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Phone: (404) 489-9993
Professor and Co-Director of the Cancer Biology Program, Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar, Department of OB/GYN, Morehouse School of Medicine. Dr. Rao received her Ph.D. from Osmania University, Hyderabad, India. Some of her PhD work was done at Max Planck Institute in Germany, University of Edinburgh, Scotland and MIT, Boston. She completed her postdoctoral work in the University of California, Berkeley and Yale University School of Medicine. She was a Forgarty International fellow at the Molecular Oncology lab at the NCI, where she and her colleague Dr Reddy cloned the ERG gene which was recently shown to be involved in prostate cancer. Later she was an Assistant Professor at the Fels Institute, Temple University where she and her collaborator Dr Reddy cloned the Elk-1 gene. She was an Associate Professor at Jefferson Medical College where she identified and cloned the BRCA1 isoforms and then became Professor and Co-Director of the Division of Cancer Genetics at Drexel University.
This dizzying run led to her recruitment as the State of Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar at Morehouse School of Medicine. She has a patent on the BRCA1 splice variants. Dr. Rao is a recipient of the 2005 Emerald's Honor Senior Investigator award and 2006 Trail Blazer award by Minorities in Research, Science Spectrum Magazine. She was selected to receive the 2007 National Women of Color in Technology award for research leadership. There was a national press release on her recent work on using gene therapy in Triple Negative breast cancers which is common among young African American and Hispanic women with breast cancers. Her research interests are in the area of ELK-1 and BRCA1 tumor suppressor genes and their role in breast, ovarian and prostate cancers.