UHealth - University of Miami Health System

Priyamvada Rai, PhD

General Information

Priyamvada  Rai, PhD


  • Office: 305-243-3312
  • Fax: 305-575-3365
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  • English


  • Aim Leader, Mechanisms of Tumor Initiation and Progression, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Associate Professor, Department of Medicine
  • Director, Sylvester Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SCCC-SURF) program


Research Interests

Defining physiological roles for oxidative stress and DNA damage in aging and tumorigenesis; cellular senescence; oncogenic transformation and signaling

Lab Website


Schally Award for excellence in research, Department of Medicine/University of Miami
SEEDS 'You Choose' Leadership Award, University of Miami
Second place, Outstanding research presentation, Florida Prostate Cancer Research Symposium
Stanley J. Glaser Foundation Award, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Paul F. Glenn Award, 35th AGE Meeting, Boston
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Postdoctoral Fellowship
Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award,University of California, Berkeley
Biophysics Graduate Group Merit Scholarship,University of California, Berkeley
Young Investigator Award, Fourth Annual Conference of the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine, Washington D.C.
Frederic W. Hinrichs Jr. Memorial Award, California Institute of Technology


2003-2008 Postdoctoral Training
Whitehead Institute/MIT
2003 PhD
University of California
1997 B.S. (with honors)
California Institute of Technology



Dr. Rai received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the California Institute of Technology. From there, she moved to the University of California, Berkeley where she obtained her PhD in Biophysics. Her thesis research centered on establishing NMR based structural characterizations of DNA-metal complexes important for oxidative DNA damage. Following her PhD she switched her research focus to cancer biology and went on to Cambridge, MA for her postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Weinberg at the Whitehead Institute of Biomedical Research/ MIT where she was a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society postdoctoral fellow.  In August 2008, she was appointed an Assistant professor on the tenure-track in the Division of Geriatrics, Department of Medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She became a full member of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in 2009 as well as a graduate faculty member of the Cancer Biology Program and the Department of Pharmacology. She is currently a tenured Associate Professor in the Division of Medical Oncology. A major focus of Dr. Rai’s research program is to develop molecular strategies to reactivate or enhance tumor suppressor pathways such as senescence and apoptosis in cancer cells, through modulation of cellular redox status and DNA repair mechanisms. Her research pioneered the study of nucleotide pool sanitization by the MTH1 8-oxodGTPase as a critical facilitator of tumor growth and progression, particularly in RAS oncogene-driven cancers. Recently her laboratory discovered that androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) in prostate cancer elicits cell senescence (termed ADIS) and that ADIS accelerates outgrowth of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) cells which give rise to incurable disease. Using this model of early CRPC emergence, the Rai lab has identified a number of novel and actionable therapeutic targets.  Funding: NIH/NCI, DOD Prostate Cancer Research Program.