Burt RW, Weitzel JN (2010). Evaluating Lynch syndrome in very early onset colorectal cancer probands without apparent polyposis. Fam Cancer, 9(2), 99-107.
  5. Tuohy TM, Done MW, Lewandowski MS, Shires PM, Saraiya DS, Huang SC, Neklason DW, Burt RW (2010). Large intron 14 rearrangement in APC results in splice defect and attenuated FAP. Hum Genet, 127(3), 359-69.
  6. Neklason DW, Tuohy TM, Stevens J, Otterud B, Baird L, Kerber RA, Samowitz WS, Kuwada SK, Leppert MF, Burt RW (2010). Colorectal adenomas and cancer link to chromosome 13q22.1-13q31.3 in a large family with excess colorectal cancer. J Med Genet, 47(10), 692-9.
  7. Tsai IC, Woolf M, Neklason DW, Branford WW, Yost HJ, Burt RW, Virshup DM (2007). Disease-associated casein kinase I delta mutation may promote adenomatous polyps formation via a Wnt/beta-catenin independent mechanism. Int J Cancer, 120(5), 1005-12.
  8. Kerber RA, Neklason DW, Samowitz WS, Burt RW (2005). Frequency of familial colon cancer and hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome) in a large population database. Fam Cancer, 4(3), 239-44.
  9. Neklason DW, Solomon CH, Dalton AL, Kuwada SK, Burt RW (2004). Intron 4 mutation in APC gene results in splice defect and attenuated FAP phenotype. Fam Cancer, 3(1), 35-40.


  1. Jasperson KW, Tuohy TM, Neklason DW, Burt RW (2010). Hereditary and familial colon cancer. [Review]. Gastroenterology, 138(6), 2044-58.


  1. Neklason, DW, Kerber, R, Nilson, D, Mineau, G, Burt, RW (2006). Common familial colorectal cancer linked to chromosome 7q32.33: a sibpair study [Abstract]. Hereditary Cancer in Clinical Practice.


Huntsman Cancer Institute News