Dr. Basabi Rana
I have a broad background in Cancer Biology, with specific training and expertise in signal transduction and transcriptional regulation of growth and apoptosis. My interest to study mechanisms that regulate liver growth and differentiation began with my post-doctoral studies at Boston University School of Medicine (MCB 1994: PMID: 8065319; JBC 1995: PMID: 7629124). Upon joining BUSM as a junior faculty, I laid the groundwork to elucidate the mechanism by which PPARγ regulates proliferation in hepatocytes and HCC cells and have expanded them after joining the faculty of Texas A&M University-HSC. Our studies not only revealed very novel information regarding the effectors involved in PPARγ-induced proliferation control of liver cells (JBC, 2004: PMID: 14764597), but also a cross-talk of PPARγ with β-catenin axis (JBC, 2004: PMID: 15190077). My research emphasis over the last few years has been on the understanding of signaling mechanisms that regulate therapeutic resistance in various cancers (including HCC and prostate) and to design effective combination therapeutic approaches to target them. These studies revealed β- catenin to be a mediator of apoptosis resistance in HCC as evident from our publication showing that combination of TRAIL with PPARγ ligand Troglitazone (TZD) can induce significant apoptosis in cancer cells, associated with a complete antagonism of β-catenin axis (JBC 2009: PMID: 19289465). In more recent studies we demonstrated that this apoptosis is mediated via an active AMPK pathway (JBC 2015: PMID 26198640). The current studies will explore whether a natural compound BBR (an activator of AMPK) can antagonize HCC progression and elucidate a potential antagonistic crosstalk between AMPK and β- catenin. During the course of my career, I have successfully administered different funded projects (personnel, budget) and produced high quality publications from each. I am a collaborative researcher having established strong working and productive collaborations with basic and clinician scientists from a variety of departments and institutions. In summary, my track record of successful and productive research projects in the area of liver cancer have prepared me to lead the studies outlined in the proposed project.