Dinesh Rao, M.D., Ph.D.
Research performed at: UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
Specialty/Research Area: Leukemia, Lymphoma
Career Summary: Dinesh S. Rao received a B.S. summa cum laude in Biochemistry and an M.D. from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, USA. During this time he developed a deep interest in the pathogenesis of cancer, completing several projects in cancer research during medical school, and went on to a research fellowship at the University of Michigan. There, he made a seminal discovery implicating clathrin mediated trafficking of growth factor receptor tyrosine kinases in the pathogenesis of oncogenic transformation. He then combined clinical training in the pathology of hematologic diseases with further research training in the laboratory of Nobel laureate David Baltimore at Caltech. His research came to focus on the involvement of microRNAs in hematologic development, particularly B-cell development and immunity, and cancer, and resulted in several high-impact publications in well-regarded journals. His research interests include how novel elements of gene expression regulation control hematopoietic development and cancer. He combines running a vibrant research laboratory with a busy diagnostic service in leukemia and lymphoma pathology.
Year STOP CANCER Award received: 2017 Barbara and Gary Luboff Mitzvah Fund Seed Grant
Description of research performed: Dinesh Rao and his laboratory are dedicated to the study of leukemia and lymphoma. In the past few years, this research has come to focus on certain cellular proteins and other elements that are highly expressed in aggressive subtypes of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In addition to understanding how normal cells of the blood system turn into cancer, the laboratory is focused on understanding how to use this knowledge in the clinical care of cancer patients.