University of Nebraska Medical Center

Kishore Challagundla, PhD

Assistant Professor


Kishore Challagundla


Uncontrolled growth, drug resistance, and immune evasion are cancer patients' principal causes of mortality. Increasing evidence indicates that communication between cancer cells and other tumor microenvironment cells fuels cancer cell survival, disease progression, and therapy resistance. Non-coding RNAs such as small microRNAs (miRNAs) and long Ultra conserved RNAs (Uc.RNAs) have gene regulatory functions and influence patient survival in almost all human cancers.

Neuroblastoma is the deadliest pediatric malignancy arising from immature sympathetic neuroblasts. Despite intense multimodal therapy, including high-dose chemotherapy and immunotherapy with anti-GD2 chimeric antibody Dinutuximab, survival rates for high-risk cases are disappointingly less than 40%, develop relapse, and are accompanied by a substantial immunotherapy-related toxicity burden.

Dr. Challagundla's research program aims to investigate the roles of exosomes, non-coding RNAs, and driver transcription factors in influencing immune cell activation/function and immunotherapy response and develop novel combination therapeutic strategies and prognostic biomarkers for neuroblastoma patients. His lab also investigates interactions between tumor cells and the immune microenvironment, post-translational modifications of immune checkpoint molecules by ubiquitination, and their potential role in escaping immune surveillance in neuroblastoma.

  • PhD (Biochemistry): University of Lucknow, India; 2001-2007
  • PG Diploma in Nutrition: National Institute of Nutrition, India; 2000
  • Masters (Biochemistry): Bharathidasan University, India; 1997-1999
  • Bachelors (Botany, Zoology, Chemistry): Nagarjuna University, India; 1994-1997
Post-Doctoral Training
  • Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN); 2007-2009
  • Oregon Health & Science University (Portland, OR); 2009-2012
  • Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA); 2012-2016
Primary Research Interests
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Exosomes and non-coding RNAs in the tumor immune microenvironment (TiME)
  • Immunotherapy response
  • Post-translational modifications of immune checkpoint molecules
  • Identification of prognostic biomarkers and develop novel therapeutic avenues for neuroblastoma treatment