Dr. Donald Durden, MD, PhD (Bio)
Vice Chair of Research,
Department of Pediatrics, UC San Diego and Rady Children’s Hospital, San Diego Associate Director for Pediatric Oncology, Moores UC San Diego Cancer Center and UC San Diego School of Medicine
Assistant Project Scientist
Shweta Joshi, PhD: As an Assistant Project Scientist in the Pediatrics Department at UCSD, Dr. Joshi's research is focused on the identification of pathways controlling the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment, and finding new molecular targets for cancer therapy. She has identified a signal transduction pathway in macrophages that extends from provisional integrin α4β1 through a kinase/GTPase pair (Syk-Rac2) to control tumor immunosuppression and metastasis. Her recent study revealed that myeloid Syk promotes tumor immunosuppression and inhibits adaptive immune responses in various cancer models. Dr. Joshi is also involved in studying rationally designed dual Syk and PI3K inhibitors as novel therapeutic immune-oncological agents for pancreatic cancer, and head and neck squamous carcinomas.
Lab Manager/ Staff Research Associate III
Muamera ("Mima") Zulcic: Zulcic is designing and executing wet lab and animal-based research, focusing on the signaling pathways using in vitro and in vivo models, human specimens, as well as primary and established human cells. She is engaged in the study of Rac2-Syk signaling pathway in macrophages which is required for tumor growth, angiogenesis, and metastasis. Zulcic is managing and overseeing the laboratory, focusing on managing daily lab operations including training new members and students, supervising and mentoring students, writing, amending and renewing all lab authorizations and protocols, monitoring lab budgets and lab inventory, as well as purchasing equipment and supplies.
Adam Burgoyne, MD, PhD
: Dr. Burgoyne is a senior clinical fellow in hematology/oncology studying rationally designed dual-specificity inhibitors of PI3K and BRD4 as novel therapeutic agents for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). His work focuses on characterizing the interplay between PI3K signaling and the bromodomain-regulated epigenome in HCC to develop a bioinformatically-driven method for predicting sensitivity to rationally designed targeted therapeutics in HCC. He is also involved in the translation of these mechanistic and preclinical studies into early phase clinical trials in HCC patients.
Assistant Project Scientist
Alexey Efanov, PhD: Efanov is studying Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) medulloblastoma (MB) cancer stem cells (CSC)' properties, and the influence of alterations in PTEN and specific isoforms of PI3K on SSH MB development. He is also interested in investigating of the effect of different drugs on SHH medulloblastoma CSC compartment.
Staff Research Associate I
: Daniel is engaged in supporting the various ongoing projects of the project scientists, post-docs, and graduate students, as well as the general operations of the Durden Laboratory.
Dhananjaya Pal, PhD
: Dr. Pal is investigating the role of novel triple BTK/PI3K/BRD4 inhibitor SRX3262, as a potential therapeutic target for Mantle cell lymphoma. His work is mainly focused on understanding the basic mechanism of Ibrutnib resistance in mantle cell lymphoma and if novel chemotype, SRX3262 can overcome the C481S resistance which is commonly observed in this cancer. He is engaged in studying the role of novel triple BTK/PI3K/CDK4 inhibitor in lymphoma. Dr. Pal’s research also involves finding novel molecular mechanisms which mediate degradation of HIF 1 alpha in hypoxic conditions.
Visiting Graduate Student
: Namood-e Sahar is studying the modulation of circadian rhythms in cancer cells in response to PI3K and BRD4 inhibitors.
Past Lab Members
Afshan Ahman (Student)
Alok Singh (Project Scientist)
Amanda Amarasinghe (Lab Assistant)
Amanda Goldin (Resident)
Andrew Martin (MD Fellow)
Apurwa Adwait Shukla
Cassandra Wang (Student)
Carlos Noworny (Student)
Felix To (Student)
Francisco Vega (Visiting Scholar)
Michael Alcaraz (Lab Assistant)
Mingyu Hu (Student)
Mrudula Bhuvanagiri (Student)
Jasmine Massoumi (Student)
Joshua Lange (Student)
Lisa Hartman (MD Fellow)
Mohar Chattopadhyay, Ph.D. (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Nicholas LaCivita (Student)
Salvatore Fanale (Staff Research Associate)
Sharanbir Gill (Student)
Tracey Huynh (Student)