Vinata Lokeshwar, PhD

Vinata B. Lokeshwar, PhD

Professor and Chair
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University

PubMed Articles




Dr. Lokeshwar is a tenured Professor and Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She is also the Chair of the Biochemistry and Cancer (BCB) graduate program, a member of the Georgia Cancer Center and a Professor of Urology. Dr. Lokeshwar’s research is always grounded in a question, “How does our research help patients”? Each project in her laboratory begins with a clinical problem and the workflow always is “clinic to lab and back again”.  Throughout the years her research programs have been enriched by valuable collaborations with basic science researchers and clinicians.


Research focus

Dr. Lokeshwar’s lab focuses on biomarkers and experimental therapeutics related to bladder and renal cell carcinomas (RCC) with some work on prostate cancer, and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) . Her earlier work was on the invention of HA-HAase urine test for detecting bladder cancer. This work is widely recognized and led to the incorporation of hyaluronidase in textbooks. This work ties in with the newest discovery from her laboratory about the “Chase test” for bladder cancer and biomarker-guided evidence-based treatment combinations to overcome chemoresistance in advanced bladder cancer. Dr. Lokeshwar’s lab discovered the first known example of a human/eukaryotic Chase (chondroitinase) encoded by a mRNA splice variant (V1) of the gene HYAL-4. V1/Chase makes normal cells into tumor cells and induces a cancer stem phenotype. V1/Chase potentially detects cancer and predicts which patients will develop metastasis despite surgery and then not respond to chemotherapy. The ongoing work has discovered inhibitors of V1/Chase that when combined with chemotherapy, eliminate treatment resistant tumors.  Other projects highlight the discovery of a novel tumor suppressor that is lost in patients with RCC. The ongoing work shows that expression of this tumor suppressor in RCC cells decreases tumor growth and eliminates metastasis, a major cause of mortality among patients with RCC within two years.  Other recently published works are about teaching an “old-failed FDA-approved drug” to become effective against metastatic RCC. In a collaborative project initiated by Dr. Bal Lokeshwar, the lab is investigating the efficacy of an oral OTC drug to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia and related morbidity experienced by men over fifty years.  For over twenty-five years, Dr. Lokeshwar’s lab has been funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, and other agencies. She has published over hundred peer-reviewed research and review articles, book chapters and has co-edited a book on bladder cancer.


Teaching and mentoring

Dr. Lokeshwar has mentored seventy graduate and medical students, residents, postdoctoral and clinical fellows, and faculty. Her students have received NCI and international fellowship grants and have graduated with multiple publications. While some trainees have become professors and department chairs, the others are project leaders in biomedical industries.


Editorial and grant review service

Dr. Lokeshwar was the President of the Society for Basic Urologic Research. She has served and chaired numerous national and international research panels. She serves on the editorial boards of several journals. Dr. Lokeshwar serves/served as a member or as the chair of numerous grant review panels for the NIH, DoD and for other national and international agencies.


Notable awards/honors

SBUR/SWIU Research Award for Excellence in Urologic Research; SBUR Distinguished Service Award; Exemplary Teaching Award (UGME, MCG-AU), Female Leaders in Urology (AUA News), Society of Asian American Scientists in Cancer Research (SAASCR) award; Urology Teacher of the Year Award.



Clinical-translational research is Dr. Lokeshwar’s passion, as is teaching and mentoring. 


Lab Members

photo of Sunita Panda

Sunita Panda

  • Research Associate
photo of Sonu Kumar Gupta

Sonu Kumar Gupta

  • Postdoctoral Fellow
photo of Anuj Sharma

Anuj Sharma

  • Graduate Research Assistant
photo of Karina Aguilar

Karina Aguilar

  • Graduate Research Assistant