Goutham Narla, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor; Chief, Division of Genetic Medicine

Biography

Dr. Goutham Narla earned his BS from Santa Clara University in California and his MD and PhD from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. He also completed his residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Medical Genetics at Mount Sinai. After finishing his fellowship, he moved to Ohio in 2012 to work at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), Institute of Transformative Molecular Medicine, where he later become an Associate Professor with tenure. In July 2018, he joined the faculty at Michigan Medicine to become the seventh Chief of the Division of Genetic Medicine since the division’s inception in 1977. He currently serves as an Associate Director of the MSTP program here at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Narla has held several leadership positions, particularly focusing on education and training, both at Mount Sinai and CWRU. At Mount Sinai, he served as the Director of the Physician-Scientist Training Residency Program, Assistant Program Director of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), and was a member of the Medical School Admissions Committee. At CWRU, Dr. Narla sat on the MSTP Steering Committee and the Pharmacology Steering Committee. In 2012, he was named the first Harrington Distinguished Scholar (Early Career Award). He is currently the President of The Young Scientist Foundation, and a member of the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Society for Clinical Investigation.

While in medical school, Dr. Narla trained in Dr. Scott Friedman’s laboratory at Mount Sinai, where he first discovered the KLF6 gene and its ability to suppress cancerous tumors. His current research focuses on the identification and characterization of the key negative regulators, tumor suppressor proteins, of cancer development and progression, and the development of small molecule-based therapies that activate tumor suppressor genes for the treatment of cancer. To date, Dr. Narla has authored 11 patents. He has over 65 publications in journals including Nature Genetics, Science, Science Translational Medicine, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Research Interests

My research interests are in the study of the mechanisms that regulate oncogene and tumor suppressor function in human cancer. Specifically, my research focuses on understanding the mechanisms driving human cancer development and progression and has led to: 1) the identification of a new class of tumor suppressor genes in human cancer (the Kruppel-like factor family of genes), 2) the characterization of novel mechanisms of tumor suppressor gene inactivation in cancer progression (alternative splicing into dominant negative oncogenic splice variants), 3) the development and validation of pharmaceutically tractable strategies to reactive tumor suppressor gene function for the treatment of a broad range of human cancers, and 4) the functional and biological mechanisms of PP2A inactivation in human cancer. This work has been published in some of the top scientific journals including Science, Nature Genetics, The Journal of Clinical Investigation, Nature Communications, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Science Translational Medicine, an indication of both the novelty and potential impact of these scientific findings. I have been awarded a NIH R01 and DOD Synergistic Idea Development Award for these efforts specifically in this areas of prostate cancer treatment. More importantly, these studies span the continuum of biomedical research starting from fundamental mechanism-driven laboratory-based studies directed at identifying novel cancer genes to the translation of these findings into the development of new drugs for cancer treatment. These novel small-molecule tumor suppressor gene activators represent the first, to our knowledge, example of drugs that directly bind and activate tumor suppressor genes for cancer treatment and provide the mechanistic and translational framework/foundation to develop entire classes of drugs directed at the key negative regulators of oncogenic signaling, an area that to date has not been the focus of major drug development efforts. We have recently demonstrated and published that these small molecule PP2A activators target the androgen receptor for degradation in a series of cell based and in vivo models of prostate cancer. In addition, my clinical interests and practice is in the field of medical genetics where I care for high-risk cancer patients, including prostate, breast, ovarian and colon cancer patients. I was recently awarded the Diekhoff Mentoring Award for my efforts here at Case Western Reserve University. Several of my students have been awarded NIH F grant and a HHMI medical student fellowship.
 

Publications