Breast cancer researcher Svasti Haricharan joins SBP faculty

Svasti Haracharan, assistant professor at SBP

Svasti Haricharan, Ph.D., has joined Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) as an assistant professor in the Tumor Microenvironment and Cancer Immunology Program. Haricharan arrives from Baylor College of Medicine, where she was a research assistant professor. 

Haricharan studies breast cancer, the second most common cancer for American women. More than 40,000 women in the U.S. die from breast cancer each year. Haricharan is working to uncover how women with estrogen-positive breast cancer develop resistance to hormone-based therapies—which occurs in one-third of patients who receive these treatments. She also studies early genetic changes that could lead to breast cancer, which could yield preventative treatments. 

“Svasti is a talented cancer researcher, and we are excited she has chosen to join SBP’s faculty,” says Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D., president of SBP. “Her arrival further strengthens our efforts in breast cancer research, particularly the area of treatment resistance. We look forward to supporting and working with Dr. Haricharan to find better solutions for breast cancer patients.”

Haricharan has received several prestigious awards and grants for her work, including a career development (K) award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI); a career development award from Susan G. Komen®; and a Breakthrough Level 1 grant from the Department of Defense (DoD). 

She completed her postdoctoral training at MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she studied the effect of cumulative DNA changes on breast cancer development. Haricharan then moved to Baylor College of Medicine for her second postdoctoral position, which also focused on breast cancer genomics. 

“For too many women, breast cancer remains a deadly disease,” says Haricharan. “I am eager to continue my work uncovering the root causes of treatment resistance and tumor development in breast cancer at SBP. The Institute is known for its cutting-edge science, collaborative environment and world-class drug development facilities—all factors that position my research for success.”

Haricharan obtained her Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from the Baylor College of Medicine, her master’s degree in genetics from University of Leicester and her bachelor’s degree in zoology from Stella Maris College. 

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