Assistant Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
DRC1, Room 7044
Ph.D., ImTech, India, 2008Ph.D., IMTECH, Chandigarh (JNU), INDIA, 2009
- Combinatorial (Genomic, Proteomic, Exosomal, and Metabolic) diagnostic and prognostic marker(s) for cancer and associated pathologies
- Development of ultrasensitive technologies for diagnosis of tumor and associated diseases.
- The implication of oncogenes in tumor progression and metastasis
- Targeted therapies for cancer
Lethality of disease is dictated by its stage at the time of diagnosis. Development of a combinatorial signature along with ultrasensitive technologies for marker detection is key to improved diagnosis and prognosis. My studies focus on developing a combined diagnostic and prognostic panel, utilizing disease associated altered gene, protein, metabolic, and exosomal signatures. Using a computational tool, we are identifying biomarkers that provide additive performance to diagnose early stages of disease with high sensitivity and specificity.
While working on biomarkers, we observed specific elevation of the megadalton glycoprotein MUC5AC in early stage disease. Further, the elevation of MUC5AC was stage and metastasis-specific, throughout PC progression. Using a comprehensive serum set (N=922), we demonstrated that MUC5AC is present at high levels in the blood of pancreatic cancer patients and has high potential as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker in combination with CA19.9. Further, we identified a combination of MUC4, MUC5AC, and CA19.9 for early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Next, we are focusing on developing sensitive technologies (Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy) to detect this multi-marker panel.
The other focus of my research involves delineating molecular mechanisms of oncogenic signaling by differentially expressed biomarkers in the progression and metastasis of various malignancies. MUC5AC de-novo expression is common across all types of malignant precursor lesions of PC, and its knockdown significantly reduced tumorigenesis and metastasis in orthotopic mouse models. In a genetically engineered mouse model (GEMM) of PC progression, MUC5AC knockout significantly reduced the development of invasive precursor lesions in conjunction with altered matrix stiffness. We are focusing on delineating the functional significance of MUC5AC on tumor progression, metastasis, and chemoresistance.
Currently, we are working on:
- Molecular implications of MUC5AC in pancreatic cancer progression and metastasis
- Repurposing drug(s) for therapeutic targeting of pancreatic cancer
- Identification of exosomal surface, protein and miRNA signature for diagnosis and prognosis of pancreatic cancer
- Development of novel radiosensitizer(s) for pancreatic cancer.
- Colonic polyp identification and stratification tools