Joshua Mendell, MD, PhD

  • Recruited to: The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Recruited from: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Award: Rising Star

Dr. Joshua Mendell attained his undergraduate degree in Biology at Cornell University in 1996 and subsequently completed an M.D.-Ph.D degree at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2003.  Josh further pursued a year of postdoctoral research with Hal Dietz at Johns Hopkins.  During his doctoral and post-doctoral training, Josh studied nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD), a ubiquitous pathway in eukaryotic cells through which messenger RNAs containing premature translation termination codons are targeted for degradation.  He made important contributions to this field including the identification and functional characterization of core mammalian components of the NMD pathway and the demonstration that mammalian NMD functions not only as a quality control checkpoint during gene expression, but more broadly as a physiologic regulator of thousands of natural transcripts.  

After starting his independent research group at Johns Hopkins in 2004, Josh switched his focus to the study of microRNA (miRNA) regulation and function in normal physiology and disease.  His laboratory provided one of the first demonstrations that miRNAs are functional components of critical oncogenic and tumor suppressor pathways and his group has identified specific miRNAs with potent pro- and anti-tumorigenic activities.  The Mendell laboratory was one of the first to show that due to their ability to strongly inhibit tumorigenesis, select miRNAs represent potent and non-toxic anti-cancer therapeutic agents when delivered systemically.  The Mendell laboratory has also characterized novel mechanisms of miRNA regulation, including demonstrating for the first time that miRNA stability and intracellular trafficking can be regulated in a sequence-specified manner.  

He won the 2016 Edith and Peter O’Donnell award in medicine from The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST). In addition, Josh was named the Outstanding Young Scientist in the State of Maryland by the Maryland Academy of Sciences in 2007, and in 2009 was appointed to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as an Early Career Scientist. In 2010, he received the AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research. Josh relocated his laboratory from John Hopkins University to UT Southwestern Medical Center in 2011 after receiving a “Recruitment of Rising Stars” Award from CPRIT.