Research Statement

The aim of my research is to gain insight into how a cytoskeleton protein and an RNA-binding protein coordinate gene expression in breast cancer cells.

My current focus is understanding the interplay between K19 and hnRNP K in regulating gene expression. The first goal is to identify hnRNP K targets in cytoplasmic and nuclear compartments. I am investigating the possibility that K19 localizes hnRNP K at the cytoplasm and stabilizes hnRNP K mRNA targets at 3’ UTR, thereby increasing the translation of hnRNP K targets. The stability of hnRNP K mRNA targets promotes many cellular processes that have been known to implicate tumorigenesis. One such process may be dysregulation in the p53 pathway, which ultimately leads to proliferation in cells. Therefore, identifying hnRNP K targets will allow for further exploration of this theory.

Scientific Publications

Keratin 19 regulates cell cycle pathway and sensitivity of breast cancer cells to CDK inhibitors.

Sharma P, Alsharif S, Bursch K, Parvathaneni S, Anastasakis DG, Chahine J, Fallatah A, Nicolas K, Sharma S, Hafner M, Kallakury B, Chung BM
Scientific reports.
2019 Oct 10;
doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-51195-9
PMID: 31601969


The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, USA
M.Sc., Biotechnology,  2014

King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
B.Sc., Medical Laboratory Technology, 2009


Graduate student in Dr. Markus Hafner’s lab
NIAMS/NIH Bethesda, MD (Jan 2017 - present)

Graduate student in Dr. Byung Min Chung’s lab
CUA/Department of Biology, Washington, DC (Jan 2016 - present)

Graduate student in Dr. John Choy’s lab
CUA/Department of Biology, Washington, DC (Jan 2015 - Dec 2015)

Summer Intern
NIAID/NIH Bethesda, MD (May 2013 - July 2013)

Training and internship experience in clinical laboratories
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2006 - 2010)

Last Updated: August 2020