Shanaya Patel is a postdoctoral fellow at the division of Biological and Life Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences. She has worked in the field of various projects emphasising the early diagnosis and prognosis of head and neck cancers since 2011. Head and neck cancer remains to be one of the unresolved problems of the Indian subcontinent with only 14 per cent of the cases being diagnosed in the clinics at stage-I. This immensely motivates her to identify non-invasive biomarkers and explore the field of liquid biopsies for early detection of head and neck cancers.
In her postdoctoral work (funded by the DST-SERB under the National Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme), she analysed transcriptome and miRNome profiles of tumour and salivary exosomes derived from oral cancer patients for early risk prediction using liquid biopsy approach. In her subsequent tenure as Research Associate (funded under the DBT-RA scheme), she identified clinically relevant miRNAs involved in chemo-resistance which would provide novel insights into the evolution of chemo-resistance in oral cancers.
Recently, she has been awarded the DBT/Wellcome Trust India Alliance Early Career Fellowship for her proposed research on developing cell free DNA (cfDNA) based non-invasive technology for early detection of head and neck cancers. This project will be conducted at Ahmedabad University in collaboration with HCG Comprehensive Cancer Hospital and Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University, USA. Once established, this technology can be used in various malignancies and have a clinical reach through the global community.