Diane Stearns, PhD


Professor, Biochemistry
Phone: 928- 523-4460
Email: Diane.Stearns@nau.edu
Personal website 


CHM 560 Topics in Biochemistry
CHM 565  Chemical Toxicology
CHM 566 Chemical and Molecular Biology of Cancer

Research interests

The Stearns laboratory is interested in how metals damage DNA in ways that may lead to cancer. Current focus is on uranium and chromium. 

We are working to identify the DNA lesions formed by these metals in cultured cells and in vitro, and are characterizing the mutations caused by these DNA lesions. 

We are also interested in the effects of coordinating ligands on metal uptake, cytotoxicity and genotoxicity. 


Schwartz IE; Smilenov LB; Stearns DM; Gorospe M; Kruman II.  Cell cycle activation in postmitotic neurons is essential for DNA repair.  Cell Cycle, 2007, 6:318-329.

Coryell VH; Stearns DM.   Molecular analysis of hprt mutations induced by chromium picolinate in CHO AA8 cells. Mutation Research, 2006, 610:114-123.  (view pdf)

Coryell VH; Stearns DM.  Molecular analysis of hprt mutations generated in Chinese hamster ovary EM9 cells by uranyl acetate, by hydrogen peroxide, and spontaneously.  Molecular Carcinogenesis 2006 45:60-72.    

Stearns DM; Yazzie M; Bradley AS; Coryell VH; Shelley JT; Ashby A; Asplund CS; Lantz RC.  Uranyl acetate induces hprt mutations and uranium-DNA adducts in Chinese hamster ovary EM9 cells.  Mutagenesis 2005 20:417-423.

Blankert SA; Coryell VH; Picard BT; Wolf KK; Lomas RE; Stearns DM. Characterization of nonmutagenic Cr(III)-DNA interactions. Chemical Research in Toxicology 2003 16:847-854. (view abstract)

Yazzie M; Gamble SL; Civitello ER; Stearns DM. Uranyl acetate causes DNA single strand breaks in vitro in the presence of ascorbate (vitamin C).  Chemical Research in Toxicology 2003, 16: 524-530. (view abstract)

Manygoats KR; Yazzie M; Stearns DM.  Ultrastructural damage in chromium picolinate-treated cells: a TEM study. Transmission electron microscopy.  Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry 2002, 7:791-798.  

Stearns DM; Silveira SM; Wolf KK; Luke AM.  Chromium picolinate is mutagenic at the hprt locus in Chinese hamster ovary cells.  Mutation Research 2002, 513:135-142. (view pdf)

Civitello ER; Leniek RG; Hossler KA; Haebe K; Stearns DM.  Synthesis of peptide-oligonucleotide conjugates for chromium coordination.  Bioconjugate Chemistry 2001, 12:459-463. (view abstract)

Sugden KD; Stearns DM.  The role of chromium(V) in the mechanism of chromate-induced oxidative DNA damage and cancer.  Journal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology and Oncology 2000, 19:215-230. 

Stearns DM.  Is chromium a trace essential metal? Biofactors 2000, 11:149-162.

Wise JP, Sr.; Stearns DM.  Chromium carcinogenicity: the roles of valence state and solubility.  The Occupational Environmental Medicine Report 1997, 11:100-103.

Stearns DM; Wetterhahn KE.  Intermediates produced in the reaction of chromium(VI) with dehydroascorbate cause single-strand breaks in plasmid DNA.  Chemical Research in Toxicology 1997, 10:271-278. (view abstract)

Stearns DM; BelBruno JJ; Wetterhahn KE.  A prediction of Cr(III) accumulation in humans from ingestion of Cr dietary supplements.  FASEB Journal 1995, 9:1650-1657. (This article can be retrieved from the FASEB Journal web page)

Stearns DM; Wise JP; Patierno SR; Wetterhahn KE. Chromium(III) picolinate produces chromosome damage in Chinese hamster ovary cells. FASEB Journal 1995, 9:1643-1649. (This article can be retrieved from the FASEB Journal web page)

Stearns DM; Courtney KD; Kennedy LJ; Giangrande PH; Phieffer LS; Wetterhahn KE. Reduction of chromium(VI) by ascorbate leads to chromium-DNA binding and DNA strand breaks in vitro. Biochemistry 1995, 34:910-919. (view abstract)

Wise JP; Stearns DM; Wetterhahn KE; Patierno SR. Cell-enhanced dissolution of carcinogenic lead chromate particles: the role of individual dissolution products in clastogenesis. Carcinogenesis 1994, 15:2249-2254.

Olin KL; Stearns DM; Armstrong WH; Keen CL. Comparative retention/absorption of 51chromium (51Cr) from 51Cr chloride, 51Cr nicotinate, and 51Cr picolinate in a rat model. Trace Elements and Electrolytes 1994, 11:182-186.

Stearns DM; Courtney KD; Giangrande PH; Phieffer LS; Wetterhahn KE. Chromium(VI) reduction by ascorbate:  role of reactive intermediates in DNA damage in vitro.  Environmental Health Perspectives 1994, 102 (Suppl. 3):21-25. (view html)

Stearns DM; Wetterhahn KE.  Reaction of chromium(VI) with ascorbate produces chromium(V), chromium(IV) and carbon-based radicals. Chemical Research in Toxicology 1994, 7:219-230. (view abstract)

Stearns DM; Armstrong WH.  Mononuclear and binuclear chromium(III) picolinate complexes. Inorganic Chemistry 1992, 31:5178-5184. (view abstract)

Stearns DM; Hoffman LR; Armstrong WH.  Structure of N,N-[bis(2-pyridylmethyl)-g-aminobutyrato]copper(II) bromide methanol solvate. Acta Crystallographica, Section C 1992, 48:253-256.

Chambron JC; Eichhorn DM; Franczyk TS; Stearns DM.  Structure of (hydridotris-pyrazolylborato)(iodo)(methyl)(triphenylphosphino)rhodium(III). Acta Crystallographica, Section C 1991, 47:1732-1734.