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Dr. Vlashi earned her PhD from the Department of Chemistry at Purdue University with a focus on the characterization of in vivo trafficking and dynamic accumulation of anti-cancer drugs targeted via high-affinity ligands to solid tumors. During her post-doctoral training she expanded her expertise on cancer stem cells and radiation oncology and made important discoveries that led to the development of tools for identification, tracking and targeting of cancer stem cells. Employing the unique tools for cancer stem cell identification and isolation she made the discovery that cancer stem cells reside in a metabolic state distinct from the rest of the bulk tumor cell population.



Currently, the Vlashi Lab is building on the prior seminal discoveries on cancer stem cell metabolism and is interested in investigating metabolic changes induced by radiation therapy, how these changes dictate response to therapy, and how such changes can be exploited with the goal of further enhancing benefit from radiation therapy for cancer patients. Our ultimate goal is to develop novel agents against glioblastoma and pancreatic cancer.


Investigating the role of glucose metabolism in radiation resistance

We have recently uncovered that cancer cells, including breast cancer, glioblastoma, and pancreatic cancer cells, upregulate their glucose consumption following radiation therapy. We are therefore investigating the consequences of this surplus in glucose and whether it is protecting the cells from radiation toxicity, in different models. Stay tuned!


In collaboration with other labs in the department Dr. Vlashi’s lab is also interested in investigating radiation mitigators for the purpose of limiting radiation toxicity to normal tissue during radiation therapy, with the ultimate goal of maximizing the therapeutic index of this powerful anti-cancer treatment modality.






Group picture fall 2022


May 2023

  • Congratulations to Dr. Vlashi for winning the UCLA Faculty Mentor Award!
  • Congratulations to Sumitra for winning the Science Dean's Prize at the Undergraduate Research and Creativity Showcase!
  • Lubna presented her research project at the LABEST 2023! Congratulations!
  • Brooke, Hanna and Sumitra presented their research projects during the UCLA Undergraduate Research Week. Congratulations!
  • Justine presented her research project during the JCCC Annual Retreat. Congratulations!
  • Welcome to the Vlashi lab new News section! :-)
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