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Faculty Research


Principal Investigator

Shahana Mahajan, Ph.D

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 Building
413 East 69th street
Office Room #418

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

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.

Syeda Mariam Azeem

After completing her undergraduate studies in India, Syeda Maryam Azeem pursued 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. In 2021, she joined Dr. Mahajan's lab to carry out her Ph.D thesis work.



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

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 cancer.

Rotation Students

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 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

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

Tamia Abbasi
Lupa Begum

Former Independent Study students

Name Authorship on Peer-reviewed publication Current position
Hira Gulzar Co-author 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 Co-author 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 Co-author 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 Co-author ASCP/AMT/NYS Certified Medical Technologist Cincinnati Metropolitan Area 
Rifat Hasnat Co-author Associate Laboratory Microbiologist at NYC Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene
Lucas Cecilio Co-author Medical Laboratory Technologist at NYP Hospital, New York, NY
Vangie Carrillo Co-author Laboratory Coordinator Columbia University Fertility Center, NYC
Ewa Dubisz-Piekarski Co-author 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 Co-author Chemistry Supervisor, Lenco Diagnostic Labs, Brooklyn NYC
Stefan Silver Co-author Associate Laboratory Microbiologist at NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Trisha Jaikaran Co-author Blood Bank Technologist at Northwell Hospital, NYC Metropolitan Area
Khanh Thai Co-author 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 Co-author Medical Laboratory Technologist
Kristina Kozlitina Co-author
Yuleisy Ruiz Co-author

Selected Publications

Min A Kang, Hiroshi Matsui and Shahana S. Mahajan Delivery of mGluR5 siRNAs by Iron Oxide Nanocages by Alternating Magnetic Fields for Blocking Proliferation of Metastatic Osteosarcoma Cells. International Journal of Molecular Science, Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23, 7944.

Riluzole-induced apoptosis in osteosarcoma is mediated through Yes-associated protein upon phosphorylation by c-Abl Kinase.
Raghubir M, Azeem SM, Hasnat R, Rahman CN, Wong L, Yan S, Huang YQ, Zhagui R, Blyufer A, Tariq I, Tam C, Lhamo S, Cecilio L, Chowdhury Y, ChandThakuri S, Mahajan SS. Sci Rep. 2021 Oct 25;11(1):20974.

Riluzole: A neuroprotective drug with potential as a novel anti-cancer agent (Review).
Blyufer A, Lhamo S, Tam C, Tariq I, Thavornwatanayong T, Mahajan SS. Int J Oncol. 2021 Nov;59(5):95.

Osteosarcoma growth suppression by riluzole delivery via iron oxide nanocage in nude mice.
Raghubir M, Rahman CN, Fang J, Matsui H, Mahajan SS. Oncol Rep. 2020 Jan;43(1):169-176.

Osteosarcoma cell proliferation and survival requires mGluR5 receptor activity and is blocked by Riluzole.
Liao S, Ruiz Y, Gulzar H, Yelskaya Z, Ait Taouit L, Houssou M, Jaikaran T, Schvarts Y, Kozlitina K, Basu-Roy U, Mansukhani A, Mahajan SS. PLoS One. 2017 Feb 23;12(2):e0171256.

The Effect of Cage Shape on Nanoparticle-Based Drug Carriers: Anticancer Drug Release and Efficacy via Receptor Blockade Using Dextran-Coated Iron Oxide Nanocages.
Rampersaud S, Fang J, Wei Z, Fabijanic K, Silver S, Jaikaran T, Ruiz Y, Houssou M, Yin Z, Zheng S, Hashimoto A, Hoshino A, Lyden D, Mahajan S, Matsui H. Nano Lett. 2016 Dec 14;16(12):7357-7363.

Synergistic inhibition of survival, proliferation, and migration of U87 cells with a combination of LY341495 and Iressa.
Yelskaya Z, Carrillo V, Dubisz E, Gulzar H, Morgan D, Mahajan SS. PLoS One. 2013 May 27;8(5):e64588.

Sucrose ingestion induces rapid AMPA receptor trafficking
David S Tukey, Jainne M Ferreira, Shannon O Antoine, James A D'amour, Ipe Ninan, Soledad Cabeza de Vaca, Salvatore Incontro, Charlotte Wincott, Julian K Horwitz, Diana T Hartner, Carlo B Guarini, Latika Khatri, Yossef Goffer, Duo Xu, Roseann F Titcombe, Megna Khatri, Dave S Marzan, Shahana S Mahajan, Jing Wang, Robert C Froemke, Kenneth D Carr, Chiye Aoki, Edward B Ziff. J Neuroscience 2013 Apr 3;33(14):6123-32.

Exposure of neurons to excitotoxic levels of glutamate induces cleavage of the RNA editing enzyme, adenosine deaminase acting on RNA 2, and loss of GLUR2 editing.
Mahajan SS, Thai KH, Chen K, Ziff E. Neuroscience. 2011 Aug 25;189:305-15.

Reactome: a database of reactions, pathways and biological processes
David Croft, Gavin O'Kelly, Guanming Wu, Robin Haw, Marc Gillespie, Lisa Matthews, Michael Caudy, Phani Garapati, Gopal Gopinath, Bijay Jassal, Steven Jupe, Irina Kalatskaya, Shahana Mahajan, Bruce May, Nelson Ndegwa, Esther Schmidt, Veronica Shamovsky, Christina Yung, Ewan Birney, Henning Hermjakob, Peter D'Eustachio, Lincoln Stein Nucleic Acids Research 2011 Jan;39(Database issue):D691-7.

Reactome knowledgebase of human biological pathways and processes
Lisa Matthews, Gopal Gopinath, Marc Gillespie, Michael Caudy, David Croft, Bernard de Bono, Phani Garapati, Jill Hemish, Henning Hermjakob, Bijay Jassal, Alex Kanapin, Suzanna Lewis, Shahana Mahajan, Bruce May, Esther Schmidt, Imre Vastrik, Guanming Wu, Ewan Birney, Lincoln Stein, Peter D'Eustachio Nucleic Acids Research 2009 Jan;37(Database issue):D619-22.

Novel toxicity of the unedited GluR2 AMPA receptor subunit dependent on surface trafficking and increased Ca2+-permeability.
Mahajan SS, Ziff EB.Mol Cell Neurosci. 2007 Jul;35(3):470-81.

« June 2024 »

MLS offers an Advanced Certificate in Cytotechnology in collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). The application deadline for Fall 2024 admission has been extended to May 1st, 2024. For application details, please visit Hunter College's Graduate Admissions here.  

The Fall 2024 application deadline for the Masters in Biomedical Laboratory Management (BLM) is April 15th, 2024. Non-degree options are also available. For application details, please visit Hunter College's Graduate Admissions at

The Fall 2024 application for the Advanced Certificate in Medical Technology (AC) has a deadline of March 1st, 2024.