Sonia Das

Sonia Das
BPharm, Pharmacy
University Institute of Chemical Technology
Mumbai University
Mumbai, India
PhD, Medicinal Chemistry
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Minneapolis, MN
Research Associate
Gail Sonenshein, PhD, Adviser



Around 12.2 percent of women born in the United States today will develop breast cancer at some time in their lives. It is estimated that 5%-10% of breast cancer cases result from inherited mutations, including those in the breast cancer susceptibility genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. Compared to women without a family history, risk of breast cancer is 1.8 times higher for women with one first-degree female relative who has been diagnosed, nearly 3 times higher with two relatives, and nearly 4 times higher with three or more. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has been proposed to be involved in carcinogenesis because of its high susceptibility to mutations and limited repair mechanisms in comparison to nuclear DNA. Another important fact about mitochondrial DNA is that it is maternally inherited. Therefore, it is possible that the mitochondrial DNA holds the key to early detection in breast cancer. My research goal is to determine the role of mtDNA mutations in breast cancer and find specific mutations that can be used as prognostic markers for breast cancer. MicroRNAs are a family of small, non-coding RNAs that function as negative gene regulators. They control hundreds of gene targets and have been shown to repress the expression of important cancer-related genes. Hence, we are also interested in looking into miRNA’s present in the mitochondria and their role in tumor progression in breast cancer.

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