Veena N. Rao, PhD

Titles and Roles

Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Morehouse School of Medicine
Co-Director, Cancer Biology Program
Morehouse School of Medicine
Research Program
Discovery and Developmental Therapeutics


Veena N. Rao, PhD, is Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and serves as co-director of the Cancer Biology Program at Morehouse School of Medicine. Dr. Rao is a member of the Discovery and Developmental Therapeutics Research Program at Winship Cancer Institute.


Dr. Rao earned her PhD in Biochemistry from Osmania University, India with part of her thesis work completed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston; Max Planck Institute, Gottingen, West Germany; and University of Edinburgh, Scotland, U.K. She received a Master of Science in Biochemistry from Osmania University. She completed her postdoctoral training with a Fellowship in Molecular Biology at University of California, Berkley, and a Fellowship in Human Genetics at Yale University School of Medicine.


Dr. Rao has been working in the BRCA1 field from the time it was discovered and has several patents. She was the first to find evidence that BRCA1a induces cell death in breast cancer cells, and was also the first to introduce BRCA1a into triple negative breast cancer by gene therapy, successfully blocking tumor development in mice. Her current research is in the molecular and functional dissection of ELK-1 and BRCA1 tumor suppressor genes in breast, ovarian and prostate cancers.


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