Dr. Venu Raman is a Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the Department of Radiology and Radiological Science and Department of Oncology and a member of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. He is affiliated with the Johns Hopkins Medicine In vivo Cellular Molecular Imaging Center and is the Director of Molecular Therapeutics-Division of Cancer Imaging. His research focuses on developmental breast cancer biology. Dr. Raman’s work on deciphering the role of HOXA5 and Twist in breast cancer formation is widely recognized both nationally and internationally.
His current research focuses on translating basic research findings to the clinic and incorporating multi-modality tools to identify novel druggable targets for cancer treatment. In their quest to characterize cellular pathways that are essential for the oncogenic state, his laboratory has focused on helicases, which are dysregulated in many cancer types. One of the helicase genes they are working on is referred to as DDX3, which is overexpressed in many cancer types and has been associated with lower survival. To target DDX3, his team has synthesized a DDX3 inhibitor, RK‐33, which can potentially be used in cancer treatment. Binding of RK‐33 to DDX3 impedes the function of DDX3, resulting in activation of cell death pathways, inhibition of the Wnt‐signaling pathway, and abrogation of non‐homologous end‐joining (NHEJ) activity. In combination with radiation, synergistic cell death effects have been observed both in vitro and in multiple preclinical cancer models. The group is continuing development of RK-33 as a potential new drug for cancer treatment. In addition, he has been awarded several patents for his research and inventions related to cancer biology.
Dr. Raman received his undergraduate degree in microbiology from the University of Bombay and his Masters in microbiology from the University of Baroda. He earned his Ph.D. in molecular biology and biochemistry from the University of New South Wales, Australia. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at The Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology from Indiana University and followed that with a research fellowship at The Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Raman joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2000.