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Faculty Detail    
Campus Address SHEL 814 Zip 2182
Phone  (205) 934-6731
Other websites

Undergraduate  University of Madras, India    1980  B.Sc 
Graduate  University of Madras    1982  M.S. 
Graduate  University of Madras    1984  M.Phil. Genetics 
Graduate  University of Madras    1989  Ph.D. Genetics 

Faculty Appointment(s)
Appointment Type Department Division Rank
Center  Biomedical Engineering  Biomatrix Eng Regen Med (BERM) Ctr Professor
Center  Center for Biophysical Sciences/Engineering  Center for Biophysical Sciences/Engineering Professor
Center  Comp Arthritis, MSK, Bone & Autoimmunity Ctr  Comp Arthritis, MSK, Bone & Autoimmunity Ctr Professor
Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center Professor
Center  Comprehensive Diabetes Center  Comprehensive Diabetes Center Professor
Center  Cystic Fibrosis Research Center  Cystic Fibrosis Research Center Professor
Center  GL Ctr for Craniofacial, Oral, & Dental Disorders  GL Ctr for Craniofacial, Oral, & Dental Disorders Professor
Primary  Pathology   Molecular & Cellular Pathology Professor
Center  General Clinical Research Center  Nephrology Research & Training Center Professor

Graduate Biomedical Sciences Affiliations
Cancer Biology 
Integrative Biomedical Sciences 
Medical Scientist Training Program 
Molecular and Cellular Pathology Program 
Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine 

Biographical Sketch 
Dr. Ponnazhagan received his BS and MS degrees from the University of Madras and his PhD degree in Genetics from the University of Madras. He completed postdoctoral training at the Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis.

Society Memberships
Organization Name Position Held Org Link
American Association for Cancer Research     
American Association for the Advancement of Science     
American Society for Gene Therapy     

Research/Clinical Interest
Experimental Cancer Therapeutics and BOne Diseases: From Basic to Preclinical Studies
The major focus of my research work is Biology and Experimental Therapy of Cancer and Bone Defects. My laboratory uses multiple, cutting-edge approaches to address these two major pathologies to identifying novel targets and developing gene- and cell-based therapeutics to treat these two important health problems. On cancer related projects, over the last decade, my laboratory has been developing and testing gene-based immunotherapy approaches for treating cancer. Another arm of cancer therapy that my laboratory is focused on is a tumoristatic approach. We are using gene delivery to stably express factors in the body that specifically target tumor vasculature and arrest their growth. Studies so far in a preclinical prostate cancer mouse model had shown promising results. We are presently harnessing this approach for possible clinical translation in future. In the area of bone research, the main focus of my laboratory is to develop and test the potential of genetically-engineered adult stem cells to effectively treat osteopenic conditions including non-union fractures that show dismal outcome for any therapy. From our understanding of the molecular mechanisms in cancer and bone diseases independently, with a translational focus using novel experimental therapeutics, in the last few years, studies in my laboratory have been expanded to adapt and exploit the potential of these approaches to benefit in complementation. For example, one of the major areas of metastasis of several cancers is bone. Dissemination of the primary cancer to bone greatly increases morbidity and mortality of the patients with high degree of bone damage. We have been able to successfully interfere with this problem using strategies developed to induce new bone formation. As well, our interest in tumor vaccine and understanding of cancer immunology has given us a unique platform to investigate and understand hitherto unraveled mechanisms of osteoimmunolgy of cancer bone metastasis.

Selected Publications 
Publication PUBMEDID

ponnazhagan s 
Lee JH, Isayeva T, Larson MR, Sawant A, Cha HR, Chanda D, Chesnokov IN, Ponnazhagan S.
Endostatin: A novel inhibitor of androgen receptor function in prostate cancer.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Feb 3;112(5):1392-7.
Higgs JT, Jarboe JS, Lee JH, Chanda D, Lee CM, Deivanayagam C, Ponnazhagan S.
Variants of Osteoprotegerin Lacking TRAIL Binding for Therapeutic Bone Remodeling in Osteolytic Malignancies.
Mol Cancer Res. 2015 May;13(5):819-27.
Cha HR, Lee JH, Hensel JA, Sawant AB, Davis BH, Lee CM, Deshane JS, Ponnazhagan S.
Prostate cancer-derived cathelicidin-related antimicrobial peptide facilitates macrophage differentiation and polarization of immature myeloid progenitors to protumorigenic macrophages.
Prostate. 2016 May;76(7):624-36.
Levy S, Feduska JM, Sawant A, Gilbert SR, Hensel JA, Ponnazhagan S.
Immature myeloid cells are critical for enhancing bone fracture healing through angiogenic cascade.
Bone. 2016 Dec;93:113-124.
Lee JH, Kang M, Wang H, Naik G, Mobley JA, Sonpavde G, Garvey WT, Darley-Usmar VM, Ponnazhagan S.
Endostatin inhibits androgen-independent prostate cancer growth by suppressing nuclear receptor-mediated oxidative stress.
FASEB J. 2017 Apr;31(4):1608-1619.  
Kumar S, Eroglu E, Stokes JA 3rd, Scissum-Gunn K, Saldanha SN, Singh UP, Manne U, Ponnazhagan S, Mishra MK.
Resveratrol induces mitochondria-mediated, caspase-independent apoptosis in murine prostate cancer cells.
Oncotarget. 2017 Mar 28;8(13):20895-20908. 
Hensel JA, Khattar V, Ashton R, Lee C, Siegal GP, Ponnazhagan S.
Location of tumor affects local and distant immune cell type and number.
Immun Inflamm Dis. 2017 Feb 23;5(1):85-94.
McConnell M, Feng S, Chen W, Zhu G, Shen D, Ponnazhagan S, Deng L, Li YP.
Osteoclast proton pump regulator Atp6v1c1 enhances breast cancer growth by activating the mTORC1 pathway and bone metastasis by increasing V-ATPase activity.
Oncotarget. 2017 Jul 18;8(29):47675-47690.
Moore-Smith LD, Isayeva T, Lee JH, Frost A, Ponnazhagan S.
Silencing of TGF-β1 in tumor cells impacts MMP-9 in tumor microenvironment.
Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 17;7(1):8678.
Chanda D, Hensel JA, Higgs JT, Grover R, Kaza N, Ponnazhagan S.
Effects of Cellular Methylation on Transgene Expression and Site-Specific Integration of Adeno-Associated Virus.
Genes 2017 Sep 18;8(9).
Higgs JT, Lee JH, Wang H, Ramani VC, Chanda D, Hardy CY, Sanderson RD, Ponnazhagan S.
Mesenchymal stem cells expressing osteoprotegerin variants inhibit osteolysis in a murine model of multiple myeloma.
Blood Adv. 2017 Nov 21;1(25):2375-2385.

Breast Cancer; Prostate Cancer; Osteoimmunology; Bone Metastasis; Osteogenesis; Bone Fracture; Stem Cell Therapy