Pediatric cancer affects more than 10,000 children, from birth to 14 years of age, every year. It remains a leading cause of death from disease among children, reports the National Cancer Institute. As such, researchers need to continue pursuing experiments and therapies to save children’s lives from pediatric cancer.
My research areas include cancer biology, tumor angiogenesis, drug development, DNA damage repair, structural biology, phosphatases, retinal disease and pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Our lab is interested in elucidating molecular mechanisms that promote the proliferation of cells under conditions of stress, as seen in diseases such as cancer, retinopathy of prematurity and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). We then manipulate this knowledge to develop innovative therapeutic approaches. My colleagues and I utilize structure-based drug design, experimental high-throughput drug screens and virtual screening to find the right drug types and test them in pre-clinical animal models.
For more than 20 years, my lab team members and I have been studying molecular mechanisms that drive disease processes with a specific interest in the ability of disease-associated cells to survive conditions of hypoxic stress.
One notable discovery from my lab in the mid-2000s was finding that the Eyes Absent (EYA) protein, which is part of the signaling cascade, is the founding member of a new mechanistic class of protein tyrosine phosphatases. We have since linked this activity of the EYA proteins to angiogenesis, cell migration and cells' endurance under oxidative stress. We have since identified small molecule inhibitors of the EYA protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTP) activity.
Other notable discoveries from my lab include:
- Demonstrating that the EYA PTP activity contributes to both developmental and pathological angiogenesis
- In vivo validation of an EYA-PTP inhibitor as an anti-angiogenic agent in a tumor model
- In vivo validation of an EYA-PTP inhibitor as a possible therapeutic factor when treating retinopathy of prematurity as well as in treating pulmonary arterial hypertension
In addition, I have received numerous recognitions and awards during my career, including:
- Faculty Achievement Award in Education, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (2017)
- National Cancer Center Postdoctoral Fellowship (1991-1993)
- Dean’s Recognition Citation for Excellence in Medical Education, NYU (1999)
- Whitehead Presidential Award for Junior Faculty, NYU (1995)
- Bombay University Certificate of Merit (1982)
- National Science Talent Search Scholarship (1979)
I have more than 30 years of experience in the study of cancer biology, the molecular basis of disease and structure-aided drug design. I joined the team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 2002. I’m also the founding director of the Graduate Program in Biomedical Research Technologies at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.