Chheda Lab

The Chheda lab opened in the summer 2015. We are interested in identifying and characterizing the genetic and epigenetic events that induce cancer and maintain tumors. Often, in other contexts, these same molecules enable normal human development.

Our initial work has focused on glioma as a model to study the tumor initiating cell state (sometimes known as the cancer stem cell state). Glioblastoma, the highest-grade glioma, is the most common and aggressive brain tumor.  Tumor initiating cells exist in many types of cancer and are often more resistant to treatment than other parts of any given patient’s tumor.

Genetic aberrations found in patient tumors guide our experiments. We use these clues to discover fundamental biological mechanisms that impel tumors. We identified transcription factors and chromatin remodeling factors that are required to maintain the glioma tumor initiating cell state. This work provided a proof of principle that differentiation therapy might be feasible in solid tumors. We want to unearth new ways to kill tumor cells and uncover the signals and pathways that tumor cells use to resist our treatments. To advance our mission, we employ patient-derived tumor cells, functional genomics (loss-of-function and gain-of-function screens), biochemistry, in vivo imaging, and computational techniques.

Post-doctoral and graduate student rotation positions are available. We are extremely excited to mentor and train those who are fearless and driven. Those interested should contact
Milan G. Chheda.