Photo of Kimberly L. Dodge-Kafka, Ph.D.

Kimberly L. Dodge-Kafka, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Cell Biology
Calhoun Cardiology Center
Director, MD/PhD combined degree program
Academic Office Location:
Cell Biology
UConn Health
263 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, CT 06030
Phone: 860-679-2452
Fax: 860-679-1426

Cell Biology Graduate Program

Molecular Biology & Biochemistry Graduate Program

B.S.Texas A&M UniversityZoology
Ph.D.University of Texas Health Science CenterSignal Transduction

Post-Graduate Training
PostdoctoralHoward Hughes Medical Institute, Vollum Institute, Oregon Health and Science UniversityPostdoctoral work in the laboratory of Dr. John D. Scott, Ph. D., FRS. Research focused on defining the function of the mAKAP complex in the heart.

Name of Award/HonorAwarding Organization
Osborn Award for Excellence in Graduate School TeachingUCHC
Name & DescriptionCategoryRoleTypeScopeStart YearEnd Year
Faculty Recruitment Committee for Calhoun Cardiology CenterAdvisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity20222022
NIH CSR Special Emphasis Panel, Fellowship: Cell Biology, Developmental Biology, and BioengineeringStudy SectionmemberExternalNational2020
Co-Director of MD/PhD committeeEducation CommitteeUniversity2017
Molecular and Integrative Signal Transduction Study SectionStudy SectionAd HocExternalNational20172017
PhD admissions CommitteeEducation CommitteeChairUConn HealthInternational20152016
First Year Advisor for graduate studentsAdvisory CommitteememberUConn HealthUniversity20152019
MD/PhD Sterling CommitteeEducation CommitteememberUConn HealthUniversity2015
Biomedical Sciences Curriculum CommitteeEducation CommitteememberUConn HealthLocal2014
Academic Advancement CommitteeEducation CommitteememberUConn HealthLocal2014
Chair-Committee for Biomedical Science representation at the Connecticut Science Festival OtherChairUConn HealthLocal20132014
Advisory Board for the Center for Cell Analysis and ModelingAdvisory CommitteeUConn HealthLocal2013
Graduate Faculty CommitteeEducation CommitteeUConn-StorrsState2013
Medical Research Council, EnglandProfessional/Scientific OrganizationAd Hoc Grant Reviewer ExternalInternational20102010
Search Committee for Associate Dean of the Graduate SchoolAdvisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity20102010
MMSB Strategic Planning committeeAdvisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity2009
Member-American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Study SectionMemberExternalNational2007
Co-chair for the organization of a student/post-doctoral retreat at the yearly meetings. This retreat will be held before the annual meeting to allow for additional training and socialization of the students and post-doctorate fellows. Professional/Scientific OrganizationCo-ChairExternalUniversity2007
United States – Israel Binational Science FoundationProfessional/Scientific OrganizationAd Hoc Grant Reviewer ExternalInternational20072007
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyProfessional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalNational2007
Circulation Research Professional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational2006
Calhoun Cardiology Center/CVB yearly retreatAdvisory CommitteeOrganizerUConn HealthUniversity20062007
Journal of Biological Chemistry Professional/Scientific JournalReviewerNational2005
American Heart AssociationProfessional/Scientific OrganizationGrant ReviewerExternalNational2005
Faculty Recruitment Committee for MMSBAdvisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity20052005
American Heart Association Professional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalNational2003
American Heart Association Professional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalNational2003
Journal Club for Calhoun Cardiology CenterProfessional/Scientific OrganizationDirectorUConn HealthUniversity20032010
Molecular PharmacologyProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Journal of Molecular SignalingProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Proceeding of the National Academy of SciencesProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
British Journal of PharmacologyProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
BMC Evolutionary BiologyProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
NIH: Molecular and Integrative Signal TransductionStudy SectionExternalNational

The second messenger cAMP plays a pivotal role in the regulation of many biological processes in the heart, including calcium dynamics, contraction, and gene transcription. With an increasing number of hormones that stimulate cAMP production as well as the identification of a multitude of targets for cAMP-mediated pathways, an intriguing yet complicated question is how specificity of signaling is ensured? In other words, how does a particular hormone regulate a specific phosphorylation event when it acts via a common second messenger? The identification of scaffolding proteins that link upstream activators with their downstream targets has provided a molecular framework that allows for compartmentation of cAMP signaling pathways as well as the orchestration of spatial-temporal control over phosphorylation events.

A-Kinase Anchoring Proteins (AKAPs) are prototypical examples of scaffolding proteins that direct cAMP-responsive events while coordinating the activity of multiple signaling enzymes. AKAPs bind the regulatory subunit of the cAMP-dependent protein kinase and localize the enzyme to discrete locations within the cell. Additionally, AKAPs coordinate multiple signaling pathways through the anchoring of additional signaling enzymes such as phosphatases, phosphodiesterases, and other kinases.

My research focus is the understanding of how the specific subcellular localization of signaling enzymes regulates cardiac physiology. In particular, we have characterized a scaffolding protein termed mAKAP and demonstrated its association with several signaling enzymes including the protein phosphatase PP2A, the phosphodiesterase PDE4D3, the cAMP-dependent protein kinase PKA, the Big Map Kinase ERK5, and the transcription factor MEF2D. Furthermore, we have demonstrated how association with the complex regulates the activities of ERK5, PDE4D3 and PP2A. We are now investigating the contribution of these mAKAP-bound enzymes for the induction of cardiac hypertrophy.

Accepting Lab Rotation Students: Fall 2022 and Spring 2023

Lab Rotation Projects
The research focus of the Dodge-Kafka laboratory is the understanding of how the specific subcellular localization of signaling enzymes regulates cardiac physiology and induction of cardiac disease. We use a variety of techniques including luciferase assays, kinase/phosphodiesterase/phosphatase assays, transfections, DNA manipulation, construction of adenoviral vectors, co-immunoprecipitations, signal cell siRNA, site-directed mutagenesis, and primary cell culture. Rotations in the lab include:

--Examining the molecular mechanisms that activate the transcription factors involved in the induction of cardiac disease
--Molecular characterization of AKAP signaling complexes
--Determining the molecular architecture of cAMP signaling domains in the heart

Other projects available and can be discussed depending on student’s interests.

Journal Articles



Title or AbstractTypeSponsor/EventDate/YearLocation
mAKAP: a master regulator of cardiac hypertrophy.LectureJohns Hopkins2019Baltimore, MD
Regulation of Cardiac Hypertrophy by the A-Kinase Anchoring protein mAKAPbLecture2018SUNY Polytechnic Institute
Title: mAKAP: a master regulator of cardiac hypertrophy.LectureGordon Research Conference, Cardiac Regulatory Mechanisms2018Colby Sawyer College
mAKAP: a master regulator of cardiac hypertrophy.LectureAmerican Heart Association, BCVS2018San Antonio, TX
mAKAP: a master regulator of cardiac hypertrophy.LectureAmerican Heart Association, BCVS2018San Antonio, TX
mAKAP: a master regulator of cardiac hypertrophyTalkUniversity of California-Davis, Department of Pharmacology2017Davis, CA
mAKAP: a master regulator of cardiac hypertrophyTalkCentre for Molecular Medicine, University of Oslo2017Oslo, Norway
Scaffold state-switching amplifies, accelerates and insulates PKC singalingTalkForth International Meeting on Anchored cAMP Signaling Pathways2013Boulder, Colorado
AKAPs as coordinators of GPCR signalingTalkEndocrine Society forum on G-Protein Coupled Receptors2012Houston TX
AKAP/phosphatase signaling complexesTalkColumbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Department of Pharmacology2011New York City, NY
AKAP/phosphatase signaling complexesTalkThird International Meeting on Anchored cAMP Signaling Pathways2010Oslo, Norway
AKAP/Phosphatase signaling complexesTalkUniversity of South Alabama, Department of Biochemistry2009Mobile, AL
Molecular Mechanisms of cAMP Micro-Domains TalkInternational meeting on Signaling in the Cardiovascular System2008Hyannis, MA
AKAP signaling complexes TalkSecond International Meeting on Anchored cAMP Signaling Pathways2007Portland, OR
Molecular Mechanisms of cAMP Micro-Domains TalkThe Endocrine Society2006Boston, MA
Molecular Mechanisms of cAMP Micro-Domains TalkGordon Research Conference2006Biddeford, ME
mAKAP co-ordinated signaling pathways in the heart. TalkUniversity of Connecticut Health Center2006Farmington, CT
mAKAP co-ordinated signaling pathways in the heart TalkUniversity of Connecticut Dept of Physiology and Neuroscience2005Storrs, CT
mAKAP co-ordinated signaling pathways in the heart TalkFirst International Meeting on Anchored cAMP Signaling Pathways2005Berlin, Germany
mAKAP co-ordinated signaling pathways in the heart TalkColorado State University2004Fort Collins, CO