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Rakesh Kumar, PhD

Visiting Distinguished Professor of Biotechnology

rakeshkumar@rgcb.res.in

rakesh
rakesh

Rakesh Kumar, PhD

Visiting Distinguished Professor of Biotechnology

rakeshkumar@rgcb.res.in

  • Profile

    Professor
    Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine
    School of Medicine and Health Sciences, George Washington University
    2300 Eye Street, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20037.
    E-mail: bcmrxk@gwu.edu

    Experience (Selected)

    • 2010-: Visiting Distinguished Professor of Biotechnology, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram, India
    • 2009-: Professor, Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
    • 2009-2014: Professor and Chairman, Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
    • 2009-2014: Catharine Birch & McCormick Chair, George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences
    • 2009-: Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, MD Anderson Cancer Center
    • 2006-: Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine
    • 2003-2008: John G. & Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation Chair, MD Anderson Cancer Center
    • 2002-2003: Edward Rotan Distinguished Professor, MD Anderson Cancer Center
    • 2000-2008: Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Cellular & Molecular Oncology, MD Anderson Cancer Center
    • 1999-2009: Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, MD Anderson Cancer Center
    • 1998-2009: Professor of the UT Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Houston, TX
    • 1998-2000: Professor of Medicine, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
    • 1996-1998: Associate Professor, Univ. of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
    • 1992-1996: Associate Professor, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, PA
    • 1988-1992: Assistant/Associate Lab Member, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY

    Honors (Selected)

    • 2013: East Shanghai Cancer Forum Award
    • 2013: Lifetime Achievement Award, American Association of Indian Scientists in Cancer Research
    • 2011: Elaine H. Snyder Cancer Research Award
    • 2008: Ranbaxy Research Award
    • 2007: MDACC Presidential Recognition for a Mentor of Distinction Award
    • 2004-2007: MDACC Exceptional Leadership and Support as a Mentor Award
    • 2002-2007: Annual First Place AMGEN Award in Basic Science to students from Kumar labs
    • 2004: The Norman Brinkler Award for Research Excellence
    • 2004: MDACC Faculty Achievement Award in Basic Science
    • 1995: Hinkle Outstanding Investigator Award, Penn State University, PA
    • 1995: ASIOA Young Scientist Award; A.L. Bortree Lectureship, Penn State University, PA
    • 2013-2014: Member, Veteran Administration System Study Section, USA
    • 2011-2014: Member, National Institutes of Health Study Section, USA
    • 2011-2015: Founding Chair of the "Global Cancer Genomic Consortium" among 6 leading institutions from US, UK, Japan, Portugal and India)
    • 2005-2009: Member, Research Strategy & Advisory Comm., APEX Advisory Body to MDACC's President
    • 2007-2009: Member, Physician-Scientist Program Selection Committee, MD Anderson Cancer Center
    • 2004-2009: Member, National Institutes of Health Study Section, USA
    • 2004-2009: Member and Chair, Mike Hogg Award Committee, MD Anderson Cancer Center(scope of the committee: select, invite and host a Nobel Laureate each year)
    • 2005-2009: Chartered Member, Drug Discovery & Molecular Pharmacology Study Section, NIH
    • 2007: Member, Selection Committee for the Kirk A. Landon-AACR Prize for Basic Cancer Research
    • 2008: Co-chair -AACR Conference on "Cytoskeleton Signaling in Cancer" Feb 3-5, San Diego
    • 2006: AACR Program Committee 2006, Chair -Exp. and Molecular Therapeutics Subcommittee Co-Chair- 2006 Mini-symposium on "Experimental Therapeutic I"
    • 2005: Session Chair/Invited Speaker, Gordon Conf, Hormone Action in Cancer & Development
    • 2005: Member, 2005 AACR Experimental and Molecular Therapeutics Program Subcommittee

    Editorial Activities

    • 2014: Epigenetics
    • 2013: Oncogene
    • 2009: Journal of Cellular Physiology
    • 2009: Journal of Translational Research
    • 2009: Genes and Cancer
    • 2005: Cancer Research (Senior Editor)
    • 2003: Cancer & Metastasis Reviews
    • 2002: Clinical Cancer Research
    • 2009-2012: Endocrinology
    • 2005-2007: Clinical & Experimental Metastasis
    • 2003-2007, 2010-13: Journal of Biological Chemistry
    • 2001-2004: Cancer Research (Associate Editor)
  • Research

    Research Interests

    Cytoskeleton and Chromatin Remodeling, Nuclear Receptors and Coregulators, Inflammation-driven Cancer, and Breast and Liver Cancers.

    The center goal of the research program is to discover and establish the significance of modular components of phenotypic signaling during the progression of epithelial cancers to more invasive phenotypes using tissue culture, genetic mouse models, and human tumor model systems. One half of the laboratory is revealing the contribution of cytoskeleton and chromatin remodeling in Cancer progression, with a particular focus on p21-activated kinase (PAK) family. The laboratory has provided evidence of a definitive role of PAK1 in cancer cell invasiveness, discovered PAK1 physiologic substrates responsible for various cellular activities, and identified nuclear localization and functions of PAK1. The second major focus of the laboratory is to understand the mechanism of estrogen receptor action in breast cancer, with a special focus on the nuclear receptor coregulators such as metastatic tumor antigens (MTAs) family of chromatin modifiers and its targets. Overall, this work has paved the way for new research opportunities for other biomedical scientists and, offered PAK1 and MTA as novel therapeutic targets to both Academia and Pharmaceutical Industry.

  • Publications

    Peer Reviewed Publications: 215
    Invited Reviews: 57
    Book chapters: 10

    Books

    1. Molecular Signaling and Therapeutics; Editor: Rakesh Kumar
      Kluwer Press, 2004; Pages 327; ISBN: 1-4020-7822-6
    2. NR Coregulators and Human Diseases, Editors: Rakesh Kumar & Bert W. O'Malley
      World Scientific Publishers 2008; Pages 602; ISBN: 10-9812705368
    3. Nuclear Signaling Pathways and Targeting Transcription in Cancer, Editor: Rakesh Kumar
      Springer Press 2013; Pages 441; ISBN 978-1-4614-8038-9

    Thematic Volumes

    1. Protein Kinases in Cancer; Editor – Rakesh Kumar
      Metastasis Cancer Reviews, 22, Number 4, 2003
    2. Cytoskeleton Signaling in Cancer; Editors – Rakesh Kumar and Alan Hall
      Metastasis Cancer Reviews 28, Number 1-2, 2009
    3. Functions and Clinical Relevance of MTA Proteins in Human Cancer; Editor – Rakesh Kumar
      Metastasis Cancer Reviews, 33, Number 4, 2014

    Students/Fellows/Postdoctoral Fellows Directly Trained: About 61
    Invited Speaker at Academic Institutions: About 116
    Invited Speaker/Chair at the National and International Meetings, and Symposiums: About 85

    Research Work as Cover Illustrations in Scientific Journals (selected)

    • Cell Growth & Differentiation 8, 417-423, 1997
    • Cell Growth & Differentiation 8, 417-423, 1997
    • Molecular Endocrinology, 16, 116-127, 2002
    • Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 2, 345-351, 2003
    • Clinical Cancer Research, 10, 658-667, 2004
    • Clinical Cancer Research, 10, 3621-3628, 2004
    • FEBS Lett 567, 243-247, 2004
    • Cancer Biology & Therapy, 5, 554-556, 2006
    • Immunity, 24, 827-838, 2006
    • Clinical Cancer Research, 12, 5994 – 5999, 2006
    • Autophagy, 4, 1-4, 2008
    • Clinical Cancer Research, 68, 6387-6395, 2008
    • Cancer Research 70: 6649-6658, 2010
    • Journal of Biological Chemistry 47: Nov 16 Issue, 2012

    Research Highlights in Scientific Journals (selected)

    • Nature Structural Biology 10: p622, 2003
    • Nature Review Cancer 8: 573, 2004
    • Nature Review Molecular Cell Biology 5: 593, 2004
    • Development 131: e1404, 2004
    • J. National Cancer Institute 98: 657, 2006
    • Endocrinology News 31 (2): 4, 2006
    • Nature Review Molecular Cell Biology 11: 542, 2010
  • Team


    Hezlin Marzook, MSc, PhD student

    My work under the co-mentorship of Professors Rakesh Kumar and M. Radhakrishna Pillai focuses on the Metastasis Associated Tumor Antigen 1 (MTA1) which is a chromatin modifier protein found widely up regulated in a variety of human cancers. I study the role of MTA1 in tumor progression under stressed conditions. We suspect the involvement of MTA1 in imparting a pro-survival mechanism during stressed conditions in cancer cells. It is possible that MTA1 may have a protective role against stress, presumably, due to its ability to regulate a sub-set of relevant genes which are in the nuclear compartment, the mechanistic insights of which is yet unknown and form an aim of the present study.

    Hezlin-Marzook
    Hezlin-Marzook

    Hezlin Marzook, MSc, PhD student

    My work under the co-mentorship of Professors Rakesh Kumar and M. Radhakrishna Pillai focuses on the Metastasis Associated Tumor Antigen 1 (MTA1) which is a chromatin modifier protein found widely up regulated in a variety of human cancers. I study the role of MTA1 in tumor progression under stressed conditions. We suspect the involvement of MTA1 in imparting a pro-survival mechanism during stressed conditions in cancer cells. It is possible that MTA1 may have a protective role against stress, presumably, due to its ability to regulate a sub-set of relevant genes which are in the nuclear compartment, the mechanistic insights of which is yet unknown and form an aim of the present study.

    Deivendran S, MSc, PhD student

    I study the epigenetic role of MTA1 in cancer, a work that is jointly mentored by Professors Rakesh Kumar and M. Radhakrishna Pillai. The Metastatic Tumor Antigen 1 (MTA1) is one of the major overexpressed oncogenes in human cancer. Mechanistically, MTA1 is a chromatin modifier and modifier of transcription by virtue of its dual functional activity as a corepressor or coactivator. The goal of this project is to elucidate the role of MTA1 in target gene methylation and consequently, expression of genes that may be mechanistically involved in the action of the MTA1 master coregulator.

    Deivendran-S
    Deivendran-S

    Deivendran S, MSc, PhD student

    I study the epigenetic role of MTA1 in cancer, a work that is jointly mentored by Professors Rakesh Kumar and M. Radhakrishna Pillai. The Metastatic Tumor Antigen 1 (MTA1) is one of the major overexpressed oncogenes in human cancer. Mechanistically, MTA1 is a chromatin modifier and modifier of transcription by virtue of its dual functional activity as a corepressor or coactivator. The goal of this project is to elucidate the role of MTA1 in target gene methylation and consequently, expression of genes that may be mechanistically involved in the action of the MTA1 master coregulator.

    Parvathy M, PhD Student

    FUNCTIONAL ROLE OF P21 ACTIVATED KINASES (PAKs) IN ORAL CANCER*

    According to GLOBOCAN report of 2008, Oral Cancer is the second most common cancer among men in India. Despite considerable advances in treatment modalities, overall prognosis for patients with OSCC has not improved in the past two decades. This calls for the identification of new target molecules and translating them to clinical settings. A potential set of such target molecules is P21 Activated Kinases or PAKs, a family of serine/threonine kinases with roles in cell survival and oncogenesis. PAKs have been shown to play important role in the progression of cancer types like that of breast, ovarian etc by interfering in important cellular functions like cytoskeletal remodelling, cell cycle progression, angiogenesis, mitosis etc. However, its role and significance in Oral Cancer remains poorly understood. The focus of the on-going studies is to understand the role of PAKs in Oral Cancer progression.
    * Collaborative work with George Washington University

    parvathy1
    parvathy1

    Parvathy M, PhD Student

    FUNCTIONAL ROLE OF P21 ACTIVATED KINASES (PAKs) IN ORAL CANCER*

    According to GLOBOCAN report of 2008, Oral Cancer is the second most common cancer among men in India. Despite considerable advances in treatment modalities, overall prognosis for patients with OSCC has not improved in the past two decades. This calls for the identification of new target molecules and translating them to clinical settings. A potential set of such target molecules is P21 Activated Kinases or PAKs, a family of serine/threonine kinases with roles in cell survival and oncogenesis. PAKs have been shown to play important role in the progression of cancer types like that of breast, ovarian etc by interfering in important cellular functions like cytoskeletal remodelling, cell cycle progression, angiogenesis, mitosis etc. However, its role and significance in Oral Cancer remains poorly understood. The focus of the on-going studies is to understand the role of PAKs in Oral Cancer progression.
    * Collaborative work with George Washington University

  • Alumni