Gaorav Gupta, M.D., Ph.D.

Gaorav_GuptaAssistant Professor
Division of Radiation Oncology
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill School of Medicine

Dr. Gaorav Gupta received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University. He was Chief Resident in Radiation Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and was among the few 2013 recipients of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientists.

His lab studies DNA repair processes in cancer development, metastatic progression, and responses to therapy. The primary objective of the research is to understand the diverse mechanisms that give rise to genomically complex human cancers, and to exploit this information to develop more effective therapies. The lab currently focuses its attention on breast cancer, but ultimately hopes to extend the findings to other clinically important cancer types.

The DNA damage response (DDR) is an evolutionarily conserved network of DNA damage sensors, mediators, and effectors that is responsible for maintaining genomic integrity in the face of DNA damage. Recent insights from cancer genome sequencing projects have revealed the remarkable complexity and heterogeneity of genomic aberrations that are observed in human breast cancer. The molecular bases for this genomic instability remain largely unknown; however, recurrent patterns of mutational and structural aberrations implicate underlying defects in DNA repair processes that normally preserve genome integrity during cellular replication. Thus, Dr. Gupta contends, functional impairment of DDR pathways in sporadic cancers may be a major driver of genetic heterogeneity that fuels progression to metastatic and therapy-resistant disease. Dr. Gupta’s lab utilizes a variety of complementary approaches to tackle this complex topic, including breast cancer mouse models, primary mammary epithelial cell culture, DNA repair/checkpoint assays, RNAi- and CRISPR-based functional genetics, and next-generation sequencing.