2024 Recipient — Mona Singh, PhD

Photo: Dr. Mona Singh, headshot

Mona Singh, PhD

Unexplored role of specific subpopulation B cells in the ovarian cancer microenvironment

Project Summary

Ovarian cancer (OvCa) is an aggressive and lethal cancer affecting women. One reason for its aggressiveness is the presence of a fluid called ascites and tiny particles called extracellular vesicles (EVs), specifically exosomes, which contribute to the cancer’s growth and spread. These EVs can interfere with immune cells and prevent them from attacking the tumor, allowing the cancer to evade the body’s natural defenses.

The ovarian tumor environment presents challenges for B cells to function effectively. However, the exact nature and importance of B cell responses in ovarian cancer are still being debated among scientists. Therefore, it is necessary to understand how B cells affect ovarian cancer and explore their potential for targeted treatment.

Furthermore, different subsets of B cells with unique characteristics and functions may have distinct roles in fighting the tumor. Through advanced techniques like single-cell RNA sequencing, researchers have identified critical subpopulations of B cells and how EVs in the tumor environment influence their behavior.

This study aims to fill this knowledge gap by characterizing different subsets of B cells and investigating how tumor-derived EVs promote ovarian cancer progression. This research has the potential to uncover new targets for therapy and develop strategies that effectively use B cells and EV modulation to combat ovarian cancer.

This grant was made possible in part by generous donations from Ovarian Cycle Massapequa, in memory of Diane Mahlstadt, and The Donald R. and Esther Simon Foundation.


Dr. Mona is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Sunila Pradeep within the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. She obtained her doctoral degree from Jawaharlal Nehru University under the guidance of Prof. Gobardhan Das. Specializing as an immunologist, her Ph.D. research delved into the immunomodulatory effects of antitubercular drugs.
Driven by a keen interest in cancer immunology, Dr. Mona joined Dr. Pradeep's lab in 2022 as a postdoctoral fellow. Her current research is centered around the dynamics of regulatory B cells in the tumor microenvironment. This involves studying the impact of the B cell population within an ovarian cancer tumor model, prompting an in-depth examination of B cell subsets in the tumor microenvironment.
Supported by the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance, Dr. Mona's goal is to provide valuable insights that can contribute to the well-being of women with high-grade serous ovarian cancer.