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Research Expertise & Professional Interests Dr. Singh has expertise in cancer biology, functional genomics and cancer pharmacology. His laboratory studies deregulated signal transduction networks that contribute to the pathophysiology of lung, pancreatic and colon cancers. Adenocarcinomas that arise in these tissues frequently harbor mutations in the KRAS oncogene or components of the KRAS signaling pathway, such as BRAF or PI3K. The core KRAS signaling pathway has been very well characterized but the precise mechanisms governing tumor maintenance in KRAS mutant cancers remain to be fully elucidated. Through comparative whole genome expression profiling, Dr. Singh has previously shown that KRAS mutant cancers can be classified into discrete molecular subtypes based on a phenotypic dichotomy of KRAS oncogene “addiction” or dependency. He derived tissue or lineage-specific KRAS dependency gene expression signatures that reflect differing modes of KRAS-mediated signal transduction in lung versus pancreatic versus colon cancers. Therefore, Dr. Singh hypothesizes that context-specificity is critical in the analysis of KRAS signaling networks. Current research in the Singh lab is focused on delineating mechanisms of oncogene dependency in a broader context. Preliminary results indicate that triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells are KRAS-dependent. Based on this, TNBC KRAS dependency signatures will be derived to reveal candidate therapeutic targets for TNBC treatment. In melanoma, the NRAS oncogene (related to KRAS) is mutated in 20-30% of cases. NRAS dependency in melanoma is strongly correlated with expression and activation of the melanocyte lineage transcription factor and oncogene, MITF. Efforts are underway to understand MITF-mediated transcriptional mechanisms that control NRAS-dependency, with the overarching goal of identifying combination therapeutic approaches to treat NRAS mutant melenoma.

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