Universityof Arkansas Medical Sciences
As a cancer biologist, I am in charge of developing a personalized assays using circulating DNA from patients. Circulating DNA (cfDNA) or liquid biopsies is a powerful tool that has been used to detect progression of disease in various cancers. We are in the process of developing a similar technology that will help in diagnosis with minimal invasive methods. I am also involved in understanding the epigenetics of myeloma. It is believed that global methylation reduces during progression of myeloma. In this regard, I am developing assays that will help us in analyzing global methylation in myeloma.
Memorial Sloan Kettering, New York
June 2006 - April 2011
I was interested in understanding the role of Kit in two different lineages-namely gametogenesis and hematopoiesis. The Kit receptor and its cognate ligand KitL, have important functions in hematopoiesis, gastrointestinal tract motility, melanogenesis, and gametogenesis. Oncogenic Kit mutations have been observed in patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), melanomas and seminomas. I was able to demonstrate that in the KitLL263A homozygous mouse mutants, Sertoli cells specifically lacked basolateral KitL expression, but had normal apical KitL localization. This was an interesting observation because basolateral KitL in Sertoli cells is important for the proliferation and survival of spermatogonia which lie closely juxtaposed with the basal membrane of the Sertoli cells.In order to further ascertain if Kit mutation had a role up in the hematopoietic hierarchy, I carried out analysis of the stem cell compartment. Using competitive repopulation assays, spleen transplantation assays and BrdU-Ki67 flow cytometry we found that the effect of Kit mutation on self-renewal is greater than its effect on proliferation of stem cells