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Dipali Sharma, Ph.D., M.S.

Dipali Sharma, Ph.D., M.S.

Headshot of Dipali Sharma
  • Professor of Oncology

Research Interests

Breast Cancer; Microbiome; Metabolome; Novel therapeutics; Therapy resistance; Signaling Mechanisms; Bioactive Food Components; Racial Disparity; Metastasis; Obesity-Cancer Connection more


Dr. Dipali Sharma received her Bachelor’s in Science (honors) from the University of Delhi followed by Master’s in Science with specialization in Endocrinology and Biological Chemistry. She was awarded her Ph.D. degree in Molecular Biology/Oncology by the University of Delhi and School of Biotechnology, Jawaharlal Nehru University. She was invited to join the laboratory of Dr. Joseph Fondell in the University of Maryland as a postdoctoral fellow. Her second post-doctoral fellowship was conducted at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine where she was mentored by Dr. Nancy Davidson. She joined Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University as an Assistant Professor and started her own research program. She is currently a Professor of Oncology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the Department of Oncology and Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins. more


  • Professor of Oncology

Departments / Divisions

  • Oncology - Division of Women's Malignancies

Centers & Institutes



  • Ph.D.; College of Medicine Sci - University of Delhi - New Delhi - Delhi - (India) (1999)
  • B.S.; University of Delhi (India) (1991)
  • M.S.; University of Delhi (India) (1993)
  • M.S.; University of Delhi (India) (1994)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Sharma’s laboratory focuses on elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying breast cancer initiation and progression and developing various preventive and treatment strategies using mouse models and human samples. Areas of specific interest include understanding the molecular connections between breast cancer and obesity, racial disparities, and microbial dysbiosis. Obesity is an important risk factor for breast cancer—a 5-unit increase in BMI is associated with a 12 percent increase in breast cancer risk. In the United States, about 36 percent of adults are obese, and the prevalence is increasing globally. We are uncovering new pathways as well as developing strategies to abrogate obesity-breast cancer axis and improving therapeutic response in obese women. Racial disparity in breast cancer is clearly evident in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) with younger African American women exhibiting a disproportionately higher burden of TNBC, an aggressive subtype of breast cancer. The Sharma lab is working to understand the molecular wiring and examining novel drug combinations for African American women with TNBC. Microbial eubiosis and dysbiosis are of growing interest as we now appreciate that the number of microbial cells living within and on human body is roughly equal to the total number of human cells. While eubiosis is associated with normal functioning of the body, dysbiosis can impact disease progression as well as response to therapy. The Sharma lab has uncovered that a pro-oncogenic colon microbe potentiates breast cancer initiation and progression. Current projects aim to understand the mechanistic links between microbiota and breast cancer and develop strategies to harness bugs to modulate the response to drugs.

Clinical Trial Keywords

Breast Cancer, Obesity, Microbiome, Metabolome, Weight loss

Selected Publications

Parida S, Wu S, Siddharth S, Wang G, Muniraj N, Nagalingam A, Hum C, Mistriotis P, Hao H, Talbot CC Jr, Konstantopoulos K, Gabrielson KL, Sears CL, Sharma D. A Procarcinogenic Colon Microbe Promotes Breast Tumorigenesis and Metastatic Progression and Concomitantly Activates Notch and β-Catenin Axes. Cancer Discovery. 11(5):1138-1157, 2021. PMID: 33408241 

Nagalingam A, Siddharth S, Parida S, Muniraj N, Avtanski D, Kuppusamy P, Elsey J, Arbiser JL, Győrffy B, Sharma D.Hyperleptinemia in obese state renders luminal breast cancers refractory to tamoxifen by coordinating a crosstalk between Med1, miR205 and ErbB. NPJ Breast Cancer. 7(1):105, 2021. PMID: 34389732 

Muniraj N, Siddharth S, Shriver M, Nagalingam A, Parida S, Woo J, Elsey J, Gabrielson K, Gabrielson E, Arbiser JL, Saxena NK, Sharma D.Induction of STK11-dependent cytoprotective autophagy in breast cancer cells upon honokiol treatment. Cell Death Discovery. 6:81. 2020. PMID: 32963809 

Parida S, Sharma D. The power of small changes: Comprehensive analyses of microbial dysbiosis in breast cancer. Biochim Biophys Acta Rev Cancer. 1871(2):392-405. 2019. PMID: 30981803 

Sengupta S, Nagalingam A, Muniraj N, Bonner MY, Mistriotis P, Afthinos A, Kuppusamy P, Lanoue D, Cho S, Korangath P, Shriver M, Begum A, Merino VF, Huang CY, Arbiser JL, Matsui W, Győrffy B, Konstantopoulos K, Sukumar S, Marignani PA, Saxena NK, Sharma D. Activation of tumor suppressor LKB1 by honokiol abrogates cancer stem-like phenotype in breast cancer via inhibition of oncogenic Stat3. Oncogene, 2017.

Contact for Research Inquiries

Phone: 410-955-1345

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Pathobiology PhD Program

Cellular and Molecular Medicine PhD Program

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology PhD Program

Videos & Media

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

Gut Microbe May Promote Breast Cancers, Newsroom, (January 6, 2021)

Gut microbe may promote breast cancers, ScienceDaily (January 6, 2021)

Gut Microbe Found to Potentially Play a Role in Breast Cancer Development, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (January 7, 2021)

Gut microbe plays key role in development of some breast cancers, Hindustan Times (January 11, 2021)

Gut Microbe Associated with Colon Cancer May Also Play Role in Breast Cancer Development, Clinicalomics (January 8, 2021)

Hormone from Fat Cells Could Fight Breast Cancer, Emory University (June 15, 2009)

Curbing hormones' effects in obese patients could aid against breast cancer, Medical Xpress (December 1, 2008)

Curbing Hormones' Effects In Obese Patients Could Aid Against Breast Cancer, ScienceDaily (December 3, 2008)

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