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Ila Singh

  • PROFESSOR Pathology
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  • Clinical Pathology

Clinical Focus

  • Clinical Laboratory Testing


  • MBBS, University of Bombay, Topiwala Nati

  • PhD, Yale University

  • MD, University of Bombay

  • Residency, Clinical Pathology
    New York Presbyterian Hospital

  • Fellowship, Viral Diseases
    Stanford University Hospital


  • 2007 -
    Laboratory Medicine Faculty Teaching Award, Columbia University

  • 2005 - 2009
    Irma T. Hirschi Trust Career Scientist Award

  • 1986 -
    Dr. D. H. Dudha Memorial First Prize in Medicine, University of Bombay


Our research interests involve many aspects of retroviral replication.  We study HIV-1, Moloney murine leukemia virus and XMRV, a xenotropic murine-like retrovirus that has been implicated in human disease.

Using the novel approach of genetic footprinting that we developed, we performed a saturating mutagenesis of several retroviral sequences, thereby identifying many retroviral sequences that are essential for viral replication.  We analyzed some of these regions in greater detail and determined their precise role in the viral life cycle, which included uncoating, nuclear transport of the viral replication intermediates, capsid assembly and viral release. 

We are currently examining the process of transport of HIV-1 proviral DNA into the nucleus of the infected cell.  This is a very important step in the viral replication cycle and needs to occur for the viral DNA to integrate into the host chromosome.  Yet, we understand very little about how it occurs.  HIV DNA can enter the nucleus of non-dividing cells and these cells can serve as a reservoir for virus that remains inaccessible to anti-viral drugs.  Understanding nuclear transport of HIV-1 and designing methods to block it, will be very important to address this otherwise inaccessible fraction of virus that is resistant to prolonged anti-viral therapy.

More recently our interest has focused on XMRV, a newly discovered xenotropic retrovirus, associated with prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome in at least some studies. We continue to investigate the role played by XMRV and other related retroviruses in prostate cancer.  Our experiments show that XMRV is a gammaretrovirus with protein composition and particle ultrastructure highly similar to Moloney murine leukemia virus, another oncogenic gammaretrovirus that we have studied for the last several years. We are studying XMRV replication in cultured cells, and analyzing the possible mechanisms of oncogenesis by xenotropic viruses.  

Our studies were the first to comprehensively and conclusively show that XMRV was not present in samples collected from patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.  We continue to look for other causes of chronic fatigue syndrome, as well as work towards better ways to define and diagnose the disease.

Link to Dr. Singh's research lab page

PubMed link to Dr. Singh's publications

A select list of publication are seen below


Shin CH, Bateman L, Schlaberg R, Bunker AM, Leonard CJ, Hughen RW, Light AR, Light KC, Singh IR. Absence of XMRV retrovirus and other murine leukemia virus-related viruses in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Journal of virology 2011 Jul; 85(14).

Schlaberg R, Choe DJ, Brown KR, Thaker HM, Singh IR. XMRV is present in malignant prostatic epithelium and is associated with prostate cancer, especially high-grade tumors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2009 Sep; 106(38).

Auerbach MR, Brown KR, Singh IR. Mutational analysis of the N-terminal domain of Moloney murine leukemia virus capsid protein. Journal of virology 2007 Nov; 81(22).

Auerbach MR, Shu C, Kaplan A, Singh IR. Functional characterization of a portion of the Moloney murine leukemia virus gag gene by genetic footprinting. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2003 Sep; 100(20).

Singh IR, Crowley RA, Brown PO. High-resolution functional mapping of a cloned gene by genetic footprinting. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 1997 Feb; 94(4).

Singh IR, Crowley RA, Brown PO. High-resolution functional mapping of a cloned gene by genetic footprinting. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 1997 Feb; 94(4).

Industry Relationships

Physicians and scientists on the faculty of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai often interact with pharmaceutical, device and biotechnology companies to improve patient care, develop new therapies and achieve scientific breakthroughs. In order to promote an ethical and transparent environment for conducting research, providing clinical care and teaching, Mount Sinai requires that salaried faculty inform the School of their relationships with such companies.

Dr. Singh did not report having any of the following types of financial relationships with industry during 2015 and/or 2016: consulting, scientific advisory board, industry-sponsored lectures, service on Board of Directors, participation on industry-sponsored committees, equity ownership valued at greater than 5% of a publicly traded company or any value in a privately held company. Please note that this information may differ from information posted on corporate sites due to timing or classification differences.

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