Mariana Mendez

mendez E-Mail: mariana-mendez@ouhsc.edu

PHONE:  405-271-2422

CITY/STATE/COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

Cochabamba, ​Bolivia

EDUCATION:

Health Sciences Faculty, Universidad Valle University, B.S. in Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sc., 2014

YEAR OF GRADUATE PROGRAM:

1

MENTOR:

Asish K. Ghosh, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Stephenson Cancer Center/Department of Pathology

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION:

B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most prevalent form of adult leukemia in the Western Hemisphere. While the current CLL therapies targeting the B-cell receptor signaling pathway are effective in managing the disease, these agents are not curative and resistance can develop. Therefore, further knowledge on other constitutively active receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) signaling pathways in CLL B-cells is important in order to develop new targeted therapies. Our lab focuses primarily on CLL B-cell biology and signaling, crosstalk between different cell survival signaling axes and interaction with its microenvironment. Previously, our lab discovered that active RTK AXL, a member of the TAM (Tyro3, AXL, MER) family of RTKs, is highly expressed in CLL B-cells. Thus, we are interested in studying the dynamics of expression/ activation of TAM family RTKs in CLL B-cells and if targeting these RTKs using small molecule inhibitors induces apoptosis in primary CLL B-cells and in vivo using a CLL mouse model. In addition, we are also interested in characterizing the role of extracellular vesicles in modulating CLL tumor microenvironment.