Piyush Gupta, Ph.D.

p-gupta-new-300x300Associate Professor of Biology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Faculty Member
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Dr. Piyush Gupta received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Biology from MIT. He conducted post-doctoral research at the Broad Institute. Dr. Gupta was also a co-Founder of Verastem, Inc. and served as its Director and Scientific Advisory Board Member. Dr. Gupta is an expert in the application of genomic methods to cancer and has made seminal contributions to the understanding of cancer metastasis and cancer stem cells. Among other accomplishments, Dr. Gupta has developed methods that, for the first time, enable the systematic identification of chemical compounds that selectively kill cancer stem cells. His work has led to the identification of novel anti-cancer stem cell chemicals of potential therapeutic utility. Dr. Gupta’s research has appeared in leading scientific journals and has received international acclaim, including coverage by the MIT Technology Review, Bloomberg News, and as a lead story in the New York Times

Dr. Gupta studies the mechanisms that generate and maintain cellular diversity in adult tissues and how the subversion of these mechanisms contributes to cancer. His laboratory investigates the genetic and cellular processes that govern adult- and cancer stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. An improved comprehension of these processes is of fundamental interest in biology and would also facilitate the development of therapies for a broad range of diseases, including cancer. Using a combination of experimental, technological and computational approaches, the Gupta laboratory is developing novel methods to probe and elucidate the cellular and signaling processes that control mammary stem- and progenitor-cell behavior.

A second area of interest for Dr. Gupta’s lab is characterizing how perturbations in cell-state regulation contribute to cancer progression and therapy resistance. The Gupta Laboratory is working to elucidate the signaling mechanisms that facilitate entry of cancer cells into more primitive states. The laboratory is also studying the signaling mechanisms activated in these primitive states that enable cancer cells to become highly malignant. Additionally, Dr. Gupta is interested in the role of stochasticity in fate decisions at the single-cell level. His team is using a combination of experimental and computational approaches to build stochastic models of state transitions in cellular populations. These studies will shed light on how tissues maintain phenotypic equilibrium even with inherent randomness in molecular processes.