Pomila Singh, PhD Professor

SinghPomila 2017Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology, & Anatomy
10.104 Medical Research Building (MRB)
Route: 1043  |  Tel: (409) 772-4842 | posingh@utmb.edu

Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Anatomy (Primary)
Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Sealy Center for Cancer Biology
Department of Internal Medicine 

Education and Training

PhD in Reproductive Biology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, India

Post-Doctoral in Endocrinology, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, Georgia

MS in Zoology, Delhi University, Delhi, India BS in Zoology, Delhi University, Delhi, India

Research Interests

Basic Science Research: Dr Pomila Singh received her PhD degree in Endocrinology and Biochemistry, and trained as a Postdoctoral Fellow in neuroendocrinology. She was recruited as an Assistant Professor by UTMB in 1983, and concurrently served as the Director of Hormone receptor laboratory, until 1990. Within seven years of joining UTMB, she was promoted and tenured to the level of Full Professor. From 1983-2017 (for a total of 34 years), Dr Singh remained continuously funded as the PI of several RO1 grants from the NCI. Her laboratory has so far published 145 peer-reviewed papers and invited articles/book chapters. She has expertise in the areas of cell and molecular biology of solid tumors, cancer stem cells, colon carcinogenesis, chemoprevention and epigenetics of cancer cells. She has trained many graduate students and post-graduate trainees. Her laboratory is credited with several new discoveries and paradigm-shifting concepts. She has so far received seven patents for cancer treatment and diagnosis. One of her technologies was licensed in 2012, and another licensed in 2018. She is serving on the board of CLICK-S, a company formed on the basis of her recent patent.

Her research interests include: delineating mechanisms mediating inhibitory effects of chemo preventive dietary agents against cancer stem cells and mechanisms by which DCLK1, a cancer stem cell marker, exerts tumorogenic/metastatic effects on colon and pancreatic cancers. Her laboratory is currently investigating diagnostic/prognostic use of their patented antibodies/markers for predicting risk of the patients for developing colon cancers, and developing strategies for targeting cancer stem cells.

Medical and Graduate Education: Besides her research contributions, Dr Singh is also serving as the Program Director of Cell Biology Graduate Program, and she is heavily involved in didactic teaching for both the medical and graduate schools. She has served on several study sections for the NIH and the VA, and has received research, teaching and service awards. She was named the Edna Seisenheimer Professor of Cancer Studies, and has received a teaching professorship. She is an active member of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) and American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), since 1983. The AGA Institute named her a Senior AGA Fellow, in 2007. 

Selected Publications

Singh, P., Muldoon, T.G. Specific estrogen-sensitive alterations in anterior pituitary cytoplasmic and nuclear estrogen receptors activated by LHRH. Neuroendocrinology 37(2):98-105, 1983.

Singh, P., Owlia, A., Varro, A., Dai, B., Rajaraman, S., Wood, T. Gastrin gene expression is required for the proliferation and tumorigenicity of human colon cancer cells. Cancer Res. 56(18):4111-4115, 1996.

Singh, P., Velasco, M., Given, R., Varro, A., Wang, T. Progastrin Expression Predisposes Mice to Development of Colon Carcinomas and Andenomas in Respose to AOM. Gastroenterology 119(1):162-171, 2000.

Wu, H., Rao, G.N., Dai, B., Singh, P. Autocrine Gastrins in Colon Cancer Cells Up-regulate Cytochrome c Oxidase Vb (Cox Vb) and Down-regulate Efflux of Cytochrome c (cyt c) and Activation of Caspase 3. J. Biol. Chem. 275(42):32491-32498, 2000.

Shen, Q., Singh, P. Identification of a novel SP3 binding site in the promoter of human IGFBP4 gene: role of SP3 and AP-1 in regulating promoter activity in CaCo2 cells. Oncogene 23(14):2454-2464, 2004.

Singh, P., Wu, H., Clark, C. and Owlia, A. Annexin II binds progastrin and gastrin like peptides, and mediates growth factor effects of autocrine and exogenous gastrins on colon cancer and intestinal epithelial cells. Oncogene 26(3):425-440, 2007. 

Umar, S., Sarkar, S., Wang, Y., Singh, P. Functional cross-talk between beta-catenin and NFkappaB signaling pathways in colonic crypts of mice in response to progastrin. J. Biol. Chem. 284(33):22274-84, 2009.

Sarkar, S., Swiercz, R., Kantara, C., Hajjar, K.A. and Singh, P. Annexin A2 mediates up-regulation of NFkB, beta-catenin, and stem cell in response to progastrin in mice and HEK-293 cells. Gastroenterology 140(2):583-595, 2011. 

Kantara, C., O'Connell, M., Sarkar, S., Moya, S., Ullrich, R., Singh, P. Curcumin promotes autophagic survival of a subset of colon cancer stem cells, which are ablated by DCLK1-siRNA. Cancer Res. 74(9):2487-98, 2014.

O'Connell, M.R., Sarkar, S., Luthra, G.K., Okugawa, Y., Toiyama, Y., Gajjar, A.H., Qiu, S., Goel, A., Singh, P. Epigenetic changes and alternate promoter usage by human colon cancers for expressing DCLK1-isoforms: Clinical Implications. Sci. Rep. 5:14983, 2015.

Sarkar S, O'Connell MR, Okugawa Y, Lee BS, Toiyama Y, Kusunoki M, Daboval RD, Goel A, Singh P. FOXD3 Regulates CSC Marker, DCLK1-S, and Invasive Potential: Prognostic Implications in Colon Cancer. Mol Cancer Res. 2017 Dec; 15(12):1678-1691.

Link to PubMed Publications