Dr. Nehal Thakor, PhD
Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute
Dr. Thakor is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at the University of Lethbridge and Campus Alberta Innovates Program Chair of Synthetic Biology and RNA-Based Systems. He has more than 10 years of research experience studying the mechanisms of mRNA translation in bacteria and mammalian cells. During his postdoctoral training at the Apoptosis Research Centre in Ottawa, he studied the mechanisms of mRNA translation regulation during physiological stress conditions. Dr. Thakor was recruited to the University of Lethbridge as Campus Alberta Innovates Program (CAIP) chair in September 2014. As an independent investigator, his research is focused on defining the role of eukaryotic initiation factors (eIFs) during tumor progression.
Areas of Research
- Regulation of mRNA Translation during Glioblastoma Multiforme Progression
Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) is the most aggressive malignancy among all gliomas with a dismal prognosis and survival rate. The heterogeneity of tumor cells poses a significant clinical challenge for the diagnosis and treatment of GBM and make it a ‘hard-to-treat’ cancer. Most of the frontline therapies kill the actively dividing GBM cells. However, the brain tumor initiating cells (BTICs) remain dormant and survive the surgical, drug and radiation therapeutic interventions. BTICs are a population of cells that demonstrate stem cell-like properties and differentiate into advanced GBM tumors. The mechanisms of non-canonical translation, which provide a selective advantage for tumor cell survival, are studied in the selected established GBM cell lines. However, virtually nothing is known about how translation regulation affects the transition of BTICs to GBM tumors. A precise understanding of how mRNA translation is regulated during BTICs to GBM transition is needed to design the next-generation therapeutics for treating this difficult malignancy. Accordingly, my research is focused on defining the role of dysregulated mRNA translation during GBM progression.
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