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Colloquium Speaker: Professor Kshitiz Gupta, Biomedical Engineering, Univ. Connecticut Health

Kshitiz Gupta
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How mammals solved the problem of cancer malignancy

Abstract: Biology rhymes with recurrent themes. A mechanism present in one physiology is often utilized in another context towards a different phenotype. Often a phenotype normal in one context is pathological in another. These recurrent themes are commonly found to be (mis) utilized in the cancer metastatic cascade, where the uncontrolled growth and malignant spread of cancer cells is predicated on utilizing many physiologically normal mechanisms towards a wrong end. In this talk, we will explore a remarkable correlation that exists between the evolution of pregnancy in mammals and the rate of cancer malignancy in these species. By placing fibroblasts as central players in regulating placental or cancer invasion, we have begun to explore the stromal mechanisms that have evolved to regulate epithelial invasion. Our nascent works have shed a newer light at the invasive processes at the maternal-fetal interface, bringing the enquiry on comparative placentation, as well as pregnancy related diseases and cancer metastasis together on the same platform.

Biography: Kshitiz is an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering, University of Connecticut Health. He completed his B.Tech. in Computer Science & Engineering in IIT Bombay, India, and subsequently a PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine with Dr. Andre Levchenko and Dr. Gregg Semenza working on hypoxia and mechanobiology. He took a brief time off for a startup working on a device to mature cardiomyocytes for drug screening. Thereafter he came to Yale University at the Institute of Systems Biology as an Instructor and joined UConn Health as it started its BME program in 2018. His group works primarily on cancer microenvironment, hypoxia, and pregnancy, and is a recipient of the NCI MERIT award. Kshitiz is a published poet, and a professional classical dancer.

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