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You are here: Home Belfer Research Building Faculty Shahana Mahajan, Ph.D

Shahana Mahajan, Ph.D

Principal Investigator


Shahana S. Mahajan, Ph.D

Shahana S Mahajan

Ph.D Indian Institute of Science
Postdoctoral fellowship: Weill Cornell Medical College
NYU Langone School of Medicine


Department address: Brookdale Campus
Medical Laboratory Sciences
425 East 25th Street
Office Room # 702 W
Phone: (212) 571-4271


Lab address: Belfer Research Building
413 East 69th street
Office Room # 418
Lab: BB-452-F01, -G01, -H01
Lab: BB-452-F01, -G01, -H01
Lab phone: (212) 896-0454, (212) 896-0483
Office Phone: (212) 896-0453


Current Research Focus:

Osteosarcoma is a bone cancer prevalent in children and young adults. The survival rate of patients with metastatic disease is very low. Our lab in investigating drugs that are effective in killing metastatic osteosarcoma cells. Studies in our lab have shown Riluzole, a glutamate release inhibitor, as an effective drug to inhibit growth in osteosarcoma both in vitro and in vivo.  We have also shown that Riluzole induces apoptosis in osteosarcoma in in vitro cultures as well as primary osteosarcoma tumors in xenograft mouse model. We are currently working to determine the mechanism of action of Riluzole in osteosarcoma.


Ph.D Students:

Min A Kang

Min A Kang

I received my Bachelor's Degree in Biochemistry from the University of Washington. After completing my undergraduate degree, I started my career as a Research Assistant at Seattle Children's Research Institute for two years. After joining the lab, I was exposed more to clinical research, which increased my passion and desire for medical research and drug delivery. I am currently a doctoral student in the Biochemistry program at The Graduate Center, CUNY.

Research interest: My research interest involves nanomedicine and bio-nanotechnology/nanomaterials. I am currently studying how to reduce gene expression by delivering targeted siRNA with synthesized nano-particles.



Okkeun Jung

Okkeun Jung

I have completed my bachelor's and Master's degrees in Life science from Gachon University, South Korea. I have research experience in signaling in cancer cells. I have mainly conducted Molecular works such as PCR, western blot, Cloning, and cancer metastasis assay.

I am a doctoral student in the MCD program at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Currently, I am researching how Riluzole enhances radiation cancer therapy using bioinformatics.





Pooja Prakash Rao

Pooja Prakash Rao

I completed my bachelor's degree in Life science and Biochemistry from St. Xavier's college Mumbai and pursued my master's degree in Medical Biochemistry from Kasturba medical college, India. During this time, I worked on the anti-cancer activity of a medicinal plant on colon cancer, mainly focusing on its ability to inhibit the process of cell migration and angiogenesis, which are known to play important role in cancer metastasis.

I am currently in the Biochemistry PhD program at the Graduate Center, CUNY and my research interests lie in understanding the signaling in cancer and I want to work towards the development of therapeutic strategies for metastatic cancers.




Syeda Maryam Azeem

Syeda Maryam Azeem

After completing her undergraduate studies in India,Syeda Maryam Azeempursued her MS in the USA starting in 2015. She joined Dr. Kathleen Frey's lab in 2016 in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at Long Island University in Brooklyn. While working under Dr. Frey's supervision, Maryam developed her research interests in structural biology and X-ray crystallography. She used computational and structure-based methods for creating docking models, predicting mutations in the HIV Reverse Transcriptase enzyme, and analyzing protein-ligand interactions.

In 2018, she joined Dr. Daniel Keedy's lab as Research Assistant, where she focused on understanding how motions of protein structures influence ligand binding. She examined a set of different proteins called Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases which are involved in different diseases including diabetes, breast cancer, and Alzheimer's. 1n 2021, she joined Dr. Mahajan's lab to carry out her Ph.D thesis work.



Ph.D Rotation Students:

Praveena Naidu

Praveena Naidu

Praveena is a PhD student in Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology Program. She received a BSc in Biomedical Science from Imperial College London in 2019 with a specialisation in infection and immunity.

She then graduated with an MPhil from the University of Cambridge in 2020 studying placental macrophages across species. She spent the last year working in an RNA therapeutics lab at the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology at A*Star in Singapore, cloning plasmid constructs to validate splice-shifting oligonucleotide therapies. She rotated in the Mahajan lab in Spring 2022.




Thongthai Thavornwatanayon

Thongthai Thavornwatanayong

He obtained his BA at Rollins College in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and his MS in Biotechnology. His first research experience was with Dr. Kai McKinstry working on T cells and memory immunity against influenza virus, with the hope of gaining new knowledge that could be used to develop a long lasting vaccine. He then worked with Dr. Justine Tigno-Arajuez. Her lab, at the time, focused on the NOD immune signaling pathway in the context of asthma and autoimmunity. After his master's, he worked with Dr. Goel at the Cancer Center at Einstein College of Medicine in preclinical translational research for colorectal cancer.




Research Technician:

Shraddha ChandThakuri

Shraddha ChandThakuri

I graduated on December 2020 with my Bachelor's degree in Biology with a concentration in biomedical sciences from Troy University. I worked as an undergraduate research student in Dr. Park's microbiology lab researching pathogenic bacterial DNA in Mobile Bays and Dr. Kofman's bioinformatics lab investigating SNPs in microRNA target sites in human MET oncogene. These experiences helped me develop further interest in genetics and cancer biology. Currently, I am a research technician at Mahajan lab where I am learning about osteosarcoma, it's possible drug delivery mechanisms and other research methods. I plan to pursue my PhD in cancer biology or related fields in the near future.




Undergraduate Students:

Current Independent Study students:

  • Reina Mock Wu
  • Tamia Abbasi


Former Independent Study students:


Authorship on Peer-reviewed publication

Current position

Hira Gulzar


MD, Hospitalist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NY

Angelina Blyufer

First and Co-author

Medical Student, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University

Karen Chen


PhD student at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Zarina Yelskaya

First author

MS in Biology, Technologist II, Molecular Genetics at Memorial
Sloan Kettering Cancer Center New York City, New York

Murielle Houssou


Pursuing Masters in Public Health at CUNY, Cytogeneticist,
Pathology/Oncology at The Mount Sinai Hospital

Rahman Chowdhury

Second author

Laboratory Technician in the Brain Tumor Center at
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute

Marian Raghubir

First author on 2 publications

Clinical Lab Technologist at Montefiore Health System

Lyes  Ait Taouit


ASCP/AMT/NYS Certified Medical Technologist
Cincinnati Metropolitan Area 

Rifat Hasnat


Associate Laboratory Microbiologist at NYC Dept of Health
and Mental Hygiene

Lucas Cecilio


Medical Laboratory Technologist at NYP Hospital, New York, NY

Vangie Carrillo


Laboratory Coordinator Columbia University Fertility Center, NYC

Ewa Dubisz-Piekarski


Laboratory Coordinator at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai,
New York City

Sally Liao

First author

Medical Laboratory Technologist, Northshore University Hospital
New York City Metropolitan Area 

Yuriy Schvarts


Chemistry Supervisor, Lenco Diagnostic Labs, Brooklyn NYC

Stefan Silver


Associate Laboratory Microbiologist at NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Trisha Jaikaran


Blood Bank Technologist at Northwell Hospital, NYC Metropolitan Area

Khanh Thai


Hematology/Oncology Nurse Practitioner at NYU School of Medicine

Sonam Lhamo

First and Co-author

Medical technologist at New York Presbyterian

Iffat Tariq

First and Co-author

Laboratory Tech Intern, LabQ

Cassey Tam

First and Co-author

Laboratory intern at Mercy Medical Center, Long Island NY

Yuanqian He

Current student

Yesmim Chowdhury


Medical Laboratory Technologist

Kristina Kozlitina



Yuleisy Ruiz





Selected Publications:



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