Shana D. Hardy

Shana Hardy  Profile Picture
Training Group:

Medicinal Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology

Mentor / Lab:

Dr. Robert Geahlen

Specific Research Area / Project:

The Role of Syk in P-bodies and EMT

Undergraduate Institution:

Tuskegee University

Research Profile:

Cancer cells are unique in that they can persist (grow and survive) under stressful conditions, such as hypoxia, chemotherapy, and radiation. Cancer cells do this by re-programing transcriptional and post-transcriptional processes that contribute to cell growth, invasion and survival. These post-transcriptional processes include microRNA-mediated mRNA silencing, mRNA decay, mRNA surveillance and translational repression. The induction of these processes results in the formation of Processing Bodies (P-bodies), dynamic cytoplasmic granules that contain mRNAs, microRNAs, and several mRNA processing enzymes, in the cell. In our lab, we have found that P-bodies are associated with a biological process known as epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in breast cancer cells. EMT promotes the polarization and motility of epithelial cells to undergo biochemical and epigenetic changes to assume a mesenchymal phenotype and often times stem-like properties.

Recent studies indicate a role for tyrosine kinase, Syk in the EMT process in breast cancer cells. Our lab is interested in determining mechanisms in which Syk contributes its inhibitory role in breast cancer metastasis. So far, we have uncovered interactions between Syk and several P-body components and found that Syk co-localizes with P-bodies. My research project investigates the role of Syk in those P-bodies and how this role contributes to breast cancer metastasis.

Shana Hardy  Research Picture

About Me:

Shana Hardy  About Me Picture

My career objects may be slightly alternative to the typical life scientist. I would like to steer my career towards science policy. I am increasingly excited about the possibilities in this field ranging from Science & Ethics to Science Education. If you were to look at my extracurricular activities, you will notice my commitment to creating a more inclusive environment in science. I have a strong commitment to minorities in science. And I have a strong interest in the state of life science graduate programs in universities, in terms of curriculum and professional development. Ideally, I will get to continue doing basic science research while also serving in leadership roles to help cultivate the scientific community to be more inclusive, efficient, and impactful.

Life After PULSe:

I am a pharmacology/ toxicology reviewer for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) Office of Tissues and Advanced Therapies (OTAT). I serve as the pharmacology/toxicology expert on a multidisciplinary team in the review and evaluation of preclinical/nonclinical data (e.g., in vitro and animal studies) to assess investigational products (pre-market review) typically for, but not limited to, cancer indications. I also provide recommendations to sponsors regarding the design of their preclinical development program to support the approvability of their product application from preclinical perspectives. In general, my role at the FDA is to protect public health by ensuring the safety and effectiveness of CBER/OTAT-regulated products (e.g., gene therapies, cell therapies, engineered tissues, etc.). As a PULSe graduate student, I was a part of the Molecular Signaling and Cancer Biology Training Group. The Molecular Signaling and Cancer Biology Training Group provided me with a strong background in basic science/ drug discovery cancer research, experience in translating discoveries using animals, the training to analyze and interpret an array of studies designed to discover, characterize, and optimize the pharmacology associated with cancer therapeutics, and unique opportunities to integrate my work into other disciplines. These experiences have all served me well in my current role as a review scientist. The most important skillset I received during my training in PULSe was scientific communication. The PULSe science communications course, MCMP grant writing course, website features, PULSe Science in Schools program, and conference participation really challenged me to convey my work or science in general to diverse audiences that included cancer field experts, scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and non-scientists. Considering the nature of my work, I spend a lot of time verbally and orthographically communicating the basis of my recommendations and/or regulatory decisions to individuals with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Since I communicate so effectively, this has allowed me to really enjoy FDA’s collaborative work environment.


  • AACR Minority Scholar in Cancer Research Award (2015)
  • Purdue Graduate School Travel Award (2015)
  • Gordon Research Seminar Travel Award (2014)
  • Purdue University Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Travel Award (2014)
  • Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate Program Scholar Award (2013, 2014, 2015)
  • Purdue University Lynn Fellowship (2011)


  • Hardy, S. and Geahlen, R.L. (2015)” Investigating the role of Syk in TGF-ß induced P-bodies and breast cancer metastasis.” Proceedings: American Association for Cancer Research 2015. 75, 143.
  • Jones, J., Wang, H., Zhou, J., Hardy, S., Turner, T., Austin, D., He, Q.P., Wells, A., Grizzle, W.E., Yates, C. (2012) “Nuclear Kaiso Indicates Aggressive Prostate Cancers and Promotes Migration and Invasiveness of Prostate Cancer Cells” American Journal of Pathology. 181, 1836-1846.
  • Wang, H., Jones, J.., Turner, T., He, Q.P., Hardy, S., Grizzle, W.E., Welch, D.R., Yates, C. (2012) “Clinical and biological significance of KISS1 expression in prostate cancer.” American Journal of Pathology. 180, 1170-1178.


  • Chicago Symposium on Cell Signaling, Chicago, IL (2015)
  • American Association of Cancer Research Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA (2015)
  • Purdue Cancer Center Research Symposium, West Lafayette, IN (2014)
  • Gordon Research Conference, Bidford, MN (2014)
  • Purdue University Office of Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs, West Lafayette, IN (2014)
  • Purdue University Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Spring Reception, West Lafayette, IN (2012)
  • CAU 7th Annual Prostate Cancer Symposium, Atlanta, GA (2011)
  • 67th Joint Annual Meeting of BKX/NIS, New Orleans, LA (2011)


  • President, Black Graduate Student Association (2015-2016)
  • Graduate Program Coordinator, Summer Research Opportunities Program (2013-2015)
  • Grant Reviewer, Purdue Grant Review and Allocation Committee (2014-2015)
  • PULSe Representative, Purdue Graduate Student Government (2014-2015)
  • Peer Network Coordinator, PULSe Graduate Student Organization (2013-2014)
  • Coordinator, STEM Fields Youth Summit for URMs in Greater Lafayette (2013)
  • Volunteer, Science in School Initiative (2012-2015)

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