Tumor Micro-Environment Lab



This lab focuses on the functioning of the tumor cells at the molecular level. Specifically, lab members are interested in understanding how the tumor cells communicate with its surroundings to attain a variety of malignant phenotypes, and if targeting of these tumor-stromal cell interactions could be exploited for cancer prevention and therapy. Another focus is to understand the molecular dissimilarities in tumors from patients of different racial backgrounds and investigate their roles in cancer health disparities.


ASingh lab resized.jpgFaculty and Staff

Ajay P. Singh, Ph.D.: Professor of Oncologic Sciences

Aamir Ahmad, Ph.D.: Research Assistant Professor- Non-coding RNAs, Epigenetics, Signal transduction

Sanjeev Srivastava, Ph.D.: Instructor- Non-coding RNAs, Transcription Factors, Cell Biology

Arun Bhardwaj, Ph.D.: Instructor- Protein phosphatases, Tumor-Microenvironment, Preclinical studies

Haseeb Zubair, Ph.D.: Postdoctoral fellow- Protein kinases, MicroRNAs, Signal transduction

Shafquat Azim, Ph.D.: Postdoctoral fellow- Gene regulation, bioinformatics, Signal transduction

Mohammad Aslam Khan, Ph.D.: Postdoctoral fellow- Tumor-drug interactions, Tumor Microenvironment, Signal transduction

Girijesh Patel, Ph.D.: Postdoctoral fellow- Proteomics, Cell-Cell communication, Exosomes

Courey Averett: Graduate student- Natural products, Cancer prevention and therapy

Mary Patton: Hypoxia, Gene regulation, Exosomes



  • Identified novel signaling nodes promoting tumor-stromal interactions as therapeutic targets
  • Identified novel tumor-suppressor microRNAs in pancreatic cancer
  • Characterized MYB as a novel molecular target in pancreatic cancer
  • Characterized PP2A as novel tumor suppressor in prostate cancer
  • Identified MYB as a candidate predictor for therapeutic refractoriness and prostate cancer racial disparities


Core labs

Small Animal Imaging


Current Funding

5U01CA185490: Molecular determinant of racial disparity in prostate cancer;
Role: Principal Investigator Funding Agency: National Institutes of Health/NCI (U01)
Goal: To investigate the role of Myb and underlying molecular mechanisms in prevalent prostate cancer racial disparity.

5R01CA175772: Targeting Tumor-Stromal Interaction for Pancreatic Cancer Therapy
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: National Institutes of Health/NCI (R01)
Goal: To investigate the therapeutic significance of targeting CXCL12-CXCR4 and hedgehog pathways in a combination therapy against pancreatic cancer.

MRI1428312: Acquisition of Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope System for Investigation and Characterization of Complex, Nanoscale Systems
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Goal: To acquire transmission electron microscope for shared usage in research and education at the University of South Alabama


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