Mehta Laboratory

Researchers in lab

About

During brain development, cell fate factors play an important role in the coordinated regulation of neural stem cell proliferation and differentiation. The recent discovery of a small sub-population of ‘stem-like’ cells in brain tumors has shed light on the overlapping mechanisms between normal brain development and brain malignancies. There is a general consensus in the field that the brain tumors are maintained by the cancer stem cell population that has the capability to self-renew and differentiate into multiple cell types of the brain. The same neurodevelopmental cell fate factors have been shown to play critical roles in the formation and progression of brain tumors. Our laboratory studies the role of lineage-specific factors in brain tumor formation, progression, and therapy resistance. We are particularly interested in transcription factors that govern cell fate decisions during early brain development and their role in cancer progression and response to treatment.

CURRENT RESEARCH

Some of the ongoing projects are focused on addressing following questions:

  1. What genetic and epigenetic mechanisms are deregulated in cancer stem cells compared to normal neural stem/progenitor cells?
  2. Which neurodevelopmental pathways are hijacked by the cancer stem cells to promote therapy resistance?
  3. How can we exploit the interactions between cancer stem cells and the tumor microenvironment to specifically target brain tumor cells?

Ultimately, our goal is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the neurodevelopmental pathways hijacked by cancer stem cells and identify specific vulnerabilities to novel therapies.

Lab Members

Costanza LoCasio hexagon cutout Read Bio

Costanza Lo Cascio, PhDPostdoctoral Fellow

Headshot of Sonam Patel Read Bio

Sonam Patel, PhDPostdoctoral Fellow

Headshot of Anilkumar Thaghalli Shivanna Read Bio

Anilkumar Thaghalli Shivanna, PhDPostdoctoral Fellow

Headshot of Keely Orndorff Read Bio

Keely OrndorffGraduate Student

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James McNamaraResearch Technician

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Connor WhiteResearch Technician

Headshot of Raymond Hon Read Bio

Raymond HonResearch Technician

Headshot of Zorana Opachich Read Bio

Zorana OpachichResearch Technician

Headshot of Leonel Elena Read Bio

Leonel ElenaResearch Technician

Headshot of Mariya Stavnichuk Read Bio

Mariya StavnichukResearch Technician

JOB OPENINGS


Research Technician I – Preclinical

The Ivy Brain Tumor Center is currently recruiting a highly motivated and driven research technician, (B.S. or M.S.) to join our animal modeling team focusing on cutting edge Phase 0/II clinical trials for glioblastoma at BNI. Candidates with experience in preclinical studies are desirable. Prior experience in conducting drug treatment studies and knowledge of signal transduction pathways is preferred.


Post Doctoral Fellow- Preclinical

The Ivy Brain Tumor Center is currently recruiting a highly motivated and driven Postdoctoral Fellow, preferably a recent graduate (Ph.D. M.D. DVM), to join our in vivo/in vitro modeling team focusing on cutting edge Phase 0/II clinical trials for glioblastoma at the Barrow Neurological Institute.