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Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer CenterVanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

Utpal P.  Davé

Utpal P. Davé, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Medicine (Hematology/Oncology)
Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology

Contact Information:

Vanderbilt University Medical Center
2220 Pierce Ave, 777 PRB
Nashville, TN 37232-6307

  • M.D. - Northwestern University
  • Fellowship - National Institutes of Health
  • Fellowship - University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Internship - University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Residency - University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Research Specialty

Molecular genetics of leukemia and lymphoma

Research Description

My lab is interested in the oncogenic pathways that are deregulated in human T-cell neoplasms. These cancers can be divided based on the cell of origin into immature, T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias (T-ALL) and mature, peripheral T-cell Non-Hodgkin lymphomas. In T-ALL, we are focused on understanding the function of the LIM-domain-Only-2 (LMO2) gene which is deregulated in the majority of patients. Mouse knockout studies show that Lmo2 is required for the maintenance of the hematopoietic stem cells. We hypothesize that the pathways Lmo2 regulates in stem cells may also be induced in Lmo2-associated leukemias. Experiments are ongoing to explore this idea.

Our other projects address the mechanism of mature T-cell transformation by studying HTLV-1-induced disease. HTLV-1 is a complex retrovirus that induces leukemia or lymphoma in only 5% of infected carriers after a long latency of 30-50 years. This long latency in the setting of lifelong viremia is reminiscent of the slow transforming murine leukemia viruses that we are studying in mice. Likewise, we hypothesize that insertional mutagenesis may be an active mechanism of disease induction for HTLV-1. Another project involves the role of the IL-2/IL2RG pathway in leukemia induction. We hypothesize that gain of function mutations may be occurring in genes in this pathway as tumor progression events.

Our studies will shed light on the pathogenesis of T-cell neoplasms and may provide novel targets for diagnosis or therapy.