Lisa Arendt

Department of Comparative Biosciences
Office: 4354A

Lisa Arendt

Titles and Education

  1. PhD, Cellular and Molecular Biology Training Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2007
  2. DVM, University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Veterinary Medicine, 2002
  3. BS, Genetics, College of Agriculture and Life Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1998



Over two thirds of the population of the United States is considered to be overweight or obese.  Obesity has been shown to contribute to the increased risk for multiple different types of cancer, including postmenopausal breast cancer.  Regardless of menopausal status, obese women who develop breast cancer have tumors that are larger at the time of diagnosis and increased risk of metastasis.  Breast tissue is a depot for adipose tissue, and inflammatory changes that take place in adipose tissue under conditions of obesity may have an impact on risk for breast tumor formation and cancer progression to metastasis.  Our lab has three main focus areas:
How does inflammation within breast adipose tissue contribute to breast cancer risk?  We are interested in understanding how the inflammatory microenvironment of obese adipose tissue within the breast potentially increases the risk of breast cancer through selection of breast epithelial cell populations, enhanced angiogenesis, and tissue fibrosis. 
How does the microenvironment of the obese breast lead to formation of aggressive tumors?  We are focused on understanding how obesity promotes the development of tumors which have higher proliferation rates, resistance to chemotherapy, and increased rates of metastasis. 
Why does menopause alter the risk for obesity in breast cancer?  Development of the breast is critically dependent upon ovarian hormones, and estrogen levels have been shown to impact breast cancer risk.  We are interested in examining why obesity alters the risk of breast cancer particularly in aging women.


Associate Professor

  • Veterinary Histology 934:501

Graduate Training

  • Cancer Biology Training Program
  • Cellular and Molecular Biology Training Program
  • Comparative Biomedical Sciences Training Program
  • Endocrinology/Reproductive Physiology Training Program
  • Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology

Recent Publications

  1. Hillers-Ziemer LE, Williams AE, Janquart A, Grogan C, Thompson V, Sanchez A, Arendt LM. Obesity-activate lung stromal cells promote myeloid lineage cell accumulation and breast cancer metastasis.  Cancers 2021; 13(5):1005.  
  2. Chamberlin T, Clack M, Silvers C, Kuziel G, Thompson V, Johnson H, Arendt LM.  Targeting obesity-induced macrophages during preneoplastic growth promotes mammary epithelial stem/progenitor activity, DNA damage, and tumor formation.  Cancer Res 2020; 80(20:4465-4465.
  3. Kuziel G, Thompson V, D'Amato JV, Arendt LM. Stromal CCL2 signaling promotes mammary tumor fibrosis through recruitment of myeloid-lineage cells.  Cancers 2020; 12(8):2083.
  4. Chamberlin T, Thompson V, Hillers-Zimer LE, Walton BN, Arendt LM.  Obesity reduces mammary epithelial cell TGF-beta1 activity through macrophage-mediated extracellular matrix remodeling.  FASEB J 2020; 12(2):502.
  5. Hillers-Ziemer LE, McMahon RQ, Hietpas M, Paderta G, LeBeau J, McCready J, Arendt LM.  Obesity promotes cooperation of cancer stem-like cells and macrophages to enhance mammary tumor angiogenesis.  Cancers 2020; 12(2):502.