Sufi Thomas, Ph.D.
Bachelors: Mumbai University, India
Masters: Mumbai University, India
PhD: Mumbai University, India
Post Doc: University of Pittsburgh, PA
Publications: Click here
Sufi Thomas, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Otolaryngology with tenure at the University of Kansas Medical Center. In addition, she holds secondary appointments in the Departments of Cancer Biology, and Anatomy and Cell Bilology. She completed her PhD at the University of Mumbai in India and post-doctoral training at the University of Pittsburgh under the direction of Dr. Jennifer Grandis. Dr. Thomas specializes in head and neck cancer translational research. She has published extensively and developed several therapeutic approaches that have been tested in clinical trials.
With NIH R01 funding support, Dr. Thomas is currently delineating the mechanism whereby cells in the tumor microenvironment facilitate head and neck cancer progression and response to therapy. Several types of normal cells surround the cancer. These include blood vessels, immune cells and fibroblasts. Dr. Thomas demonstrated that normal fibroblasts in contact with the tumor facilitate tumor growth and metastasis. Her laboratory is currently identifying the factors secreted by the fibroblasts involved in tumor progression. Characterizing molecules involved in tumor-fibroblast communication are critical in developing more effective therapeutic strategies. In addition to supporting tumor growth, fibroblasts are a major component of fibrotic reactions that result in scar tissue formation. Dr. Thomas is in the process of identifying targets in order to reduce fibrosis and the ability of the fibroblasts to facilitate tumor growth. The finding from these studies has tremendous potential in not only target identification and therapeutic development, but also in developing ways to reduce scar tissue formation from fibrosis.
Dr. Thomas with the residents and medical students she mentors in her lab