University of Nebraska Medical Center

Imayavaramban Lakshmanan, PhD

Assistant Professor


Imayavaramban Lakshmanan


Overall goal of our group is to identify the molecular mechanism of MUC5AC (secretory type) and MUC16 in promoting lung cancer metastasis. During cancer cells transformation, progression and metastasis, mucins and their associated oncogenic signals are unified to safeguard cancer cells against controlled growth and apoptosis. Mucins are heavily glycosylated proteins found to be overexpressed in several cancers and are implicated in progression, metastasis, and resistance to therapy. Therefore, we are focusing to investigate the mucin-mediated molecular mechanisms that drive the cancer cells towards proliferation and metastatic process.

To understand the molecular mechanism behind mucins dependent pathogenesis, we are employing various novel approach using 3D in vitro tumoroid and mouse models. MUC16 and MUC5AC are overexpressed in specific subtypes of lung and breast cancers and demonstrated that these mucins are strongly associated with cancer cell proliferation and metastasis (as shown in Figure 1 and 2). Currently, we are focusing on the oncogenic mutations of Kras and p53 and their ability to disseminate the primary tumor cells towards metastasis-associated phenotype.

Figure 1: ST6GalNAc1/MUC5AC on angiogenesis and lung adenocarcinoma development; Figure 2: Role of MUC16 on Triple-negative breast cancer cell proliferation and metastasis