Mukesh Nyati Laboratory

Drs. Mukesh & Lawrence

Professor Nyati received his PhD from the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India and post-doctoral training in Dr. Ted Lawrence’s laboratory at the University of Michigan. Dr. Nyati has been working on basic and translational as well as clinical aspects of EGFR signaling.  In the laboratory, Dr. Nyati is working on developing novel therapeutic agents including cell permeable peptides and their structural analogues to degrade EGFR. The main objective of this work is to sensitize tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) resistant EGFR-driven tumors by promoting tumor specific EGFR degradation through blocking EGFR dimers and EGFR- Hsp90 interactions. Dr. Nyati is also working in collaboration with both basic scientists and clinicians in the head and neck SPORE program at the University of Michigan to discover novel biomarkers of “response” to molecularly targeted therapy. The long-term goal of this research is to identify patients who are likely to respond to molecularly targeted therapies in combination with chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy early in the course of treatment so that the combination regimen is optimized.

Key Publications:

  • Elaimy AL, Ahsan A, Marsh K, Pratt WB, Ray D, Lawrence TS, Nyati MK. ATM is the primary kinase responsible for phosphorylation of Hsp90α after ionizing radiation. Oncotarget, 7(50):82450-82457, 2016
  • Ray D, Cuneo KC, Rehemtulla A, Lawrence TS, Nyati MK. Inducing Oncoprotein Degradation to Improve Targeted Cancer Therapy. Neoplasia, 17(9):697-703, 2015.
  • Ahsan A, Ray D, Ramanand SG, Hegde A, Whitehead C, Rehemtulla A, Morishima Y, Pratt WB, Osawa Y, Lawrence TS, Nyati MK. Destabilization of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) by a peptide that inhibits EGFR binding to heat shock protein 90 and receptor dimerization. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 288:26879-86, 2013. PMCID:PMC3772236 
  • Ahsan A, Ramanand SG, Bergin IL, Zhao L, Whitehead CE, Rehemtulla A, Ray D, Pratt WB, Lawrence TS, Nyati MK. Efficacy of an EGFR-specific peptide against EGFR-dependent cancer cell lines and tumor xenografts. Neoplasia, 16:105-14, 2014. PMCID:PMC3978391.

Lab Members:

Ranjit Kumar Mehta
Ranjit Kumar Mehta, PhD

Ranjit Kumar Mehta received his PhD degree from the School of Biotechnology, KIIT University, India. He primarily worked on methods to improve therapeutic properties of L-Asparaginase for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Dr. Mehta joined the Nyati Lab as a post-doctoral fellow in May of 2015. He is working on several research projects ranging from understanding the roles of Hsp90 alpha in response to DNA damage/repair to developing a novel approach to blocking EGFR dimer formation to destabilize EGFR protein as a unique approach to kill EGFR driven cancer cells. Dr. Mehta is also supervising all the students in Nyati laboratory. 

Merna Sitto
Merna Sitto, BS

Merna Sitto is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. She started working in the Lab as a sophomore student through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). She has worked on multiple projects under the training, supervision, and guidance of many research investigators and mentors. Her focus has been on specific EGFR mutations that cause a greater disparity in survival rates for lung cancer patients treated with commonly used chemotherapeutics. Merna has also been a part of social research projects that explore the barriers to preventative healthcare. In these projects, she was the interpreter and enumerator for a diverse pool of research subjects. Also, Merna has an extensive volunteering experience at the University of Michigan Health System through the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP). Through HELP, she takes care of patients who are at risk of dementia and depression and helps them stay mentally and physically active to have a fuller and faster recovery and stay as independent as possible post hospitalization. Prior to entering the University of Michigan, Merna graduated as an honor roll student from Walled Lake Central High School and was a member of the National Honor Society through which she helped with fundraisers and tutored students in math and the sciences, especially students who were learning English as a second language. 

Ranjit Mehta & Cuyler Dewar
Ranjit Mehta, PhD and Cuyler Dewar

Cuyler Dewar is from Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he graduated from Cheyenne Mountain High School in 2013. Cuyler then attended and recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor's degree in Biomolecular Sciences. Cuyler has been a part of the lab for a year and a half. While at the University of Michigan Cuyler won the ACCRA National Championship with the Men’s Club Rowing team. He also was an active member of the practice team for the Division One Women’s Basketball team at the University. In addition, he has spent numerous hours volunteering through the University Health System at Mott Children's Hospital. Cuyler is also an Eagle Scout.

Koushik Kondapi and Sanjay Koka
Koushik Kondapi (left) and Sanjay Koka (right)

Koushik Kondapi is a sophomore at the University of Michigan. He is pursuing a degree in Neuroscience, with a minor in Business. He has previously worked in the Raghavendran lab at the University of Michigan, exploring the effects of lung contusion in mice and the resulting immune response signaling pathways. Koushik also has extensive volunteering experience at both St. John’s Providence Park Hospital and in the University of Michigan Health System. Prior to attending the University of Michigan, he was a graduate of Novi High School’s Class of 2016. He was previously a U.S. Presidential Scholarship semifinalist and was a Southeast Michigan Best and Brightest high school graduate. He was also the organizer of a local book drive that donated thousands of books throughout the Metro Detroit area through United Way. He is currently a member of the University’s Club Tennis team and won the 2017 Club Tennis National Championship as a member of U of M’s team.

Sanjay Koka is an 11th  grade student at Northville High School. He is also a dual-enrolled student at Schoolcraft College. During winter, Sanjay is a part of the Northville Swim and Dive Team. He also sings in the choir and plays piano. Lastly, Sanjay is the President of the Schoolcraft Asian Students Association and founder of the Helping Hands Campaign. Through these two organizations, Sanjay has been able to raise money for the Schoolcraft Food Pantry and the MDS Suman College in Hyderabad, India.

Laboratory Lead