Girdhar Sharma, PhD

Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology


  • BS, Zoology, Botany & Chemistry: Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India (1990)
  • MS, Molecular Genetics & Cytogenetics: Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India (1992)
  • PhD, Molecular Genetics & Cytogenetics: Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India (2000)


Girdhar Sharma, PhD, is an assistant professor of radiation oncology in the Cancer Biology division since 2010. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, Botany with Honors in Zoology; and Master’s and Ph.D. degrees with specialization in Molecular Genetics and Cytogenetics from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India. Dr. Sharma’s PhD work focused on the molecular cytogenetic study of heterochromatin and chromosomal evolution. He further trained in the fields of chromosome organization, genomic instability, DNA repair, histone acetylation and epigenetics of radiation response during his post-doctoral training from Columbia University in New York City and Washington University in St. Louis. He joined the department in 2002. The overarching goal of research in his laboratory is to gain molecular insights for developing future prevention and intervention strategies of more effective and efficient treatment of cancers.


Dr. Sharma is an R01 funded investigator who studies the molecular regulation of stem cell radiation response. Goal of his research work is to delineate the molecular signaling and epigenetic regulators of normal stem cell hypersensitivity to ionizing radiation (IR) and validate them as molecular targets for radioprotection. His laboratory uses multifaceted approaches to unravel the novel associations between signaling molecules, epigenetic modifiers and cellular differentiation states; in the regulation of stem cell specific DNA damage response (DDR) and apoptotic responses (AR). Insights into the mechanistic interplay of signal transduction networks and chromatin states unique to stem cells, as against their non-stem progeny is crucial for developing therapeutic prevention/ intervention strategies of radioprotection; to effectively minimize IR induced stem cell dropout and the associated debilitating side effects of cancer radiotherapy. Investigation of normal tissue stem cells compared to the differentiated non-stem cells in vivo has led to identification of key molecular targets to modulate radiosensitivity. His laboratory is delineating the dual role of PP2A phosphatase in stem cell DDR and AR, and characterizing specific and cumulative roles of histone H3K56ac, H3K9ac/me and pH2AX-Y142 in stem cell IR responses and validating the radioprotection efficacy of these pluralistic regulators of stem cell radiosensitivity (Jacobs KM et al. Mol Biol Cell. 27(8)1332-45 (2016). PMID: 26941327 PMCID: PMC4831886; Meyer B et al. Stem Cell Reports. 7(6)1013-22 (2016). PMID: 27974220 PMCID: PMC5161741). In collaboration with the molecular modeling and medicinal chemistry experts, Dr. Sharma is developing drugs to specifically inhibit key molecular regulators for radioprotection of normal stem cells. These stem cell specific radioprotectors would increase the efficacy of radiotherapy by minimizing normal stem cell dropout without protecting cancer and will directly help improving the quality of life of cancer survivors.


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