Sylvia S. Gayle, PhD

Sylvia with her hand on a pyramid.

Postdoctoral Researcher

216.368.5924 (o)

I earned my BS and MS degrees in biology at the University of Akron, and my PhD in molecular systems and pharmacology at Emory University. My doctoral research focused on mechanisms of therapeutic resistance in HER2-positive breast cancer. I joined Dr. Keri’s group to gain more experience with additional breast cancer subtypes and to obtain expertise in transcriptional mechanisms regulating breast cancer and mouse modeling of breast cancer progression. I am working on a disease that is particularly important in minority women, and I hope that my research and my mentorship will have significant impact in two ways: providing new cures for this disease as well as bringing more minority students into STEM fields. I enjoy spending time with my family and traveling.

Current Research Activities

  • Expanding our knowledge of the epigenetic control of triple negative Breast cancers.
  • Novel drug combination analyses in triple negative breast cancer.

Professional/Volunteer Activities

  • 2003–2005: Ronald McNair Scholar
  • 2004–2005: Student Achievements in Research and Scholarships Scholar
  • 2005–2007: Research Specialist
  • 2006–2008: MS student at the University of Akron
  • 2008–2013: Molecular & Systems Pharmacology PhD student at Emory University
  • 2012–2013: Scholarly Inquiry and Research at Emory Howard Hughes Medical Institute Graduate Fellow
  • 2013–2015: Postdoctoral Research Fellow—Cancer Biology Trainee
  • 2014–2015: Student National Medical Association and Latino Medical Student Association Mentor
  • 2015: Great Lakes Science Center Health Careers Exploration Day Panelist
  • 2015: Case Western Reserve University Summer Undergraduate Research Program Student Mentor


  • Nahta., Shabaya S., Ozbay T., and Rowe DL. Personalizing HER2- targeted therapy in metastatic breast cancer beyond HER2 status: what we have learned from clinical specimens. Current Pharmacogenomics Personalized Medicine. 2009. 1:7(4):263- 274
  • Shabaya S. and Nahta R. Novel Therapeutic Strategies and Combinations for HER2-Overexpressing Breast Cancer. Breast Cancer- Current and Alternative Therapeutic Modalities, Esra Gunduz and Mehmet Gunduz (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-307-776- 5, InTech, Article.
  • Gayle SS., Arnold SL., O’Regan RM., Nahta R. Pharmacologic Inhibition of mTOR Improves Lapatinib Sensitivity in HER2-Overexpressing Breast Cancer Cell with Primary Trastuzumab Resistance. Anticancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry. 2012. 12(2):151-62.
  • Gayle SS., Castellino RC., Buss MC., Nahta R. Sustained MEK Inhibition increases lapatinib