Photo of Kelly Jean Craig

Kelly Jean Craig

Assistant Professor of Biology

Contact Information

Wubben Hall and Science Center 211J



PhD, Georgetown University School of Medicine

BS, University of Kansas


Kelly Jean Craig, PhD, has been faculty at Colorado Mesa University since 2012. She completed her dissertation work in the gene expression unit at the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health studying mitochondrial dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases. Craig's areas of instruction at Colorado Mesa University include attributes of living systems, anatomy and physiology, developmental biology, human genetics, neuroscience and structured research.

According to Craig, "My energetic nature is contagious and students are transformed into fervent disciples of biology in my classroom and laboratory."

Craig's primary interest is the study of mitochondrial dysfunction and its contribution to the etiology of disease. Her research focuses on the role of the mitochondria in the pathophysiology of diseases, such as cancer and Parkinson's disease. Students in her lab gain experience in mammalian tissue culture, various staining techniques to visualize samples with confocal microscopy and protein chemistry methods, such as immunoprecipitation and western blotting.

Craig is the recipient of the BRAINS (Broadening the Representation of Academic Investigators in NeuroScience) fellowship and a lifetime fellow in the Keystone Symposia - both of which honor outstanding young academic investigators that demonstrate success in the training of underrepresented minority undergraduates in research. As a mitochondrial biologist, she was also deemed a United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation Mitochondrial Champion in 2011 to communicate current issues regarding mitochondrial diseases to the lay community to enhance education and funding for these disorders. She serves on planning committees of various professional membership societies such as the Keystone Symposia and the World Congress on Molecular and Cell Biology. Craig is also an academic reviewer for PLoS One, Journal of Neuroscience and Translational Medicine.

Selected Publications

Roberts ER and Thomas KJ. The role of mitochondria in the development and progression of lung cancer. Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal. 6(7): e201303019, 2013.

Thomas KJ and Jacobson MR. Defects in mitochondrial fission protein dynamin-related protein 1 are linked to apoptotic resistance and autophagy in a lung cancer model. PLoS One. 7(9): e45319, 2012.

Thomas KJ, McCoy M, Blackinton J, Beilina A, van der Brug M, Sandebring A, Miller D, Maric D, Cedazo-Mingues A, Cookson MR. DJ-1 acts in parallel to the PINK1/parkin pathway to control mitochondrial function and autophagy. Hum Mol Genet. 20(1): 40-50, 2011.

Thomas KJ and Cookson MR. The role of PTEN-induced kinase 1 in mitochondrial dysfunction and dynamics. Intl J Biochem and Cell Biol. 41(10): 2025-35, 2009.

Sandebring A, Dehvari N, Perez-Manso M, Thomas KJ, Karpilovski E, Cookson MR, Cowburn RF, Cedazo-Mínguez A. Parkin deficiency disrupts calcium homeostasis by modulating phospholipase C signaling. FEBS J. 276(18): 5041-52, 2009.