Rita Nahta, PhD


Titles and Roles

Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology
Emory University School of Medicine
Research Program
Cell and Molecular Biology


Rita Nahta, PhD, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology at the Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Nahta is a member of the Cell and Molecular Biology Research Program at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.


Dr. Nahta received her PhD from Duke University in Durham, NC. She completed her postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, MA and then M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX.


Dr. Nahta's laboratory focuses on the biological and therapeutic implications of growth factor signaling crosstalk in breast cancer. Significant advances in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer include the development of therapies targeted against specific cancer-causing molecules. However, the success of these mono-targeted therapies is often limited by cross-talk between multiple signaling pathways. One molecule that is overexpressed in about 25% of metastatic breast cancers is the HER2/erbB2 oncogene. Approved treatments for HER2-overexpressing breast cancer include the HER2-targeted antibody trastuzumab and the dual EGFR/HER2 kinase inhibitor lapatinib. While both drugs successfully treat a percentage of HER2-overexpressing metastatic breast cancers, a significant number of patients show primary or acquired resistance to these treatments.

Dr. Nahta's laboratory is interested in understanding how cross-talk between HER2 and other growth factor signaling pathways affects the biology of HER2-overexpressing breast cancers, including how signaling cross-talk promotes resistance to trastuzumab and lapatinib. By understanding the basic signaling mechanisms contributing to therapeutic resistance, they can identify new molecular targets against which future drugs can be developed.


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