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March 14, 2016 - Meet the Researcher: Komaraiah Palle, Ph.D.

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WHO HE IS: Dr. Palle is an assistant professor of oncologic sciences and an Abraham Mitchell Cancer Research Scholar. He is also an adjunct assistant professor of pharmacology at the USA College of Medicine.

WORK HISTORY: Dr. Palle worked as a research associate and assistant professor in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill from 2009 to 2012, when he was recruited to MCI. He completed his postdoctoral studies at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Nashville, Tenn., in 2009.

RESEARCH INTERESTS: His work focuses on DNA damage response and repair networks signaling in carcinogenesis, drug resistance and molecular cancer therapeutics. This includes DNA replication, cell cycle regulation during oncogenic and genotoxic stress.

LATEST RESEARCH: Dr. Palle and his team investigate basic and translational aspects of DNA repair and cell cycle checkpoint networks. The basic science projects in Dr. Palle’s lab focus on understanding the cellular mechanisms that lead and protect cells from the genetic mutations and chromosomal abnormalities that cause cancer. DNA damage responses and repair networks are also known as tumor suppressors, which protect chromosomal DNA from environmental and metabolically generated genotoxins in normal cells.

In contrast, tumor cells also acquire resistance to chemo and radiation therapy by the altered regulation of cell cycle checkpoints and DNA repair networks. These mechanisms are differentially regulated in tumor cells, particularly in the context of oncogenic or growth factor signals they adopt. The translational research projects in Dr. Palle’s lab identify key regulators of DNA repair networks in cancer cells and develop therapy combinations to kill tumor cells by using chemo and radiation.

EDUCATION: Dr. Palle earned a B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from Kakatiya University (Warangal, India), an M.S. in Biotechnology from Acharya Nagarjune University (Guntur, India) and a Ph.D. in Genetics from Osmania University (Hyderabad, India).

FUN FACTS: Dr. Palle is originally from Hyderabad, India. “My parents wanted me to become a software engineer, but during my college days, I was inspired by biology teachers and attracted to biomedical sciences and research,” he said, “which led me to do Ph.D. and to seek an academic and research career.”

Outside of work, he enjoys gardening, traveling, cooking, playing cricket and spending time with his wife and son.


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