The VICC.ORG Investigator Directory

Nipun B. Merchant, M.D.

Professor of Surgical Oncology
VICC Member
Gastrointestinal Surgical Oncologist

Patient Contact Information:

Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center
The Vanderbilt Clinic, Room 1903
Nashville, TN 37232
Appointments: 615-322-2391
Further Information: 1-800-811-8480
Fax: 615-343-7622

Healthcare Provider Contact Information:

Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Division of Surgical Oncology
597 Preston Research Building, 2220 Pierce Avenue
Nashville, TN 37232-6860
Fax: 615-343-7622


Dr. Merchant's clinical practice encompasses all aspects of Surgical Oncology, with a special interest in gastrointestinal malignancies. His research interests include the identification of molecular markers of colorectal cancer.

Research Specialty:

Tumor-stromal interactions in colon cancer: The role of EGFR; COX-2 and bile acids

Research Description:

My lab seeks to understand tumor-stromal interactions involved in the initiation and progression of colorectal (CRC) to liver metastasis. Using an in vitro system which simulates in vivo conditions, we seek to determine the mechanism by which bile acids stimulate release of EGFR ligands from the cell surface and activate the EGFR and COX-2 expression in polarized epithelial CRC cells. This work is complemented using an in vivo mouse model of liver metastasis. With our mouse model we are also trying to identify genes involved in the metastasic process of CRC using genomic and proteomic approaches with microarray and imaging mass spectrometry as well as a reversible gene-trap method of identifying tumor suppresor genes involved in metastasis. In addition we are studying different methods of in vivo small animal imaging of tumors and their metastasis using In Vivo Bioluminescence Imaging with a luciferase reporter, CT scanning and PET scanning through a mutant dopamine receptor. This work is further translated into the clinical forum through several clinical trials involving COX-2 inhibitors, EGFR inhibitors and angiogenesis inhibitors in patients with CRC. Tumors obtained from patients with CRC are further analyzed to help determine the mechanisms by which these agents function and also to develop a comprehensive genomic and proteomic profile of tumors to identify the molecular signatures of these tumors.


  • M.D. - State University of New York at Brooklyn, 1990
  • Fellowship - Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1998
  • Residency - Temple University Hospital, 1996
  • Fellowship - Temple University Hospital, 1993
  • Internship - Temple University Hospital, 1991

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