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Dr. Kamiya Mehla, PhD
Oncology Science

Kamiya Mehla, PhD

Associate Professor

940 Stanton L. Young Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK  73104

405.271.8001 Ext. 52239

Currently recruiting new students and trainees

Tumor Immunology, Immunotherapy, Immunometabolism, Immunosuppression, Cancer Cachexia, Pancreatic Cancer 

Mehla Lab Overview
Pancreatic tumors are immune-quiescent (“cold microenvironment”). Multiple tumor cell intrinsic and extrinsic factors shape tumor immune microenvironment that culminates into nonexistent frequency as well as dysfunction of anti-tumor immune cells. In addition, tumor-derived factors modulate immune microenvironment at the distant systemic sites to aid in the dissemination of tumor cells and preconditioning of metastatic niches. To date, immunotherapies have shown limited success in pancreatic cancer. Thus, the major goal of my lab is to study the tumor-immune cell cross talk in pancreatic cancer. My lab is interested in elucidating the signaling mechanisms that contribute to tumor immunosuppression and refractive response to immunotherapies. 1) My lab utilizes novel molecular biology/immunological tools and genetically engineered murine models to interrogate tumor-derived factors/metabolites that augment the activity of immunosuppressive players and prevent the function of anti-tumor immune cells in pancreatic tumor microenvironment. 2) We also investigate the crosstalk between the immunosuppressive myeloid cells and other immune subsets to identify the key signaling pathways that underlie systemic immunosuppression. 3) In addition, we study the role of immune players in driving cachexia, a critical complication of PDACs that contributes to poor quality of life and high mortality rates in cancer patients. Our lab’s long-term goal is to develop novel immuno-metabolic therapeutic strategies that attenuate tumor burden, and improve overall survival and quality of life in pancreatic cancer patients.  


Ph.D., CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB), Delhi, India 

Postdoctoral Research Associate., University of Nebraska Medical Center, Nebraska, USA 

Clinical/Research Interests:

  • Metabolic regulation of immune cells in tumor microenvironment 
  • Immune cell crosstalk at the primary tumor site and systemic microenvironments 
  • Developing novel immunotherapies and therapeutic combinations for pancreatic cancer 
  • Interrogate the role of immune players in cancer cachexia 
  • Pancreatic cancer

Select Publications:

King RJ, Shukla SK, He C, Vernucci E, Thakur R, Attri KS, Dasgupta A, Chaika NV, Mulder SE, Abrego J, Murthy D, Gunda V, Pacheco CG, Grandgenett PM, Lazenby AJ, Hollingsworth MA, Yu F, Mehla K#, Singh PK# (# Co-corresponding author). CD73 induces GM-CSF/MDSC-mediated suppression of T cells to accelerate pancreatic cancer pathogenesis.  Oncogene. 2022 Feb;41(7):971-982. doi: 10.1038/s41388-021-02132-6. 

 King RJ, Singh PK, Mehla KThe cholesterol pathway: impact on immunity and cancer. Trends Immunol. 2022 Jan;43(1):78-92. doi: 10.1016/ 

Markov SD, Caffrey TC, O'Connell KA, Grunkemeyer JA, Shin S, Hanson R, Patil PP, Shukla SK, Gonzalez D, Crawford AJ, Vance KE, Huang Y, Eberle KC, Radhakrishnan P, Grandgenett PM, Singh PK, Madiyalakan R, Daniels-Wells TR, Penichet ML, Nicodemus CF, Poole JA, Jaffee EM, Hollingsworth MA, Mehla KIgE-Based Therapeutic Combination Enhances Antitumor Response in Preclinical Models of Pancreatic Cancer. Mol Cancer Ther. 2021 Dec;20(12):2457-2468.  

Shukla SK, Markov SD, Attri KS, Vernucci E, King RJ, Dasgupta A, Grandgenett PM, Hollingsworth MA, Singh PK, Yu F, Mehla KMacrophages potentiate STAT3 signaling in skeletal muscles and regulate pancreatic cancer cachexia. Cancer Lett. 2020 Aug 1;484:29-39.  

Mehla K, Singh PK. Metabolic Regulation of Macrophage Polarization in Cancer. Trends Cancer. 2019 Dec;5(12):822-834.

Complete List of Published Work: