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Varsha Gandhi, Ph.D.

Present Title & Affiliation

Primary Appointment

Department Chair ad interim, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Chairman (ad interim), Department of Experimental Therapeutics, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Director ad interim, Center for Targeted Therapy, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Director, Center for Targeted Therapy, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Ruby E. Rutherford Distinguished Professor, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Director, Experimental Therapeutics Academic Program, Graduate School of Biomedical Science, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Professor, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Director, Education and Faculty Development, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Professor, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Houston, TX

Dual/Joint/Adjunct Appointment

Professor, Department of Leukemia, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Research Interests

1.  Development of single agent and combination therapies for leukemias

2.  Met receptor tyrosine kinase in myeloma

3.  Transcription inhibitors

4.  DNA- and RNA-directed nucleoside analogs, their mechanisms of action and development of resistance

5.  Apoptosis modulators as therapeutics (BH3-mimetics, smac-mimetics)

6.  Role of microenvironment in hematological malignancies

7.  Pim kinase expression and targeting by small molecule inhibitors



 

Office Address

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
1901 East Road
Unit Number: 1950
Houston, TX 77054
Room Number: 3SCR4.4121
Phone: 713-792-2989
Fax: 713-794-4316

Education & Training

Degree-Granting Education

1981 Delhi University, Delhi, Delhi, India, Ph.D., Biochemistry
1973 Kanpur University, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India, M.Sc., Botany
1971 Kanpur University, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India, B.Sc., Biology, Chemistry, Physics

Experience/Service

Endowed Positions

Ruby E. Rutherford Distinguished Professorship, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, 2011-present
Ashbel Smith Professorship, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, 2006-2011

Institutional Committee Activities

Chair, Promotion and Tenure Committee, Research Faculty Appointment Panel, 2012-present
Member, DoCM Women Faculty & Fellows Initiatives Advisory Council, 2012-present
Committee Member, Promotion and Tenure Committee, 2010-present
Experimental Therapeutics Academic Program, Executive Committee Chair, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, 2010-present
Steering Committee Member, Patient based Research/Clinical Sciences, Graduate School Biomedical Sciences, 2009-present
Program Coordinating Committee Member, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, 2009-present
Experimental Therapeutics Academic Program Director, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, 2009-present
Committee Member, Faculty Mentoring Advisory Committee, 2007-present
Organizational Committee, Experimental Therapeutics Seminar Series, 2007-present
Organizing Committee Member, Experimental Therapeutics Newsletter, 2005-present
Organizing Committee Member, Experimental Therapeutics Website, 2005-present
Organizing Committee Member, Division of Cancer Medicine Grand Rounds, 2005-present

Honors and Awards

2014 Member, The University of Texas MD Anderson Academy of Health Science Education
2013 Exceptional Leadership & Support as a Mentor, MD Anderson Alumni & Faculty Association
2013 Member, The University of Texas Kenneth I. Shine, M.D., Academy of Health Science Education
2013 Outstanding Women Scientist Award, American Association of Indian Scientists in Cancer Research
2012-2013 Outstanding Service and Dedication as Program Director, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
2012 Executive Development Seminar for Interim and Aspiring Leaders, AAMC
2012 The University of Texas System Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award - Health, The University of Texas System
2011-present Ruby E. Rutherford Distinguished Professorship, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
2011 Distinguished Research Faculty Mentor Award, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
2009-2010 Faculty Leadership Academy, MD Anderson Cancer Center
2009-2010 Gerald P. Bodey Award for Excellence in Education, Division of Cancer Medicine Faculty Recognition & Award Program
2007-2008 Potu N. Rao Award for Excellence in Basic Science, Division of Cancer Medicine Faculty Recognition & Award Program
2006-2011 Ashbel Smith Professorship, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
2005-2006 Robert M. Chamberlain Distinguished Mentor Award, Postdoctoral Association Steering Committee, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
2003-2004 Aventis Drug Development Award, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
2000-2003 NIH-RAID-II Award, NIH/NCI
1999-2002 E.N. Cobb Faculty Scholar Award, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
1998-2000 NIH-RAID-I Award, NIH/NCI
1976-1977 Senior Research Scholarship, University Grants Commission, University of Delhi
1974-1976 Junior Research Scholarship, University Grants Commission, University of Delhi
1973 M.Sc. Gold Medal Winner, Kanpur University

Professional Memberships

American Association for Advancement of Science
Member, 1992-present
American Association for Cancer Research
Member, 1988-present
American Association of Indian Scientists in Cancer Research
President, 2009-present
Vice President, 2007-2009
Secretary, 2001-2007
Member, 1998-present
American Society of Clinical Oncology
Member, 1991-present
American Society of Hematology
Member, 1992-present
American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET)
Regular Member, 9/2011-present
Indo American Cancer Association
Member, 2005-present
International Association of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring
Member, 1995-present
International Society of Nucleosides, Nucleotides & Nucleic Acids
Member, 2000-present
Women in Cancer Research
Member, 2000-present

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Original Research Articles

1. Chen LS, Redkar S, Taverna P, Cortes JE, Gandhi V. Mechanisms of cytotoxicity to pim kinase inhibitor, SGI-1776, in acute myeloid leukemia. Blood 118(3):693-702, 7/2011. e-Pub 5/2011. PMCID: PMC3142906.
2. Zhang H, Gogada R, Yadav N, Lella RK, Badeaux M, Ayres M, Gandhi V, Tang DG, Chandra D. Defective molecular timer in the absence of nucleotides leads to inefficient caspase activation. PLoS One 6(1):e16379, 2011. e-Pub 1/2011. PMCID: PMC3029307.
3. Lamba J, Crews KR, Pounds SB, Cao X, Gandhi V, Plunkett W, Razzouk BI, Lamba V, Baker SD, Raimondi SC, Campana D, Pui C-H, Downing JR, Rubnitz JE, Ribeiro RC. Identification of predictive markers of cytarabine response in acute myeloid leukemia by integrative analysis of gene-expression profiles with multiple phenotypes. Pharmacogenomics 12(3):327-339, 2011. PMID: 21449673.
4. Dennison JB, Shanmugam M, Ayres ML, Qian J, Krett NL, Medeiros LJ, Neelapu SS, Rosen ST, Gandhi V. 8-Aminoadenosine inhibits Akt/mTOR and Erk signaling in mantle cell lymphoma. Blood 116(25):5622-30, 12/2010. e-Pub 9/2010. PMCID: PMC3031409.
5. Balakrishnan K, Burger JA, Quiroga MP, Henneberg M, Ayres ML, Wierda WG, Gandhi V. Influence of bone marrow stromal microenvironment on forodesine-induced responses in CLL primary cells. Blood 116(7):1083-1091, 8/2010. e-Pub 5/2010. PMCID: PMC2938131.
6. Balakrishnan K, Verma D, O'Brien S, Kilpatrick JM, Chen Y, Tyler BF, Bickel S, Bantia S, Keating MJ, Kantarjian H, Gandhi V, Ravandi F. Phase 2 and pharmacodynamic study of oral forodesine in patients with advanced, fludarabine-treated chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Blood 116(6):886-892, 8/2010. e-Pub 4/2010. PMCID: PMC2924226.
7. Chen R, Chubb S, Cheng T, Hawtin RE, Gandhi V, Plunkett W. Responses in mantle cell lymphoma cells to SNS-032 depend on the biological context of each cell line. Cancer Res 70(16):6587-6597, 8/2010. e-Pub 7/2010. PMCID: PMC2929954.
8. Stellrecht CM, Ayres M, Arya R, Gandhi V. A unique RNA-directed nucleoside analog is cytotoxic to breast cancer cells and depletes cyclin E levels. Breast Cancer Res Treat 121(2):355-364, 6/2010. e-Pub 7/2009. PMID: 19641990.
9. Faderl S, Garcia-Manero G, Estrov Z, Ravandi F, Borthakur G, Cortes JE, O'Brien S, Gandhi V, Plunkett W, Byrd A, Kwari M, Kantarjian HM. Oral clofarabine in the treatment of patients with higher-risk myelodysplastic syndrome. J Clin Oncol 28(16):2755-2760, 6/2010. e-Pub 4/2010. PMID: 20421540.
10. Lyu MA, Rai D, Ahn KS, Sung B, Cheung LH, Marks JW, Aggarwal BB, Aguiar RC, Gandhi V, Rosenblum MG. The rGel/BLyS fusion toxin inhibits diffuse large B-cell lymphoma growth in vitro and in vivo. Neoplasia 12(5):366-375, 5/2010. PMCID: PMC2864474.
11. Chen LS, Du-Cuny L, Vethantham V, Hawke DH, Manley JL, Zhang S, Gandhi V. Chain termination and inhibition of mammalian poly(A) polymerase by modified ATP analogues. Biochem Pharmacol 79(5):669-677, 3/2010. e-Pub 10/2009. PMCID: PMC2812641.
12. Dennison JB, Ayres ML, Kaluarachchi K, Plunkett W, Gandhi V. Intracellular succinylation of 8-chloroadenosine and its effect on fumarate levels. J Biol Chem 285(11):8022-8030, 3/2010. e-Pub 1/2010. PMCID: PMC2832953.
13. Frey JA, Gandhi V. 8-Amino-adenosine inhibits multiple mechanisms of transcription. Mol Cancer Ther 9(1):239-245, 1/2010. e-Pub 1/2010. PMCID: PMC2806509.

Invited Articles

1. Balakrishnan K, Gandhi V. The micros in harmony: microRNA and microenvironment. Leuk Lymphoma 52(9):1626-9, 9/2011. e-Pub 7/2011. PMID: 21740342.
2. Chen LS, Balakrishnan K, Gandhi V. Inflammation and survival pathways: Chronic lymphocytic leukemia as a model system. Biochem Pharmacol 80(12):1936-1945, 12/2010. e-Pub 8/2010. PMID: 20696142.
3. Al-Kali A, Gandhi V, Ayoubi M, Keating M, Ravandi F. Forodesine: review of preclinical and clinical data. Future Oncol 6(8):1211-1217, 8/2010. PMID: 20799866.
4. Gandhi V, Mehta K, Pathak S, Ravindran B, Mishra S, Aggarwal BB. City of temples discusses signaling templates in cancer cells. Third International Symposium on Translational Cancer Research: Cell Signaling & Cancer Therapy. Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India, December 18th through 21st, 2009. Anticancer Res 30(6):2477-80, 6/2010. PMID: 20651411.
5. Ghanem H, Jabbour E, Faderl S, Gandhi V, Plunkett W, Kantarjian HM. Clofarabine in leukemia. Expert Rev Hematol 3(1):15-22, 2010. PMID: 21082931.

Grant & Contract Support

Title: Identify and develop therapeutic partners to combine with ibrutinib and determine changes in BCR pathway anti and pro-apoptotic proteins after ibrutinib treatment (PCYC-1115)
Funding Source: Pharmacyclics, Inc.
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 11/2014 - 10/2016
 
Title: Identify and develop therapeutic partners to combine with ibrutinib and determine changes in BCR pathway anti and pro-apoptotic proteins after ibrutinib treatment (PCYC-1117)
Funding Source: Pharmacyclics, Inc.
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 11/2014 - 10/2016
 
Title: Attacking the Specific Vulnerability of LKB1-mutant NSCLC to Energy Depletion Using an ATP Mimetic
Funding Source: The V Foundation for Cancer Research
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Principal Investigator: John V. Heymach
Duration: 11/1/2013 - 10/31/2016
 
Title: Pim Kinase Inhibition during Therapy
Funding Source: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 10/1/2013 - 9/30/2015
 
Title: Development of Ibrutinib for CLL - Flagship Project
Funding Source: The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Moon Shots Program
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 9/2013 - 8/2015
 
Title: Truncated Met Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Isoforms in Myeloma
Funding Source: Myeloma SPORE Career Development Program
Role: Mentor
Principal Investigator: Stellrecht
Duration: 9/1/2013 - 8/31/2014
 
Title: Novel Strategy to Activate Executioner Caspases in Multiple Myeloma
Funding Source: Multiple Myeloma SPORE Developmental Research Project
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 9/1/2013 - 8/31/2014
 
Title: Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Research Consortium, Project 2 - Biochemistry of Apoptosis
Funding Source: NIH/NCI
Role: Project Leader
Principal Investigator: Thomas Kipps
Duration: 9/1/2012 - 8/31/2017
 
Title: Mechanism-Based Combinations with GS-1101 in B-cell Malignancies
Funding Source: Gilead Sciences, Inc.
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 9/1/2012 - 8/31/2014
 
Title: Targeting Nitric Oxide Production for CLL Therapy
Funding Source: Center for Targeted Therapy
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 9/1/2012 - 8/31/2014
 
Title: Expression and Activation of Procaspase 3 in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Cells
Funding Source: Vanquish Oncology
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 6/1/2012 - 5/31/2013
 
Title: Investigation of Biomarkers for Pim Kinase Inhibition by AZD1208 in AML
Funding Source: AstraZeneca
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 3/1/2012 - 8/31/2013
 
Title: Targeting Met Tyrosine Kinase in Myeloma
Funding Source: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 10/1/2011 - 9/30/2015
 
Title: Expression of Metabolic Proteins and Nucleoside Transporters in AML Patients from Study SGI-110-01 from Other Centers
Funding Source: SuperGen, Inc.
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 9/1/2011 - 8/31/2013
 
Title: Expression of Metabolic Proteins and Nucleoside Transporters in AML Patients from Study SGI-110-01 at MDACC
Funding Source: SuperGen, Inc.
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 9/1/2011 - 8/31/2013
 
Title: Therapeutic Applications of 8-Substituted Adenosine Analogs in Lymphomas
Funding Source: American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship
Role: Mentor
Principal Investigator: Jennifer Dennison
Duration: 4/1/2011 - 3/31/2014
 
Title: Truncated Met Tyrosine Kinase Isoforms in Myeloma
Funding Source: Myeloma SPORE Career Development Project
Role: Mentor
Principal Investigator: Christine Stellrecht
Duration: 4/1/2011 - 3/31/2013
 
Title: Targeting Met Tyrosine Kinase in Multiple Myeloma
Funding Source: Myeloma SPORE Developmental Research Project
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 4/1/2011 - 3/31/2013
 
Title: Pim Kinase Inhibition as a Therapeutic Strategy for AML
Funding Source: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 10/1/2010 - 9/30/2013
 
Title: A Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Study to Evaluate the Safety and Feasibility of Continuous Infusion Nelarabine in Patients with Relapsed/Refractory Lymphoid Malignancies
Funding Source: GlaxoSmithKline
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 4/7/2010 - 4/30/2014
 
Title: Phase I Clinical and Pharmacodynamic Investigation of 8-Cl-Ado
Funding Source: Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 12/1/2008 - 11/30/2013
 
Title: Project 3: Pharmacodynamic Analysis of Sapacitabine Therapy
Funding Source: Leukemia SPORE
Role: Co-Investigator
Duration: 4/1/2008 - 4/30/2013
 
Title: Targeting Anti-apoptotic Proteins in CLL
Funding Source: US/European Alliance for the Therapy of CLL
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 3/1/2008 - 2/28/2013

Last updated: 9/29/2014