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Farhad Vesuna, Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Farhad Vesuna, Ph.D.

Instructor of Radiology and Radiological Science

Research Interests: Breast cancer, metastasis, lung cancer, prostate cancer, medulloblastoma, colorectal cancer, transcription factors, TWIST1, DDX3X, patient-derived xenografts (PDX), bioinformatics more

Contact for Research Inquiries

Venu Raman Research Lab
720 Rutland Ave
Traylor 217C
Baltimore, MD 21205 map



  • Instructor of Radiology and Radiological Science

Departments / Divisions



  • Ph.D., University of Mumbai (India) (2001)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Vesuna’s primary research interest is in the field of breast cancer development with a focus metastatic progression. He has worked on deciphering the role of the TWIST1 gene and it’s targets in breast cancer, such as the estrogen receptor and E-cadherin.

Dr. Vesuna is also involved in studying the role of the DDX3X gene in breast, lung, prostate, and brain cancer development as well as developing chemotherapeutic molecules for targeting this gene in various cancers.


The Raman lab is within the Department of Cancer Imaging Research in the Department of Radiology and Radiological Science. 

The lab has synthesized (rational drug design) a small molecule inhibitor of DDX3 that shows great promise in treating a variety of cancer types such as lung, breast, brain, etc. In combination with radiation, we demonstrate synergistic effect to ablate tumor growth in an autochthonous preclinical lung cancer model. The drug was recently selected by the NCI to check the drug efficacy to kill cancer cells using the NCI-60 panel of cell lines.

Work has also demonstrated how ER negativity could be achieved by over-expression of Twist in breast cancer cells, and the in vitro finding was confirmed in breast cancer patient samples.


Technology Expertise Keywords

Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology

Selected Publications

View all on Pubmed

Twist contributes to hormone resistance in breast cancer by downregulating estrogen receptor-α. Vesuna F, Lisok A, Kimble B, Domek J, Kato Y, van der Groep P, Artemov D, Kowalski J, Carraway H, van Diest P, Raman V. Oncogene. 2012 Jul 5;31(27):3223-34

Twist modulates breast cancer stem cells by transcriptional regulation of CD24 expression. Vesuna F, Lisok A, Kimble B, Raman V. Neoplasia. 2009 Dec;11(12):1318-28.

Twist is a transcriptional repressor of E-cadherin gene expression in breast cancer. Vesuna F, van Diest P, Chen JH, Raman V. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Mar 7;367(2):235-41.


Compositions and Methods for Characterizing Breast Cancer
Patent # US Pat. 20,130,059,903 | 01/01/2013

Compositions and Methods for Characterizing Breast Cancer
Patent # WO Pat. 2,011,113,047 | 01/01/2011

Activities & Honors


  • Daxina Post-Graduate Scholarship, University of Mumbai (Bombay), India, 1992 - 1994
  • Lady Tata Memorial Senior Research Scholarship, 1998 - 2000
  • Junior Research Fellowship, University of Bombay, India, 2000 - 2002
  • Young Investigator Award, American Assoc. of Indian Scientists in Cancer Research, 2007
  • Young Investigator Award, American Assoc. of Indian Scientists in Cancer Research, 2009


  • American Association for Cancer Research, 2006

    The mission of the AACR is to prevent and cure cancer through research, education, communication, and collaboration. 

Videos & Media

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

TWIST protein plays a major role in controlling estrogen resistance in breast cancer, Summit Professional Education, November 2011.

Potential new 'twist' in breast cancer detection, Science Daily, December 2009.


Experimental drug delivers one-two punch to prostate cancer cells, EurekAlert!, November 2016.

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