Molecular Pharmacology Program

The Karuna Ganesh Lab


Karuna Ganesh
Karuna Ganesh, MD, PhD
Medical Oncologist

Metastasis causes >90% of cancer death.  The emergence, persistence, therapy resistance and lethality of metastatic cancer is driven by dynamic and tenacious metastasis stem cells (MetScs). The Ganesh lab focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that underlie the emergence of regenerative plasticity during metastasis.  We employ cutting edge patient-derived organoid and mouse models of colorectal cancer, transcriptomic, epigenomic and single cell approaches, and mechanistic studies to: (1) elucidate how tumor invasion and dissemination induce phenotypic plasticity enabling the emergence of pro-metastatic regenerative traits (2) dissect the role of stromal cells, including immune cells, in promoting and constraining MetSC plasticity (3) define key signaling nodes that drive MetSC plasticity and develop therapeutic strategies for targeting such vulnerabilities and (4) collaborate with clinicians to understand mechanisms of therapy resistance in metastasis.


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Karuna Ganesh

Karuna Ganesh, MD, PhD

Medical Oncologist

  • Physician-scientist Karuna Ganesh studies stem cell plasticity in metastasis, therapy resistance and tissue regeneration.
  • MD, PhD, University of Cambridge (UK)
[email protected]
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Sasha Balkaran
Sasha Balkaran

Research Technician

Jonathan Bermeo
Jonathan Bermeo

Lab Manager

Francesco Cambuli
Francesco Cambuli

Research Fellow

Saskia Hartner
Saskia Hartner

Graduate Research Assistant

Qingwen Jiang
Qingwen Jiang

Research fellow

Kathleen Luckett

MD/PhD Student

Ahmed Mahmoud
Ahmed Mahmoud

Graduate Student, Weill Cornell Pharmacology Program

Lab Alumni
Simran Asawa
Simran Asawa

PhD student, ETH Zurich

Narmen Azazmeh
Narmen Azazmeh

Postdoctoral Fellow, Dana Farber Cancer Institute

Mel-Quann Hodge

Administrative Assistant

Valeria Sgambati

Research Scientist at Frequency Therapeutics

Tamiika White
Tamiika White

Lab Assistant

Lab Affiliations


  • Josie Robertson Investigator (2019-2024)
  • Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Award (2019)
  • Burroughs Wellcome Career Award for Medical Scientists (2019)
  • NIH/NCI K08 Clinician Scientist Career Development Award (2018)
  • Investigator, Stand Up to Cancer Colorectal Cancer Dream Team (2017)
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  • American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship (2017)
  • Shulamit Katzman Endowed Postdoctoral Fellowship (2017)
  • Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Young Investigator Award (2016)
  • AACR Basic Cancer Research Fellowship (2016)
  • MRC-LMB PhD Scholarship (2006)
  • Gates Cambridge Scholarship (2004)

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Doctors and faculty members often work with pharmaceutical, device, biotechnology, and life sciences companies, and other organizations outside of MSK, to find safe and effective cancer treatments, to improve patient care, and to educate the health care community.

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Karuna Ganesh discloses the following relationships and financial interests:

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