I trained as a physician and transitioned to a career in conducting basic science research shortly after obtaining my medical degree. I have been working in the breast cancer research for the past 18 years and am committed to my interest in education. I dedicate a significant time to teaching several Foundations sessions for our Medical School academic curriculum, Physician Assistant program and the Master’s Biochemistry program. My long term goal is to integrate my two interest areas- research and academic medical education, and extend my focus to medical education research.
My research interest is primarily focused on the search for signaling molecules that might function as cooperative oncogenic lesion with polycomb group (PcG) proteins in breast cancer using global RNAi and expression screening approaches. Another area of focus is to identify and characterize novel microRNAs that control breast cancer progression, particularly metastasis. We are currently performing microRNA profiling studies using a BMI1 and H-RAS transformed human mammary epithelial cell (HMEC) series. Identification of novel PcG-cooperating lesions and metastasis-regulating miRNAs will help us gain a better understanding of breast cancer, and also help find new targets and treatments for cancer therapy. The current research is focused on the role of Humanin, a mitochondrially encoded secreted peptide as a novel regulator of tumorigenesis in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). Here we are exploring the role of this peptide as a key player in the development of TNBC using mouse xenograft studies and if it could be targeted for the therapeutic purposes. Besides breast cancer research, we are working on hepatocellular carcinoma where I'm focused on the role of HCV derived small noncoding RNAs that form RNA Parallel duplexes and act via cell-non-autonomous mechanisms, and their role in modulation of hepatic stem cells.