Mehta Laboratory

Researchers in lab


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.


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

Sabine Borwege hexagon cutout Read Bio

Sabine BorwegeLab Safety Officer and IACUC Lab Manager

Costanza LoCasio hexagon cutout Read Bio

Costanza Lo CascioGraduate Student

Barbara Hopkins hexagon cutout Read Bio

Barbara Hopkins, PhDPostdoctoral Fellow

Ernesto Luna Melendez hexagon cutout Read Bio

Ernesto Luna MelendezResearch Technician

James McNamara hexagon cutout Read Bio

James McNamaraResearch Technician

Connor White hexagon cutout Read Bio

Connor WhiteResearch Technician

Read Bio

Sarah HimesResearch Technician

Headshot of Matt Dufault Read Bio

Matt DufaultResearch Technician


Research Assistant Professor

We are seeking a highly motivated and experienced scientist to direct the in vivo/in vitro modeling and preclinical trialing laboratory. In addition to generating new patient-derived xenograft models (PDX), the candidate will also plan and oversee trials with experimental drugs in preclinical models (immunocompromised and immunocompetent).

Academic Assistant

Our multidisciplinary team of brain tumor specialists and scientists are accelerating drug discovery and precision medicine in neuro-oncology to identify the most promising first-in-class therapies for brain tumor patients. We are seeking an Academic Assistant to support the Ivy Brain Tumor Center.