Assistant Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyPhone: 402-559-2027
DRC 1 6050
Ph.D., Jamia Hamdard (Hamdard University), New Delhi, India, 2002.
Post-Doctoral Training:Meharry Medical College (Nashville TN): 2002-2004
North Carolina Central University (Durham NC): 2004-2007
The Ohio State University Medical Center (Columbus OH): 2007-2011
Research Interests: Cancer metastasis, brain metastasis, tumor microenvironment, microRNAs, and cytokines/chemokines.
1. To identify novel approaches for prevention and treatment of metastasis/brain metastasis. Many cancers including Triple-negative (TN) and epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (ErbB2 or HER2)-positive breast cancers (BC’s), melanoma and lung cancer (Non-small cell and small cell lung cancers) are predisposed to metastasize to the brain and are a leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Lack of suitable and reliable early detection biomarker(s) and limited treatment options are the major challenges in the prevention of metastasis/brain metastasis associated deaths. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) prevents the delivery of therapeutic agents to the metastatic tumor cells and poses an additional hurdle for the treatment of brain metastasis. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to design preventive and therapeutic strategies for the management of this devastating disease. Our lab is focused on discovering novel therapeutic targets and identifying agents that can prevent brain metastasis (figure 1).
Current projects in the lab are focused on investigating the role of mucins in breast/lung cancer brain metastasis. Using state of the art technologies, we are trying to establish novel roles of mucins and other proteins in brain metastasis. We have developed brain seeking cell lines and preclinical mouse models to study brain metastasis of breast cancer. In addition, we are using various novel combinatorial strategies for the prevention of brain metastasis.
2. Novel approaches to attenuate SCLC progression and metastasis. Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is an aggressive subtype of lung cancer (LC). SCLC has a poor prognosis with a 5-year survival rate of approximately 6-8% for the late stage disease. Although SCLC patients respond to platinum-based first-line therapy, the majority of the patients develop drug resistance and relapse within one year of the treatment. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop new therapeutic options for SCLC patients. Our lab is involved in addressing these challenges on several fronts as summarized below.
2.a. Role of microRNAs in SCLC progression and metastasis. MicroRNAs (miRs) are endogenous short non-coding RNAs that have an impact on the expression of a wide network of genes. It has been estimated that miRs regulate the expression of over 30% of the genes in mammalian genomes. miRs play crucial roles in the multistep processes of carcinogenesis. In our lab, currently, we are elucidating the role of miRs and chemokines/cytokines axis in the regulation of SCLC progression and metastasis. We are also developing a spontaneous mouse model for SCLC that will be used to test novel preventive and therapeutic strategies (utilizing miR mimics/anti-sense) against SCLC.
2.b. Novel targets including glycoproteins/mucins in SCLC metastasis/brain metastasis. The majority of SCLC patients (30-40%) develop brain metastasis following standard therapy, and surprisingly ~10% of the patients have shown brain metastasis even at the time of diagnosis suggesting the need for early diagnosis and better treatment strategies. Using patient samples, in vitro and preclinical mouse model systems, we are investigating the diagnostic and therapeutic potential of mucins/glycoproteins/mucins/other proteins in SCLC metastasis especially brain metastasis.
Research Opportunities currently available:
Opportunities are available for motivated graduate, MD/Ph.D. and summer undergraduate students.