Vijayalakshmi (Viji) Shridhar, Ph.D.
Cancer is driven by alterations in biological pathways. In particular, the laboratory of Viji Shridhar, Ph.D., is interested in two major biological pathways altered in cancer: growth factor signaling pathways and programmed cell death pathways.
One of the major focuses of her research program is to understand how HSulf-1 regulates growth factor signaling in ovarian and breast cancer and contributes to cancer development and progression. Another major focus of her research program is to understand how HtrA1 regulates programmed cell death pathways and contributes to chemotherapy resistance.
Current studies are aimed at determining both the mechanism of loss and the functional consequences of loss of these potential novel tumor suppressor genes in promoting tumorigenesis, metastasis and chemoresistance in ovarian and breast cancers.
The other focus of Dr. Shridhar's research program is to translate basic research to bedside to help patients with ovarian or breast cancer by repositioning drugs such as metformin and drugs that target the tumor microenvironment to inhibit metastasis and minimize residual disease.
Techniques commonly used in the lab include cell culture, real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), Western blotting, DNA methylation analysis, generation of gene constructs, cell transfection, immunoflourescence, immunohistochemistry and in vivo tumorigenic models.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Shridhar's laboratory has identified a previously unknown pathway regulated by loss of HSulf-1, namely the generation of LDs. Since LDs are associated with ovarian cancer metastasis and chemoresistance, the lab's discovery that a gene that is commonly lost in ovarian cancer regulates LDs opens new avenues to target LDs (as a disease marker) with pharmacological and molecular-based approaches and reverse the cancer phenotype associated with loss of this gene.
Testing of novel drugs (PG545 is currently in a phase I clinical trial) and repositioning drugs (metformin) in preclinical models will lead to testing of these drugs in clinical trials to improve patient care.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
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