Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Vivek Mittal Ph.D.

Vivek Mittal, Ph.D.

Vivek Mittal, Ph.D.

Associate Affiliate Member 
Department of Systems Medicine & Bioengineering
The Methodist Hospital Research Institute

Director of Neuberger Berman Foundation Lung Cancer Laboratory
Associate Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology in Cardiothoracic Surgery
Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University

E-mail: vim2010@med.cornell.edu
Phone: 212-746-9401


B.S.   St. Joseph's College, North Point, Darjeeling, India (Chemistry and Biology)
M.S.   Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India (Life science)
Ph.D.   Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India (Life science)

Postdoctoral Training

Post Doctoral Fellow, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York (Transcriptional Regulation)



Vivek Mittal is the director of the Neuberger Berman Foundation Lung Cancer Laboratory and an associate professor of Cell and Developmental Biology in the cardiothoracic surgery department at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York.

Previously, Dr. Mittal held faculty appointments at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and State University of New York, Stony Brook.  Dr. Mittal speaks at public engagements to diverse audiences around the world and has produced several patents and authored articles in leading journals including Science, Nature, Cancer Cell, PNAS, and other leading peer-reviewed journals and text books. He contributes to NIH study sections and has chaired sessions at prominent national conferences and symposiums. His research is supported by funds from the National Cancer Institute and private foundations.

As a director of research at the Lung Cancer Center, Dr. Mittal oversees the development of future research themes and educational activities to ensure their concordance with the overall translational mission of the Center. He created a state-of-the art Biobank at Weill Cornell Medical College as a repository for biospecimens from lung cancer, other thoracic malignancies, and benign diseases.

Dr. Mittal is committed to the mentoring of the clinical fellows and faculty in basic research, which is a critical part of the training of the next generation of translational researchers. He is an active teacher and mentor, organizing focus groups and supervising a problem based learning course for medical students. He mentors graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, surgical fellows and junior faculty. He is also dedicated to interviewing candidates for admission to the M.D. and Ph.D. program, and recruitment of junior faculty.

Description of Research

Research in Dr. Mittal’s lab studies de novo lung carcinogenesis, as well as the initiation and progression of metastatic lesions derived from extrapulmonary neoplasms. The program integrates clinical and basic science to foster innovative research for the prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer.

A major aim of his research is to understand cancer cell intrinsic and extrinsic programs that regulate tumor growth and metastasis. Cancer cell intrinsic programs include aberrant signaling pathways, which are investigated at several levels of regulation including transcriptional, epigenetic, and small regulatory RNAs. Cancer cell extrinsic programs include the contribution of the tumor microenvironment.  The heterotypic reciprocal signaling between the stromal cells and tumor epithelial compartments that contribute to tumor progression can be unraveled by dissecting the complexity of various stromal cell types that comprise the microenvironment. Dr. Mittal is interested in understanding how these two programs are integrated to regulate key tumorigenic processes including angiogenesis, inflammation, epithelial to mesenchymal transition, therapeutic resistance, metastasis initiation and progression.

Dr. Mittal’s research has produced novel stromal targets for prognosis and drug design. A major goal of this ongoing work is to collaborate with clinicians to rapidly validate additional molecular research findings in preclinical and clinical studies, and determine if they have diagnostic and therapeutic potential for clinical use.

Key contributions include:

  • First demonstration that endothelial progenitor cells promote angiogenesis necessary for the formation of lethal macrometastases (Science, 2008).
  • First demonstration that myeloid cells induce mesenchymal to epithelial transition that promotes breast cancer metastasis to the lungs (Cancer Research, 2012).
  • Discovered microRNA-708, which is epigenetically silenced during metastatic progression in breast cancer (Cancer Cell, 2013 in press). Currently, the potential of miR-708 as a therapeutic against triple negative breast cancer is being evaluated. 
  • Have identified a novel mechanism, whereby metastasis-incompetent tumors generate metastasis-suppressive niches that inhibit metastasis (in review, Cancer Discovery).
  • Analysis of fresh clinical samples have led to the discovery of novel stromal targets of prognostic and therapeutic value in lung cancer.

Major Areas of Research

Lung cancer, breast cancer, tumor microenvironment, epigenome, microRNA, mouse models, genomics

Recent Publications

Ryu S, McDonnell K, Choi H, Gao D, Hahn M, Joshi N, Park SM, Catena R, Do Y,Brazin J, Vahdat LT, Silver RB, Mittal V. Suppression of miRNA-708 by Polycomb Group Promotes Metastases by Calcium-Induced Cell Migration. Cancer Cell. 2013 Jan 14;23(1):63-76. PMID: 23328481

Plummer PN, Freeman R, Taft RJ, Vider J, Sax M, Umer BA, Gao D, Johns C, Mattick JS, Wilton SD, Ferro V, McMillan NA, Swarbrick A, Mittal V, Mellick AS. MicroRNAs Regulate Tumor Angiogenesis Modulated by Endothelial Progenitor Cells. Cancer Res. 2013 Jan 1;73(1):341-352. PMID: 22836757

Gao D, Vahdat LT, Wong S, Chang JC, Mittal V. Microenvironmental regulation of epithelial-mesenchymal transitions in cancer. Cancer Res. 2012 Oct 1;72(19):4883-9. PMID: 23002209 

Gao D, Joshi N, Choi H, Ryu S, Hahn M, Catena R, Sadik H, Argani P, Wagner P, Vahdat LT, Port JL, Stiles B, Sukumar S, Altorki NK, Rafii S, Mittal V. Myeloid progenitor cells in the premetastatic lung promote metastases by inducing mesenchymal to epithelial transition. Cancer Res. 2012 Mar 15;72(6):1384-94. PMID: 22282653

Ryu S, Joshi N, McDonnell K, Woo J, Choi H, Gao D, McCombie WR, Mittal V. Discovery of novel human breast cancer microRNAs from deep sequencing data by analysis of pri-microRNA secondary structures. PLoS One. 2011 Feb 8;6(2):e16403. PMID: 21346806

Mellick AS, Plummer PN, Nolan DJ, Gao D, Bambino K, Hahn M, Catena R, Turner V, McDonnell K, Benezra R, Brink R, Swarbrick A, Mittal V. Using the transcription factor inhibitor of DNA binding 1 to selectively target endothelial progenitor cells offers novel strategies to inhibit tumor angiogenesis and growth. Cancer Res. 2010 Sep 15;70(18):7273-82. PMID: 20807818

McGraw TE, Mittal V. Stem cells: Metabolism regulates differentiation. Nat Chem Biol. 2010 Mar;6(3):176-177. PubMed PMID: 20154665

Ding BS, Nolan DJ, Butler JM, James D, Babazadeh AO, Rosenwaks Z, Mittal V, Kobayashi H, Shido K, Lyden D, Sato TN, Rabbany SY, Rafii S. Inductive angiocrine signals from sinusoidal endothelium are required for liver regeneration. Nature. 2010 Nov 11;468(7321):310-5. PMID: 21068842

Yao Z, Fenoglio S, Gao DC, Camiolo M, Stiles B, Lindsted T, Schlederer M, Johns C, Altorki N, Mittal V, Kenner L, Sordella R. TGF-beta IL-6 axis mediates selective and adaptive mechanisms of resistance to molecular targeted therapy in lung cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Aug 31;107(35):15535-40. PMID: 20713723

Gao D, Nolan DJ, Mellick AS, Bambino K, McDonnell K, Mittal V. Endothelial progenitor cells control the angiogenic switch in mouse lung metastasis. Science. 2008 Jan 11;319(5860):195-8. PMID: 18187653