The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Translational Molecular Pathology
A major focus of my research is to do functional characterization of the genes regulating mitotic chromosome segregation in mammalian cells and elucidation of their role in the induction of chromosomal instability in cancer. Within this broad overall research objective, we are investigating the genetic signaling networks which are involved in the regulation of faithful segregation of chromosomes during mitosis including assembly of mitotic spindles and mitotic spindle assembly checkpoint pathway. Since chromosomal instability manifested in the form of aneuploidy is the most frequent somatic mutation event detected in cancer cells, we propose that aberrant expression of genes regulating duplication and maturation of centrosomes forming the mitotic spindle poles and those involved in the segregation of chromosomes during mitosis are responsible for the induction of chromosomal instability in cells undergoing malignant transformation. We also hypothesize that aberrant expression of these genes play critical roles in both initiation and progression of cancer. My laboratory has identified novel functional interactions of critical mitosis regulating genes belonging to the Aurora Kinase family that are frequently expressed at elevated levels in many human cancers and helped elucidate their role in the development of cancer associated phenotypes.
In addition to the research goals described above, we are also actively pursuing projects to develop novel early detection biomarkers of human cancers utilizing various state of the art genomic technologies. In these projects, we have been able to identify several interesting candidate biomarkers of human colon and pancreatic cancers. More recently, we have identified a panel of microRNAs circulating in blood plasma as candidate biomarkers of human pancreatic cancer and have been pursuing investigations to understand the functional significance of some of these microRNAs. In these projects, we are interested to develop panel of biomarkers, which could be used in minimally invasive assays for early detection of cancer.
A tutorial in my laboratory would provide experience in state of the art molecular biology techniques including genomic micro-array technology as well as molecular cytogenetic techniques such as spectral karyotyping and fluorescence in situ hybridization methodology besides getting trained in cell culture and DNA transfection techniques.
Education & Training
Ph.D. - Banaras Hindu University - 1980