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Principal Investigator

Dr. Nandini Verma

Principal Investigator

Honors and Recognitions

  • Assistant Professor,  Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI), Mumbai.
  • Prestigious Koshland Fellowship, Koshland Foundation, McDonald-Leapman Grant, 2017-18.
  • Senior Post-Doctoral Fellowship for academic excellence, Feinberg Graduate School, Weizmann Institute of Science, 2016-17.
  • Dean of Faculty post-doctoral fellowship, Weizmann Institute of science, 2012 -2014.
  • VATAT-PBC Indo-Israeli Fellowships for outstanding post-doctoral researchers, 2012-2015.
  • ISCA-Young Scientist Award, National Nominee, 2011.
  • Foreign travel grant, CSIR, 2008.
  • CSIR-JRF - NET fellowship in life sciences (12/2004).
  • UGC-JRF - NET fellowship in life sciences (06/2004).
  • University of Delhi, M.Sc. final topper (04/2004).

Research Interests

To understand the molecular mechanisms involved in progression and drug resistance in Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). Current interest is to identify molecular and patho-physiological vulnerabilities unique to cancer cells that can be used to design diseases specific precision medicine and can overcome drug resistance to first line therapies. Main focus is on cancer specific

  • Molecular networks of extra- and intra-cellular signaling through cell surface receptors
  • Cellular reactive oxygen species and heavy metal ions in drug resistance and EMT
  • Epigenetic factors governing drug resistance and metastasis
  • Tumor secretome and microenvironment driven targeted therapies

RESEARCH

Triple Negative Breast cancer (TNBC) is a very heterogeneous, aggressive and metastatic subset of breast malignancy with worse prognosis and shortest disease-free survival rate. Pathologically, TNBC is defined by the lack of hormone receptors (estrogen, ER and progesterone, PR), as well as of human epidermal growth factor receptor2 (HER2) expression, however, it can be further classified into 4-6 distinct molecular subtypes. TNBC accounts for 15-25% of total breast cancers cases detected worldwide, however, recent clinical statistics from different regions of India revealed an excessive burden of TNBC among Indian women (up to a 31% mean prevalence) greatest as compared to any other regions of the world. As obvious targets like ER/PR and HER2 are absent in TNBC, standard clinical management relies mainly on chemotherapeutic agents in neoadjuvant setting or post-resection. Due to high proliferation index TNBC are chemo-sensitive and a fraction of patients (30-45%) does attain initial pathological complete response (pCR). However, several of these cases have early relapse (within 2-5 years post-therapy) with distant metastasis. Moreover, a significant number of patients (>50%) either fail to achieve pCR or have progressed disease during the therapy with metastasis. Management of relapsed chemo-resistant TNBC is extremely challenging and overall prognosis of such patients is often very poor due to limited treatment options, as both choice and response to other therapeutic options (targeted/combination-therapy) are often unpredictable at this stage. Our research laboratory is interested in understanding the molecular, epigenetic and secretome determinants in different subtypes of TNBC tumors that contribute towards the drug resistance to first-line clinical drugs in TNBC Patients.

We combine clinically driven sophisticated TNBC cellular and animal model systems together with cutting edge high-throughput screening approaches to answer these questions. These studies are expected to unmask several novel drug resistance mechanisms in specific TNBC subtypes and hence, can provide rationales for specific therapeutic strategies to re-sensitize cancer cells to cytotoxic therapies used in clinic. The ultimate goal of our studies will be to discover TNBC subtype specific precision medicine for Indian patients that can overcome drug resistance and minimize disease relapse, and thus, can improve the patient’s outcome and survival after therapy.

Ongoing Research Projects

  • TNBC

    Epigenetic regulation of drug-tolerant persister cellular state in different TNBC…

    Neo-adjuvant chemotherapy is the mainstay treatment for TNBC patients. There has been growing evidences that the… more

  • TNBC

    Roles of therapy-induced tumor secretome in mediating and maintaining drug-toleran…

    The tumor's extracellular environment is increasingly recognized as an important determinant for its progression… more

  • TNBC

    Biological role of molecular ferroptosis regulators in drug-tolerant persister cel…

    It has been recently identified that drug-tolerant persister cells are highly resistant to apoptotic cell death,… more

Lab Members

PUBLICATIONS

Contact

Office Contact

Dr. Nandini Verma

Nandini Lab KS-231 Khanolkar Shodhika, Advance Centre for Treatment Research & Education in Cancer, Tata Memorial Centre, (ACTREC), Plot No. 1 & 2, Sector 22, Kharghar, Navi Mumbai-410210. Maharashtra India.+91 (022) 2740 5000/ 6873 5000 Extn-5083 nverma@actrec.gov.in Lab Website
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