Dr. Vinata Lokeshwar, chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, is the recipient of the Society of Women in Urology/Society for Basic Urologic Research 2021 Award for Excellence in Urologic Research.
Lokeshwar’s research, which focuses on the metastasis of prostate, bladder and kidney cancer with the goal of better diagnosis and treatment, has had continuous external funding for 25 years. She is principal investigator on a $2.3 million National Cancer Institute R01 grant looking for novel biomarkers of bladder cancer; and another grant from the Department of Defense aimed at the development of new and non-invasive tests that can help predict the prognosis for people diagnosed with bladder cancer.
She has mentored more than 50 researchers, including doctoral and master’s degree students, postdoctoral fellows, research trainees and urology residents.
In 2018, the Society for Basic Urologic Research honored Lokeshwar with its Distinguished Service Award. She served as the society’s president from 2012-13 and guided the group as it transferred management and was faced with a drop in investments during one of the worst recessions in U.S. history. She has also served as a representative on the group’s Patient Advocacy, Executive and Program committees, as well as organizing the 2009 8th World Basic Urological Research Congress, in conjunction with the European Association of Urology.
Last year, she chaired the U.S. Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program Translational Science Award’s Peer Review Panel for the 2020 Prostate Cancer Research Program. The program is focused on funding research aimed at eradicating prostate cancer and promotes highly innovative, groundbreaking research; high-impact research with near-term clinical relevance; and resources that facilitate translational research.
Lokeshwar is senior editor of the textbook, Bladder Tumors: Molecular Aspects and Clinical Management, a section editor for the journal Urologic Oncology and a member of the editorial boards of Cancer, World Journal of Urology and Bladder Cancer.
She earned a PhD from St. Louis University in Missouri and completed postdoctoral studies in the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. During her postdoctoral work, she completed American Heart Association and National Cancer Institute fellowships.
Lokeshwar came to MCG in 2015 from the University of Miami-Miller School of Medicine, where she was professor and co-director of Urology Research in the Departments of Urology and Cell Biology.