Image by National Cancer Institute

Nayar Laboratory

Research. Teaching. Public Health.

The major reason people die of breast cancer is because their cancer has become resistant to targeted therapies (i.e. drugs that target a specific pro-growth molecule or pathway).

The Nayar Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University is dedicated to the study of therapeutic resistance in breast cancer. Equally important to our mission is the training of the next generation of cancer researchers. Our goal is to lessen the public health burden of breast cancer through science.



Therapeutic resistance in breast cancer

The Nayar laboratory is focused on the biology of therapeutic resistance in breast cancer. Dr. Nayar recently identified a subset of estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer that is resistant to ER-targeted therapy by acquiring mutations in the growth factor molecule HER2. The laboratory aims to understand the underlying mechanism(s) by which a tumor becomes resistant to targeted therapy, employing this subset of breast cancer as a model.

Open Book


Research projects currently available in the lab

DNA Strand

Transcriptional control of resistance

See: Jeselsohn et al., Cancer Cell 2018

We will use genomic footprinting technologies to study transcriptional networks in HER2-mutant breast cancer.

Oncogene variant-to-function

We will employ deep mutational scanning technologies to comprehensively characterize mutations in important oncogenes in breast cancer.

Image by National Cancer Institute
Image by National Cancer Institute

Therapeutic vulnerabilities of resistant breast cancer

We will employ whole-genome screening technologies to identify novel biological dependencies and therapeutic vulnerabilities in targeted therapy-resistant breast cancer.

Inflammation and breast cancer

See: No background readings available

We will explore the roles of inflammatory signaling in targeted therapy-resistant breast cancer.

Image by National Cancer Institute


Current Members of the Lab

The Nayar lab is looking for a research technician and a postdoctoral fellow to join the lab in 2021. Please contact us directly.


Utthara Nayar, PhD

Principal Investigator

Dr. Utthara Nayar earned her BS degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her PhD from Cornell University in NYC. She completed postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School, and started the Nayar laboratory at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in January 2021.

Utthara is a professionally-trained Indian classical dancer. She adores music, travel, food, and the arts. She is also (unfortunately?) a political junkie, and a sucker for rhetorical debates over beers.

Twitter: @UttharaNayar

Contact Us

Please contact us directly for job enquiries or other questions.

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