Shanaz Dairkee, Ph.D. , Senior Scientist

California Pacific CURRENTS: The online journal of CPMC Research Institute

Pioneering new cellular models to understand critical events in the progression of breast cancer
  • Novel breast cancer cell lines from the Dairkee lab.

    A collage representing distinctive attributes of novel breast cancer cell lines derived from primary tumors of varying histologic grade: high grade (HG), intermediate grade (IG), and low grade (LG). Dramatically contrasting grade associated transcriptomic profiles maintained in vitro (a, b). Expression of the oncogene - UCP2 in HG (c, d, e), and LG/IG cell lines (f, g, h). Expression of the oncogene – S100P in LG/IG (i, j, k), and HG cell lines (l, m, n). Expression of the oncogene – BST2 in HG (o, p, q), and LG/IG cell lines (r, s, t).  Contrasting effects of stromal-epithelial crosstalk on the proliferation rate of HG (u, v, w) and LG tumor cell lines (x, y, z)
    Source: Dairkee S et al., Cancer Research 69:7826, 2009; Sayeed et al., Cell Death and Disease 1:e53, 2010; Luciani et al., PLoS ONE 6:e20016, 2011; Sayeed et al., PLoS ONE 8:e67191, 2013.


Research Overview

Research in the Dairkee lab is aimed at finding interventions for breast cancer by uncovering disruptions guided by novel cellular model systems.

  • To further understand early stages in tumor formation, the Dairkee lab developed new, specialized techniques for studying non-aggressive localized tumors, and generated a unique repository of cryopreserved clinical breast cancer samples maintained in a living, interactive state. Dr. Dairkee and her colleagues created a portfolio of primary breast cancer cell lines encompassing all histologic grades and clinical stages, for more precise definitions and understanding of breast cancer subtypes.
  • Using these models, Dr. Dairkee is investigating genetic signatures and cell-cell signaling differences associated with cancer aggressiveness, and signatures of paracrine-independent expression of grade-associated genes. She and her team are devising new techniques to employ live tumor cells in patient samples to predict response to breast cancer therapy.
  • Aside from working directly with tumor cells, research in the Dairkee lab employs non-malignant cells from human donors to understand how environmental chemicals may be implicated in breast carcinogenesis (including the effects of estrogenic mimics in promoting hallmark, cancer-like cellular behaviors).
  • Dr. Dairkee leads circulating tumor cell and cancer cell culture efforts for CPMCRI's Cancer Avatar Project.


Dr. Dairkee received her Ph.D. in Human Genetics and Development from Columbia University and completed postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley. She pursued the development of novel research methodologies and tools to study human tumor biology at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory before joining CPMCRI.


Publication Search


Schwarzman MR, Ackerman JM, Dairkee SH, Fenton SE, Johnson D, Navarro KM, Osborne G, Rudel RA, Solomon GM, Zeise L, Janssen S, Screening for Chemical Contributions to Breast Cancer Risk: A Case Study for Chemical Safety Evaluation. Environ Health Perspect

Zhang H, Cohen AL, Krishnakumar S, Wapnir IL, Veeriah S, Deng G, Coram MA, Piskun CM, Longacre TA, Herrler M, Frimannsson DO, Telli ML, Dirbas FM, Matin AC, Dairkee SH, Larijani B, Glinsky GV, Bild AH, Jeffrey SS, Patient-derived xenografts of triple-negative breast cancer reproduce molecular features of patient tumors and respond to mTOR inhibition. Breast Cancer Res

Shanaz Dairkee, Ph.D. , Senior Scientist
Primary Research Interests
  • Creating patient-derived cellular models for cancer drug development and testing
  • Investigating pathway perturbations induced by environmental estrogens in breast cells from human donors
  • Evaluating the impact of mixtures of high-volume consumption chemicals on normal cell regulation