Seema Agarwal, PhD
Department of Pathology
Dr. Agarwal is an Associate Professor for the Department of Pathology. In her current position, she focuses on salivary gland tumors, melanoma, gilioblastoma, lung and breast cancers. Her research group has planned to develop an in vitro cell line model system that will include cell types from stromal component and tumor epithelial cells using modification of CRC technology. She comes to the center with extensive experience in organic synthesis, biochemistry, genetics, genomics, molecular and cellular biology in order to gain the comprehensive understanding of complex diseases like cancer. One of her research interests is in identifying different signaling pathways that contribute in cancer growth and metastasis and to develop drug combination therapies. Another field of interest is to quantitatively measure proteins and microRNAs in clinical samples to develop novel biomarkers for identifying patients that will be at high risk of developing metastasis as well as biomarkers that will be useful in identifying patients that will be either resistant or sensitive to a given treatment regimen. Her current research focus is in developing suitable cell model systems (2D and 3D) that can better predict treatment to therapy. Her group recently have been using two methods to culture primary tumors with an ultimate goal of recapitulating primary human cancers to better understand the biology of cancer initiation, progression and metastasis; identify novel drug targets; de novo and acquired resistance to drugs, to utilize these systems to identify novel drug combination for personalized medicine concept/approach. First method involves growth of cancer cells in 3D directly from biopsy or FNA samples from breast cancer patients that are enriched in stem cell like properties. Second method is to grow, expand and maintain primary cell cultures derived directly from patient’s tissue samples (biopsies and FNAs) using feeder cells and ROCK inhibitor. She is a graduate of Allahabad University (India) and Lehigh University (USA), where she earned her PhDs in Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, respectively. She did her postdoctoral work at Yale University with Drs. Shirleen Roeder and Michael Snyder. Before joining Georgetown University, she was a research faculty at Yale University where she was associated with Dr. David Rimm’s research group.