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

Costanza LoCasio hexagon cutoutRead Bio

Costanza Lo CascioGraduate Student

Sabine Borwege hexagon cutoutRead Bio

Sabine BorwegeResearch Technician

Ernesto Luna Melendez hexagon cutoutRead Bio

Ernesto Luna MelendezResearch Technician

James McNamara hexagon cutoutRead Bio

James McNamaraResearch Technician

Connor White hexagon cutoutRead Bio

Connor WhiteResearch Technician

Read Bio

Sarah HimesResearch Technician

Headshot of Matt DufaultRead 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).

Postdoctoral Fellow I

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. Prior experience in conducting drug treatment studies and knowledge of signal transduction pathways is preferred.