Ivana Vancurova


Laboratory of Cancer Immunology 

Research Overview

The goal of our studies is to understand the transcriptional mechanisms that regulate expression of pro-inflammatory and immunosuppressive genes, as they relate to cancer development and progression, as well as to numerous inflammatory disorders. Particularly, we are interested in the molecular mechanisms that limit the sensitivity to cancer immunotherapies. A better understanding of the mechanisms that regulate cancer cell responses to immunotherapies will lead to the development of more effective anti-cancer combination strategies.

Our research has been enriched tremendously by the diligent and creative work of many graduate and undergraduate students, who after graduating from SJU, assumed research positions at Harvard, Columbia Medical School, Johns Hopkins University, University of Chicago, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Weill Cornell Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and other premier research institutions.

This research has been published in over 80 research articles and funded by the National Institutes of Health. 

NIH Funding

  • National Institute of Child and Human Development 
  • National Institute of General Medical Sciences 
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases 
  • National Cancer Institute 
  • NIGMS Support for Research Excellence (SuRE) Program

Courses Taught at St. John's University

  • Concepts and Methods of Immunology, BIO 3460 
  • Immune System in Human Disease, BIO 2290 
  • Principles of Immunochemistry and Immunobiology, BIO 250

Gaire B, Padmanabhan S, Zou Y, Uddin MM, Reddy SU, Vancurova I. IFNγ induces Bcl3 expression by JAK1/STAT1/p65 signaling, resulting in increased IL-8 expression in ovarian cancer cells. FEBS Open Bio. doi: 10.1002/2211-5463.13624, 2023.

Padmanabhan S, Gaire B, Zou Y, Uddin MM, Vancurova I. IFNγ-induced PD-L1 expression in ovarian cancer cells is regulated by JAK1, STAT1 and IRF1 signaling. Cell Signaling, 97: 110400. doi: 10.1016, 2022.

Padmanabhan S, Gaire B, Zou Y, Uddin MM, DeLeon D, Vancurova I. IFNγ induces JAK1/STAT1/p65 NFκB-dependent interleukin-8 expression in ovarian cancer cells, resulting in their increased migration. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 141: 106093, 2021.

Bhagwat M, Nagar S, Kaur P, Mehta R, Vancurova I, Vancura A. Replication stress inhibits synthesis of histone mRNAs in yeast by removing Spt10p and Spt21p from the histone promoters. J Biol Chem. 297(5): 101246, 2021.

Kaur P, Nagar S, Bhagwat M, Uddin M, Zhu Y, Vancurova I, Vancura A. Activated heme synthesis regulates glycolysis and oxidative metabolism in breast and ovarian cancer cells. PLoS One Nov 22;16 (11):e0260400, 2021.

Bhagwat M, Nagar S, Kaur P, Jassar S, Vancurova I, Vancura A. Synthesis of nucleocytosolic acetyl-CoA regulates mitochondrial respiration and ATP synthesis in budding yeast. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Res. 1868(7): 119025. 2021.

Gaire B, Uddin MM, Zou Y, Vancurova I. Analysis of IFNγ-Induced Migration of Ovarian Cancer Cells. Methods Mol Biol. 2108: 101-106, 2020.

Uddin MM, Gaire B, Deza B, Vancurova I. Interleukin-8-Induced Invasion Assay in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cells. Methods Mol Biol. 2108: 107-115, 2020.

Uddin MM, Gaire B, Vancurova I. Interleukin-8 Induces Proliferation of Ovarian Cancer Cells in 3D Spheroids. Methods Mol Biol. 2108: 117-124, 2020.

Padmanabhan S, Zou Y, Vancurova I. Immunoblotting Analysis of Intracellular PD-L1 Levels in Interferon-Treated Ovarian Cancer Cells Stably Transfected with Bcl3 shRNA. Methods Mol Biol. 2108: 211-220, 2020.

Padmanabhan S, Zou Y, Vancurova I. Flow Cytometry Analysis of Surface PD-L1 Expression Induced by IFNγ and Romidepsin in Ovarian Cancer Cells. Methods Mol Biol. 2108: 221-228, 2020.

Zou Y, Padmanabhan S, Vancurova I. Analysis of PD-L1 Transcriptional Regulation in Ovarian Cancer Cells by Chromatin Immunoprecipitation. Methods Mol Biol. 2108: 229-239, 2020.

Vancurova I, Zhu Y, Editors. Immune Mediators in Cancer; Methods in Molecular Biology, Springer, ISBN 978-1-07-160246-1, 2020.

Bu P, Nagar S, Bhagwat M, Kaur P, Shah A, Zeng J, Vancurova I, Vancura A. DNA damage response activates respiration and thereby enlarges dNTP pools to promote cell survival in budding yeast. J Biol Chem. 294(25): 9771-9786, 2019.

Vancura A, Nagar S, Kaur P, Bu P, Bhagwat M, Vancurova I. Reciprocal Regulation of AMPK/SNF1 and Protein Acetylation. Int J Mol Sci.;19(11): 3314, 2018.

Vancura A, Bu P, Bhagwat M, Zeng J, Vancurova I. Metformin as an Anticancer Agent. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 39(10): 867-878, 2018.

Zou Y, Uddin MM, Padmanabhan S, Zhu Y, Bu P, Vancura A, Vancurova I. The proto-oncogene Bcl3 induces immune checkpoint PD-L1 expression, mediating proliferation of ovarian cancer cells. J Biol Chem 293(40):15483-15496, 2018.

Uddin MM, Zou Y, Sharma T, Gatla HR, Vancurova I. Proteasome inhibition induces IKK-dependent interleukin-8 expression in triple negative breast cancer cells: Opportunity for combination therapy. PLoS One 13(8):e0201858, 2018.

Vancurova I, Uddin MM, Zou Y, Vancura A. Combination Therapies Targeting HDAC and IKK in Solid Tumors. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 39(3):295-306, 2018.

Gatla HR, Zou Y, Uddin MM, Singha B, Bu P, Vancura A, Vancurova I. Histone Deacetylase (HDAC) Inhibition Induces IκB Kinase (IKK)-dependent Interleukin-8 Expression in Ovarian Cancer Cells. J Biol Chem 292: 5043–5054, 2017.

Gatla HR, Zou Y, Uddin MM, Vancurova I. Epigenetic regulation of interleukin-8 expression by class I HDAC and CBP in ovarian cancer cells. Oncotarget. 7;8(41):70798-70810, 2017.

Vancurova I, Gatla HR, Vancura A. HDAC/IKK inhibition therapies in solid tumors. Oncotarget 8: 34030-34031, 2017.

Vancura A, Vancurova I. Metformin induces protein acetylation in cancer cells. Oncotarget 8: 39939-39940, 2017.

Galdieri L, Gatla H, Vancurova I, Vancura A. Activation of AMP-activated Protein Kinase by Metformin Induces Protein Acetylation in Prostate and Ovarian Cancer Cells. J Biol Chem 291: 25154-25166, 2016.

Pekson R, Poltoratsky V, Gorasiya S, Sundaram S, Ashby CR, Vancurova I, Reznik SE. N,N-Dimethylacetamide Significantly Attenuates LPS- and TNFα-Induced Proinflammatory Responses Via Inhibition of the NFB Pathway. Molecular Medicine 22. doi:10.2119/molmed. 2016.

Vancurova I. DMF: a promising therapeutic option in CTCL. Blood 128(6): 745-746, 2016.

Singha B, Gatla HR, Phyo S, Patel A, Chen ZS, Vancurova I. IKK inhibition increases bortezomib effectiveness in ovarian cancer. Oncotarget 6: 26347-26358, 2015.

Chang TP, Poltoratsky V, Vancurova I. Bortezomib inhibits expression of TGF-β1, IL-10, and CXCR4, resulting in decreased survival and migration of cutaneous T cell lymphoma cells. Journal of Immunology 194: 2942-2953, 2015.

Sanacora S, Urdinez J, Chang TP, Vancurova I. Anticancer drug bortezomib increases IL-8 expression in human monocytes. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 460: 375-379, 2015.

Singha B, Gatla HR, Vancurova I. Transcriptional regulation of chemokine expression in ovarian cancer. Biomolecules 5: 223-43, 2015.

Chang TP, Vancurova I. Bcl3 regulates pro-survival and pro-inflammatory gene expression in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Biochim Biophys Acta 1843: 2620-2630, 2014.

Singha B, Gatla HR, Manna S, Chang TP, Sanacora S, Poltoratsky V, Vancura A, Vancurova I. Proteasome inhibition increases recruitment of IKKβ, S536P-p65 and EGR-1 to IL-8 promoter, resulting in increased IL-8 production in ovarian cancer cells. J Biol Chem 289: 2687–2700, 2014.

Miskolci V, Hodgson L, Cox D, Vancurova I. Western Analysis of Intracellular IL-8 in Human Mononuclear Leukocytes. Methods Mol Biol 1172: 285-293, 2014. 

Sanacora S, Chang TP, Vancurova I. Chromatin Immunoprecipitation Analysis of Bortezomib Mediated Inhibition of NFκB Recruitment to IL-1 and TNF Gene Promoters in Human Macrophages. Methods Mol Biol 1172: 315-327, 2014.

Chang TP, Kim M, Vancurova I. Analysis of TGF and IL-10 Transcriptional Regulation in CTCL Cells by Chromatin Immunoprecipitation. Methods Mol Biol 1172: 329-341, 2014.

Singha B, Phyo S, Gatla H, Vancurova I. Quantitative Analysis of Bortezomib Induced IL-8 Gene Expression in Ovarian Cancer Cells. Methods Mol Biol 1172: 295-304, 2014.

Gatla H, Singha B, Persaud V, Vancurova I. Evaluating Cytoplasmic and Nuclear Levels of Inflammatory Cytokines in Cancer Cells by Western Blotting. Methods Mol Biol 1172: 271-283, 2014.

Kasat K, Patel H, Predtechenska O, Vancurova I, Davidson D. Anti-inflammatory actions of endogenous and exogenous interleukin-10 versus glucocorticoids on macrophage functions of the newly born. J Perinatol 34(5): 380-5, 2014.

Manna S, Singha B, Phyo SA, Gatla HR, Chang TP, Sanacora S, Ramaswami S, Vancurova I. Proteasome Inhibition by Bortezomib Increases IL-8 Expression in Androgen-Independent Prostate Cancer Cells: The Role of IKKα. Journal of Immunology 191(5): 2837-46, 2013.

Chang TP, Vancurova I. NFκB function and regulation in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Am J Cancer Res 3(5): 433-45, 2013.

Davidson D, Zaytseva A, Miskolci V, Castro-Alcaraz S, Vancurova I, Patel H. Gene Expression Profile of Endotoxin-stimulated Leukocytes of the Term New Born: Control of Cytokine Gene Expression by Interleukin-10. PLoS One. 8(1): e53641, 2013.

Davidson D, Patel H, Degoy AC, Gershkovich I, Vancurova I, Miskolci V. Differential effect of exogenous interleukin-10 versus glucocorticoids on gene expression and pro-inflammatory cytokine release by polymorphonuclear leukocytes and monocytes of the newly born. Am J Transl Res 5(1): 103-115, 2013.

Vancurova I, Vancura A. Regulation and function of nuclear IκBα in inflammation and cancer. Am J Clin Exp Immunol 1(1): 56-66, 2012.

Ramaswami S, Manna S, Juvekar A Kennedy S, Vancura A, Vancurova I. Chromatin Immunoprecipitation Analysis of NFkB Transcriptional Regulation by Nuclear IkB in Human Macrophages. Methods in Molecular Biology 809: 121-134, 2012.

Juvekar A, Manna S, Ramaswami S, Chang T, Zubair A, Vancurova I. Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay Analysis of NFkB Transcriptional Regulation by Nuclear IkB. Methods in Molecular Biology 809: 49-62, 2012. 

Juvekar A, Manna S, Ramaswami S, Chang TP, Vu HY, Ghosh CC, Celiker MY, Vancurova I. Bortezomib induces nuclear translocation of IkBa resulting in gene-specific suppression of NFkB-dependent transcription and induction of apoptosis in CTCL leukemia. Molecular Cancer Research 9: 183-194, 2011. 

Ghosh CC, Ramaswami S, Juvekar A, Vu HY, Galdieri L, Davidson D, Vancurova I. Gene specific repression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in stimulated human macrophages by nuclear IkBa. Journal of Immunology 185: 3685-3693, 2010.

Citarella BV, Miskolci V, Vancurova I, Davidson D. Interleukin-10 versus dexamethasone: effects on polymorphonuclear leukocyte functions of the newborn. Pediatric Research 65: 425-429, 2009.

Chusid LA, Pereira-Argenziano L, Miskolci V, Vancurova I, Davidson D. Control of Cytokine Release from Monocytes of the Newborn: Effects of Endogenous and Exogenous Interleukin-10 versus Dexamethasone. Neonatology 97: 108-116, 2009.

Vu HY, Juvekar A, Ghosh C, Ramaswami S, Le DH, Vancurova I. Proteasome inhibitors induce apoptosis of prostate cancer cells by inducing nuclear translocation of IκB. Arch Biochem Bioph 475: 156-163, 2008.

Ghosh C, Vu HY, Mujo T, Vancurova I. Analysis of nucleocytoplasmic shuttling of NFκB proteins in human leukocytes. Methods in Molecular Biology 457: 279-292, 2008. 

Miskolci V, Rollins J, Vu HY, Ghosh CC, Davidson D, Vancurova I. NFκB Is persistently activated in continuously stimulated human neutrophils. Molecular Medicine, 13: 134-142, 2007.

Davidson D, Miskolci V, Clark DC, Dolmaian G, Vancurova I. Interleukin-10 production after pro-inflammatory stimulation of neutrophils and monocytes of the newborn: Comparison to exogenous interleukin-10 and dexamethasone levels needed to inhibit chemokine release. Neonatology 92: 127-133, 2007. 

Miskolci V, Ghosh C, Rollins J, Romero C, Vu H, Robinson S, Davidson D, Vancurova I. TNFα release from peripheral blood leukocytes depends on a CRM1-mediated nuclear export. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 351: 354-360, 2006. 

Tryzmel J, Miskolci V, Castro-Alcaraz S, Vancurova I, Davidson D. Interleukin-10 inhibits pro-inflammatory chemokine release by neutrophils of the newborn without suppression of NFκB. Pediatr Res 54: 382-386, 2003.

Miskolci V, Castro-Alcaraz S, Nguyen P, Vancura A, Davidson D, Vancurova I. Okadaic acid induces sustained activation of NFκB and degradation of the nuclear IκBα in human neutrophils. Arch Biochem Biophys 417: 44-52, 2003.

Vancurova I, Rong W, Miskolci V, Sun S. Increased p50/50 NF-κB activation in HPV 6/11-induced laryngeal papilloma tissue. J Virol 76: 1533-1536, 2002. 

Castro-Alcaraz S, Miskolci V, Kalasapudi B, Davidson D, Vancurova I. NFκB regulation in human neutrophils by nuclear IκBα: Correlation to apoptosis. J Immunol 169: 3947-3953, 2002. 

Vancurova I, Bellani I, Davidson D. Activation of NFκB and its suppression by dexamethasone in polymorphonuclear leukocytes: Newborn versus adult. Pediatr Res 49: 257-262, 2001.

Vancurova I, Miskolci V, Davidson D. NFκB activation in TNF-stimulated neutrophils is mediated by protein kinase C-δ: Correlation to nuclear IκBα. J Biol Chem 276: 19746-19752, 2001. 

  • Bijaya Gaire, PhD; Postdoctoral Fellow, Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine 
  • Meenhaj Uddin, PhD; Postdoctoral Fellow, Weill Cornell Medicine
  • Sveta Padmanabhan, PhD; Research Scientist, TSCAN Therapeutics
  • Yue Zou, PhD; Postdoctoral Fellow, Weill Cornell Medicine 
  • Himavanth Gatla, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Johns Hopkins University Medical School
  • Sai A. Phyo, MD/PhD MSTP program, University of Pennsylvania
  • Tzu-Pei Chang, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Bipradeb Singha, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, The Wistar Institute for Cancer Research
  • Shannon Sanacora, PhD, Estee Lauder
  • Joaquín Urdinez, PhD student, University of Zurich
  • Subrata Manna, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Sitharam Ramaswami, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Columbia Medical School
  • Steven Kennedy, PhD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Ashish Juvekar, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School 
  • Chandra Ghosh, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School 
  • Hai-Yen Vu, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Chicago Medical School
  • Adeel Zubair, MD, Mayo Clinic Medical School
  • Veronika Miskolci, PhD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Staci Robinson, MD, Columbia University, College of Dental Medicine
  • Tomas Mujo, MD, New York College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Ofelia Tacchelly, PhD, Dartmouth Medical School
  • Bharati Kalasapudi, MD, Brown University Medical School