Sayan Chakraborty


Cancers Treated:

Specializing In:

Cancer cell biology Liver cancer Agrin biology in cancer Cell signaling Tumor microenvironment Mechanotransduction in cancer Tumor angiogenesis Hippo pathway in cancer and tissue repair Targeted therapies

Research Interests:

Tumor mechanics in liver and other solid cancers Agrin biology YAP/TAZ oncogenic pathways Angiogenesis Targeting the tumor microenvironment Extracellular matrix

About Sayan Chakraborty


Sayan Chakraborty, Ph.D., completed his doctoral training from the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Sciences, North Chicago, IL, in entry, signaling and trafficking of oncogenic Human Hepesvirus-8. Subsequently, he pursued his post-doctoral studies in the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Singapore, where he discovered an oncogenic role of proteoglycan Agrin in liver cancer. His recent studies illustrate the emerging role of extracellular matrix proteins in shaping the tumor mechanotransduction and altered signaling response that impact the tumor microenvironment. Sayan has developed several targeting strategies against Agrin as novel cancer therapies. Recent discoveries also highlight an exciting role of Agrin as a tissue-repair and wound healing agent. His seminal research works are published in leading scientific journals including PNAS, Nature Communications, Nature Materials, Cell Reports and PloS Pathogens.

Sayan joined the Roswell Park community as an Assistant Professor of Oncology in 2022. The Chakraborty lab at Roswell Park establishes cutting-edge cancer research and tissue regeneration programs that investigate the in-depth molecular and biochemical mechanisms of the oncogenic and tissue-regenerative functions of Agrin. In addition to original research articles, Sayan has published international patents and is awarded with several competitive funds.

View the Chakraborty Lab


Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Assistant Professor of Oncology
  • Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics


Education and Training:

  • 2012 - PhD - Microbiology and Immunology, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Sciences, North Chicago, IL
  • 2008 - MSc - Biochemistry, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Professional Memberships:

  • 2016-present - Associate member, American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
  • 2022-present - American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD)

Professional Experience:

  • 2020-2022 - Research Assistant Professor/Senior Research Scientist, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, A*Star, Singapore
  • 2015-2020 - Senior research fellow, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, A*Star, Singapore

Honors & Awards:

  • 2021 - Career Development Award, A*STAR, Singapore
  • 2018 - Open-Fund Young Investigator Research Grant awardee, NMRC, Singapore
  • 2017 - Travel award, EMBO workshop on Hippo pathway, Italy
  • 2015 - Early career research award, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Singapore
  • 2012 - Dean's award for excellence in research, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Sciences, North Chicago, IL


Research Overview:

Chakraborty Lab

My research laboratory focuses on the microenvironmental regulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) protein(s) promoting cancer progression and tissue healing aspects of regenerative medicine. How cancer cells respond to specific ECM components by transducing mechanical inputs through defined signaling response(s) remains the overarching interest of my research. The long-term goal of my research laboratory is to devise strategies targeting the ‘corrupt ECM’ components that interfere with ECM and cancer cell communications, thereby enforcing tumor-restraining capabilities. An interesting development supporting the overall objective is illustrated by my pioneering studies on Agrin as a key member of the corrupt ECM in human liver cancers. Agrin is frequently overexpressed and secreted in human liver cancers. Agrin acts as a master regulator of mechanotransduction via oncogenic YAP/TAZ activation and ‘outside-in communications’ via engagement of integrin-focal adhesion mechanosensing complexes in cancer cells (Nature Commun. 2015; Cell Rep. 2017; Cancers. 2018, Nature Mater. 2020). Further studies showed that Agrin shapes up the mechanical landscape of the tumor microenvironment (TME) and modulates angiogenesis by stabilizing VEGFR2 in the endothelial cells (Cell Rep. 2019; Trends Cancer. 2020). As a potential target for liver cancer therapy, my laboratory is devising strategies that interfere with Agrin signaling and impair the mechanotransduction pathway to restrain tumor growth and spread.
In addition to cancer research, I am also interested in studying the role of ECM proteins in restoring the mechanical landscape following wound injury. On this front, our recent studies revealed that timely induction of Agrin or exogenous supplementation of recombinant Agrin accelerated the healing of injured skin tissues by improving angiogenesis, ECM deposition, and mechanical parameters (Nature Commun. 2021). Our long-term goal here is to investigate the role of Agrin as a bio-additive or its usage within biological scaffolds that may aid tissue healing and promote regeneration.
Combining hypothesis- and data-driven approaches, we extensively utilize molecular biology, cell biology, biochemical, tissue engineering, genomics, and animal models to study the impact of ECM proteins in cancer and wound-healing microenvironments.

Current lab members:
Dmitriy Bosykh (Research Associate)
Dr. Reza Bayat Mokhtari (Post-doctoral research affiliate)


Full Publications list on PubMed

1. Chakraborty S*, Sampath D, Ong Yu-Lin M, Bilton M, Huang CK, Njah K, Goy P, Wang C, Guccione E, Lim CT, and Wanjin Hong*. 2021. Agrin-Matrix Metalloproteinase-12 axis confers a mechanically competent microenvironment in skin wound healing. *Corresponding author. Nature Commun. 12(1):6349. News and views; Featured on CNA938 health matters on Jan 3, 2022.

2. Chakraborty S*, Hong W (2020). Oncogenetic engagement with mechanosensing. Nature. Mater. 19, 707-709. *Corresponding author.

3. Pobbati AV, Mejuch T, Chakraborty S, Karatus H, Gueret SM, Goy P, Hahne G, Sievers S, Guccione E, Song H, Waldmann H, Hong W (2019). Identification of Quinolinols as activators of Tead dependent transcription. ACS Chem Biol. 14(12):2909-2921.

4. Chakraborty S*, Njah K*, Qiu B, Arumugam S, Lakshmanan M, Tergaonkar V, Thibault G, Wang X, Hong W (2019). A role of Agrin in maintaining the stability of Vascular endothelial receptor-2 during tumor angiogenesis. Cell Rep. 28(4):949-965. *Co-first authors; #Corresponding and lead author. Featured in A-STAR research highlights September 2019, Media attention September 26, 2019 (

5. Chakraborty S*, Hong W (2018). Linking extracellular matrix Agrin to the Hippo pathway in liver cancer and beyond. Cancers 10(2):45 *Corresponding author.

6. Chakraborty S*, Kizito N, Pobbati AV, Lim YB, Raju A, Lakshmanan M, Tergaonkar V, Lim CT, Hong W* (2017). Agrin as a mechanotransduction signal regulating YAP through the Hippo pathway. Cell Rep. 18(10):2464-2479.  Highlighted in Trends in Cancer: ‘Agrin to YAP in Cancer and Neuromuscular Junctions' March 28, 2017

7. Chakraborty S, Lakshmanan M, Swa HL, Chen J, Zhang X, Ong YS, Loo LS, Gunaratne J, Tergaonkar V, Hui KM, Hong W. (2015). An oncogenic role of Agrin in regulating focal adhesion integrity in hepatocellular carcinoma. Nature. Commun. 6:6184. Featured in ‘A-STAR research highlights June 2015'

News and reviews in Straits Times “Scientist make key find in treating liver cancer''

8. Chakraborty S, ValiyaVeettil M, Bottero V, Chandran B. 2012. Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus interacts with EphrinA2 receptor to amplify signaling essential for productive infection. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2012; 109(19):E1163-72. Featured as ‘Editor's choice' in Science Signaling ‘A Gatekeeper of viral entry' Sci. Signal.,22 May 2012 Vol. 5, Issue 225, p. ec147; Highlighted as ‘Tumor virology: Entry requirements' Nature Rev Cancer: Nat Rev Cancer. 2012 Jun 22;12(7):450.