Silpa Gampala, PhD
Phone: (317) 278-0579
1044 W. Walnut St.
Indianapolis, IN 46202
- Assistant Research Professor, Department of Pediatrics, IU School of Medicine
- Associate member
Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, Experimental and Developmental Therapeutics
My work focuses on understanding the key signaling mechanisms involving major transcription factors for cancer survival and metastasis. Under normal conditions, these transcription factors operate to transcribe the genes necessary for cell growth, division and apoptosis according to the needs of the whole organ and organism. These mechanisms are under constant check. But suddenly, due to mutations caused by internal system error or external stimuli, there is an abnormal unchecked growth and division of cells leading to cancer. The said mutations enable the malfunction of key transcription factors which further lead to the spread of cancer. During my Ph.D. (July 2011 – Feb 2017), and past postdoctoral training (July 2017 – July 2022), my understanding of the disease deepened as I realized, in addition to continuous supply of novel anti-cancer agents to drug development pipeline, extensive research is necessary to improve existing chemotherapeutics while simultaneously avoiding disease relapse and side effects. Key cellular processes such as metabolic signaling, hypoxia, tumor microenvironmental interactions, and biosynthetic pathways may play a crucial role in developing such resistance. Hence, my research focused on understanding how the regulation of intracellular signaling in cancer cells leads to drug resistance and identifying combination therapies against clinically relevant tumor samples. I am notable for my research on metabolic regulation and therapeutic development in the field of cancer, particularly in breast, pancreatic and pediatric cancers. To summarize, my work made valuable contributions in terms of testing rational for combination treatments against Breast cancer, Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), and Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors (MPNST). Some of my findings in PDAC have strengthened the clinical translation of tested drug molecules. In my future research, I will focus on identifying abnormal gene expression leading to alteration in cancer cell metabolism. Further I will use existing less potent but target specific small molecules against cancer metabolism in combination with new APE-1/Ref-1 redox inhibitors as therapeutic regimens for treating PDAC (pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma) and MPNST (malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor). Alternately, I hope to attain collaborations with chemical and structural biologists in my field to develop small molecules against newly identified metabolic targets to supply to the existing drug pipeline as a means to provide personalized therapeutic options. In order to increase the applicability of these treatment strategies in clinic, I will be using patient tissue samples as well as patient derived xenograft mouse models to test my research hypothesis.
Post-doctoral Fellowship - Purdue University, W. Lafayette, IN 2018-2023
Post-doctoral Fellowship - Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 2017-2018
Ph.D. - Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Chennai, India 2011-2017