Institute for Health Disparities

Dr. JK Vishwanatha’s Lab

Vishwanatha Lab

Principal Investigator

jamboor vishwanatha













Jamboor K. Vishwanatha, PhD

Regents Professor and Vice President

Principal Investigator, National Research Mentoring Network

Director, Texas Center for Health Disparities

Center for Diversity and International Programs

Area of Expertise
My laboratory research focuses on two intersecting areas:
1) Molecular progression of breast and prostate cancers to aggressive phenotype,
2) Nanotechnology approaches for targeted therapeutics. In one of our studies, we are determining the role of exosomal annexin A2 in metastatic progression of breast and prostate cancers. In another project, we are studying how MIEN1 (a protein that was discovered in our lab) promotes migration and invasion of cancer cells leading to metastatic progression. We are also utilizing novel targeted nanodevices for treatment of bone metastatic prostate cancer and for metastatic triple negative breast cancer.




Lab Members





Pankaj Chaudhary, PhD
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Research Assistant Professor, Microbiology, Immunology & Genetics

My research focuses on various aspects of carcinogenesis, particularly the molecular mechanisms underlying triple-negative breast cancer growth and metastasis. A major focus of our work has been on investigating the molecular basis of Annexin A2 function in promoting triple-negative breast cancer metastasis and angiogenesis. Increased expression of Annexin A2 is commonly observed in triple-negative breast cancer. Our findings demonstrated that Annexin A2 overexpression is associated with racial variation and is a potential prognostic candidate for triple-negative breast cancer in African-American women. In addition, we identified Annexin A2 as a potential metastatic target protein in modulation triple-negative breast cancer tumor microenvironments. Currently, our laboratory is validating these findings and determining if Annexin A2 contributes to the disproportionate occurrence of triple-negative breast cancer and clinical outcome in African-American women. The long-term goal of our research is to develop improved therapeutic options for aggressive triple-negative breast cancer.


Amalendu Ranjan (1)

Amalendu Ranjan, PhD
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Assistant Professor, Microbiology, Immunology & Genetics

My research focuses on the development, characterization, and application of nanotechnology-based drug delivery systems that carry drugs to target sites in the body. The goal is to overcome the various therapeutic barriers using novel nano-platforms for the treatment of cancer and other diseases. My research centers on encapsulating various types of hydrophobic, hydrophilic, and small molecule drugs and imaging agents in nanoparticles and producing lab-scale and large-scale batches.
The three main areas of my research include:
1) Biomimetic drug delivery systems: bio-mimicking natures created by covering a polymeric nanoparticle with a cellular membrane extracted directly from cells;
2) Polymeric based nanoparticles: including the synthesis of targeted and non-targeted PLGA based nanoparticles. The targeting molecules such as peptides or antibodies may be attached using a linker which is either non-covalent or covalent to the polymeric or lipid surface using surface chemistry;
3) Curcumin Nanotherapeutics: we have developed various nanoformulations using curcumin and are actively working to improve these nanoformulations to provide an effective way to deliver this drug.



Srikantha Thyagarajan, PhD
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Research Assistant Professor, Microbiology, Immunology & Genetics



Current Research – Investigating Serum Exosomal Annexin A2 in Promoting Aggressive TNBC in African American Women



Priyanka Prakash Desai, PhD

Graduate Research Assistant

Current Research – Phosphorylation of AnxA2 at Tyrosine 23 is essential for its association with exosomes and for imparting migratory and invasive properties to breast cancer cells

Project Description: Annexin A2 (AnxA2), a calcium dependent phospholipid-binding protein, has been implicated in many cancers. Vishwanatha lab has previously shown that Annexin A2 (AnxA2) present on exosomes plays a pivotal role in increasing aggressiveness in TNBC, where AnxA2 forms a pre-metastatic niche and facilitates organ specific metastasis. With this intrigue base, studies were carried out on the phosphorylation status of AnxA2. Tyrosine(Y) 23 is known site for AnxA2 phosphorylation and it plays an important role in facilitating aggressiveness in triple negative breast cancer. So, for the above project phospho-mutants of AnxA2 were developed in a TNBC cell line and exosomes were isolated. The isolated exosomes were studied for the transfer of AnxA2 from the surface of phosphorylation mimicking cells and non-phosphorylating cells to the exosomal surface. Further, exosomal role was elucidated in in-vitro metastatic processes like migration, invasion and proliferation in other breast cancer cells.