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Devarajan Karunagaran, Ph.D.
Indian Institute of Technology Madras
Department of Biotechnology
Room No: BT401, Bhupat & Jyoti Mehta School of Biosciences Building, IIT campus
Chennai - 600 036   
Tamil Nadu   
Phone: +91-44-22576126
Mobile: +91-9789096126
Fax: +91-44-22574102
Positions Held:
Position Affiliation Time Period
Professor Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai, India 2007-Present
Scientist E-II Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram, India 2002-2006
Scientist E-I Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram, India 2002-2002
Scientist E-II Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram, India 2000-2002
Scientist E-I Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram, India 1997-2000
Principal Investigator MD Anderson Cancer Centre, Houston, Texas, USA 1995-1997
Post Doctoral Fellowship The Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel 1992-1995
Area of Specialization:
Cancer Biology
Research Summary:
Role of microRNAs in cancer
TGF-β signaling
NF-κB signaling
1. Kavitha, K., Vidya, P., Anitha, P., Ramalingam, K., Sakthivel, R., Purushothaman, G., Singh, A. K., Karunagaran, D. and Nagini, S.  Nimbolide, a neem limonoid abrogates canonical NF-kappaB and Wnt signaling to induce caspase-dependent apoptosis in human hepatocarcinoma (HepG2) cells. European Journal of Pharmacology. 2012.  681, 6-14. [PubMed]
2. Juneja, M., Vanam, U., Paranthaman, S., Bharathan, A., Keerthi, V. S., Reena, J. K., Rajaram, R., Rajasekharan, K. N. and Karunagaran, D.  4-Amino-2-arylamino-5-indoloyl/cinnamoythiazoles, analogs of topsentin-class of marine alkaloids, induce apoptosis in HeLa cells. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 2013.  63, 474-483. [PubMed]
3. Subramoniam, A., Asha, V. V., Nair, S. A., Sasidharan, S. P., Sureshkumar, P. K., Rajendran, K. N., Karunagaran, D. and Ramalingam, K.  Chlorophyll revisited: anti-inflammatory activities of chlorophyll a and inhibition of expression of TNF-alpha gene by the same. Inflammation. 2012.  35, 959-966. [PubMed]
4. Kumar, N. B., Dhurandhar, M., Aggarwal, B., Anant, S., Daniel, K., Deng, G., Djeu, J., Dou, J., Hawk, E., Jayaram, B., Jia, L., Joshi, R., Kararala, M., Karunagaran, D., Kucuk, O., Kumar, L., Malafa, M., Samathanam, G. J., Sarkar, F., Siddiqi, M., Singh, R. P., Srivastava, A. and White, J. D.  Proceedings of the Indo-U.S. bilateral workshop on accelerating botanicals/biologics agent development research for cancer chemoprevention, treatment, and survival. Cancer Medicine. 2013.  2, 108-115. [PubMed]
5. Savita, U. and Karunagaran, D.  MicroRNA-106b-25 cluster targets beta-TRCP2, increases the expression of Snail and enhances cell migration and invasion in H1299 (non small cell lung cancer) cells. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 2013.  434, 841-847. [PubMed]
6. John, V., Sakthivel, R., Muraleedharan, K. M. and Karunagaran, D.  N-substituted 1,2-dihydroquinolines as anticancer agents: electronic control of redox stability, assessment of antiproliferative effects, and mechanistic insights. ChemMedChem. 2013.  8, 1623-1628. [PubMed]
7. Priyadarsini, R. V., Murugan, R. S., Maitreyi, S., Ramalingam, K., Karunagaran, D. and Nagini, S.  The flavonoid quercetin induces cell cycle arrest and mitochondria-mediated apoptosis in human cervical cancer (HeLa) cells through p53 induction and NF-kappaB inhibition. European Journal of Pharmacology. 2010.  649, 84-91. [PubMed]
8. Murugan, R. S., Priyadarsini, R. V., Ramalingam, K., Hara, Y., Karunagaran, D. and Nagini, S.  Intrinsic apoptosis and NF-kappaB signaling are potential molecular targets for chemoprevention by black tea polyphenols in HepG2 cells in vitro and in a rat hepatocarcinogenesis model in vivo. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2010.  48, 3281-3287. [PubMed]
9. Panicker, S. R., Sreenivas, P., Babu, M. S., Karunagaran, D. and Kartha, C. C.  Quercetin attenuates Monocyte Chemoattractant Protein-1 gene expression in glucose primed aortic endothelial cells through NF-kappaB and AP-1. Pharmacological Research. 2010.  62, 328-336. [PubMed]
10. Priyadarsini, R. V., Murugan, R. S., Sripriya, P., Karunagaran, D. and Nagini, S.  The neem limonoids azadirachtin and nimbolide induce cell cycle arrest and mitochondria-mediated apoptosis in human cervical cancer (HeLa) cells. Free Radical Research. 2010.  44, 624-634. [PubMed]
11. Antony, M. L., Nair, R., Sebastian, P. and Karunagaran, D.  Changes in expression, and/or mutations in TGF-beta receptors (TGF-beta RI and TGF-beta RII) and Smad 4 in human ovarian tumors. Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology. 2010.  136, 351-361. [PubMed]
12. Sivakumar, K. C., Thomas, B. and Karunagaran, D.  Three dimensional structure of the closed conformation (active) of human merlin reveals masking of actin binding site in the FERM domain. International Journal of Bioinformatics Research and Applications. 2009.  5, 516-524. [PubMed]
13. Paul, B. T., Babu, M. S., Santhoshkumar, T. R., Karunagaran, D., Selvam, G. S., Brown, K., Woo, T., Sharma, S., Naicker, S. and Murugesan, R.  Biophysical evaluation of two red-shifted hypocrellin B derivatives as novel PDT agents. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology. B, Biology. 2009.  94, 38-44. [PubMed]
14. Saja, K., Babu, M. S., Karunagaran, D. and Sudhakaran, P. R.  Anti-inflammatory effect of curcumin involves downregulation of MMP-9 in blood mononuclear cells. International Immunopharmacology. 2007.  7, 1659-1667. [PubMed]
15. Karunagaran, D., Joseph, J. and Kumar, T. R.  Cell growth regulation. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. 2007.  595, 245-268. [PubMed]
16. Erlich, S., Tal-Or, P., Liebling, R., Blum, R., Karunagaran, D., Kloog, Y. and Pinkas-Kramarski, R.  Ras inhibition results in growth arrest and death of androgen-dependent and androgen-independent prostate cancer cells. Biochemical Pharmacology. 2006.  72, 427-436. [PubMed]
17. Mohan, J., Gandhi, A. A., Bhavya, B. C., Rashmi, R., Karunagaran, D., Indu, R. and Santhoshkumar, T. R.  Caspase-2 triggers Bax-Bak-dependent and -independent cell death in colon cancer cells treated with resveratrol. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2006.  281, 17599-17611. [PubMed]
18. Kumaraguruparan, R., Karunagaran, D., Balachandran, C., Manohar, B. M. and Nagini, S.  Of humans and canines: a comparative evaluation of heat shock and apoptosis-associated proteins in mammary tumors. Clinica Chimica Acta; International Journal of Clinical Chemistry. 2006.  365, 168-176. [PubMed]
19. Venkatraman, M., Anto, R. J., Nair, A., Varghese, M. and Karunagaran, D.  Biological and chemical inhibitors of NF-kappaB sensitize SiHa cells to cisplatin-induced apoptosis. Molecular Carcinogenesis. 2005.  44, 51-59. [PubMed]
20. Karunagaran, D., Rashmi, R. and Kumar, T. R.  Induction of apoptosis by curcumin and its implications for cancer therapy. Current Cancer Drug Targets. 2005.  5, 117-129. [PubMed]
21. Rashmi, R., Kumar, S. and Karunagaran, D.  Human colon cancer cells lacking Bax resist curcumin-induced apoptosis and Bax requirement is dispensable with ectopic expression of Smac or downregulation of Bcl-XL. Carcinogenesis. 2005.  26, 713-723. [PubMed]
22. Bava, S. V., Puliappadamba, V. T., Deepti, A., Nair, A., Karunagaran, D. and Anto, R. J.  Sensitization of taxol-induced apoptosis by curcumin involves down-regulation of nuclear factor-kappaB and the serine/threonine kinase Akt and is independent of tubulin polymerization. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2005.  280, 6301-6308. [PubMed]
23. Rashmi, R., Kumar, S. and Karunagaran, D.  Ectopic expression of Bcl-XL or Ku70 protects human colon cancer cells (SW480) against curcumin-induced apoptosis while their down-regulation potentiates it. Carcinogenesis. 2004.  25, 1867-1877. [PubMed]
24. Maliekal, T. T., Anto, R. J. and Karunagaran, D.  Differential activation of Smads in HeLa and SiHa cells that differ in their response to transforming growth factor-beta. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2004.  279, 36287-36292. [PubMed]
25. Oommen, S., Anto, R. J., Srinivas, G. and Karunagaran, D.  Allicin (from garlic) induces caspase-mediated apoptosis in cancer cells. European Journal of Pharmacology. 2004.  485, 97-103. [PubMed]
26. Rashmi, R., Kumar, S. and Karunagaran, D.  Ectopic expression of Hsp70 confers resistance and silencing its expression sensitizes human colon cancer cells to curcumin-induced apoptosis. Carcinogenesis. 2004.  25, 179-187. [PubMed]
27. Maliekal, T. T., Antony, M. L., Nair, A., Paulmurugan, R. and Karunagaran, D.  Loss of expression, and mutations of Smad 2 and Smad 4 in human cervical cancer. Oncogene. 2003.  22, 4889-4897. [PubMed]
28. Srinivas, G., Anto, R. J., Srinivas, P., Vidhyalakshmi, S., Senan, V. P. and Karunagaran, D.  Emodin induces apoptosis of human cervical cancer cells through poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage and activation of caspase-9. European Journal of Pharmacology. 2003.  473, 117-125. [PubMed]
29. Anto, R. J., Venkatraman, M. and Karunagaran, D.  Inhibition of NF-kappaB sensitizes A431 cells to epidermal growth factor-induced apoptosis, whereas its activation by ectopic expression of RelA confers resistance. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2003.  278, 25490-25498. [PubMed]
30. Asha, N., Karunagaran, D., Nair, M. B. and Sudhakaran, P. R.  Changes in matrix metalloproteinases and their endogenous inhibitors during tumor progression in the uterine cervix. Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology. 2003.  129, 123-131. [PubMed]
31. Rashmi, R., Santhosh, K. and Karunagaran, D.  Human colon cancer cells differ in their sensitivity to curcumin-induced apoptosis and heat shock protects them by inhibiting the release of apoptosis-inducing factor and caspases. FEBS Letters. 2003.  538, 19-24. [PubMed]
32. Nair, A., Venkatraman, M., Maliekal, T. T., Nair, B. and Karunagaran, D.  NF-kappaB is constitutively activated in high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions and squamous cell carcinomas of the human uterine cervix. Oncogene. 2003.  22, 50-58. [PubMed]
33. Rabi, T., Karunagaran, D., Krishnan, N. and Bhattathiri, V. N.  Cytotoxic activity of amooranin and its derivatives. Phytotherapy Research : PTR. 2002.  16 Suppl 1, S84-6. [PubMed]
34. Anto, R. J., Maliekal, T. T. and Karunagaran, D.  L-929 cells harboring ectopically expressed RelA resist curcumin-induced apoptosis. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2000.  275, 15601-15604. [PubMed]
35. Shao, R., Karunagaran, D., Zhou, B. P., Li, K., Lo, S. S., Deng, J., Chiao, P. and Hung, M. C.  Inhibition of nuclear factor-kappaB activity is involved in E1A-mediated sensitization of radiation-induced apoptosis. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 1997.  272, 32739-32742. [PubMed]
36. Kiyokawa, N., Karunagaran, D., Lee, E. K., Xie, Y., Yan, D. H. and Hung, M. C.  Involvement of cdc2-mediated phosphorylation in the cell cycle-dependent regulation of p185neu. Oncogene. 1997.  15, 2633-2641. [PubMed]
37. Kiyokawa, N., Lee, E. K., Karunagaran, D., Lin, S. Y. and Hung, M. C.  Mitosis-specific negative regulation of epidermal growth factor receptor, triggered by a decrease in ligand binding and dimerization, can be overcome by overexpression of receptor. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 1997.  272, 18656-18665. [PubMed]
38. Chen, H., Yu, D., Chinnadurai, G., Karunagaran, D. and Hung, M. C.  Mapping of adenovirus 5 E1A domains responsible for suppression of neu-mediated transformation via transcriptional repression of neu. Oncogene. 1997.  14, 1965-1971. [PubMed]
39. Tzahar, E., Waterman, H., Chen, X., Levkowitz, G., Karunagaran, D., Lavi, S., Ratzkin, B. J. and Yarden, Y.  A hierarchical network of interreceptor interactions determines signal transduction by Neu differentiation factor/neuregulin and epidermal growth factor. Molecular and Cellular Biology. 1996.  16, 5276-5287. [PubMed]
40. Chen, X., Levkowitz, G., Tzahar, E., Karunagaran, D., Lavi, S., Ben-Baruch, N., Leitner, O., Ratzkin, B. J., Bacus, S. S. and Yarden, Y.  An immunological approach reveals biological differences between the two NDF/heregulin receptors, ErbB-3 and ErbB-4. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 1996.  271, 7620-7629. [PubMed]
41. Karunagaran, D., Tzahar, E., Beerli, R. R., Chen, X., Graus-Porta, D., Ratzkin, B. J., Seger, R., Hynes, N. E. and Yarden, Y.  ErbB-2 is a common auxiliary subunit of NDF and EGF receptors: implications for breast cancer. The EMBO Journal. 1996.  15, 254-264. [PubMed]
42. Karunagaran, D., Tzahar, E., Liu, N., Wen, D. and Yarden, Y.  Neu differentiation factor inhibits EGF binding. A model for trans-regulation within the ErbB family of receptor tyrosine kinases. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 1995.  270, 9982-9990. [PubMed]
43. Marikovsky, M., Lavi, S., Pinkas-Kramarski, R., Karunagaran, D., Liu, N., Wen, D. and Yarden, Y.  ErbB-3 mediates differential mitogenic effects of NDF/heregulin isoforms on mouse keratinocytes. Oncogene. 1995.  10, 1403-1411. [PubMed]
44. Tzahar, E., Levkowitz, G., Karunagaran, D., Yi, L., Peles, E., Lavi, S., Chang, D., Liu, N., Yayon, A., Wen, D. and et, a. l. ..  ErbB-3 and ErbB-4 function as the respective low and high affinity receptors of all Neu differentiation factor/heregulin isoforms. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 1994.  269, 25226-25233. [PubMed]
45. Wen, D., Suggs, S. V., Karunagaran, D., Liu, N., Cupples, R. L., Luo, Y., Janssen, A. M., Ben-Baruch, N., Trollinger, D. B., Jacobsen, V. L. and et, a. l. ..  Structural and functional aspects of the multiplicity of Neu differentiation factors. Molecular and Cellular Biology. 1994.  14, 1909-1919. [PubMed]
46. Dhanunjayanath, V., Karunagaran, D., and Ramakrishna Rao, P.  Effect of fluoride on germination and starch mobilization of horse gram seeds. Indian J. Plant Physiol. 1993. 36. 131-133.
47. Karunagaran, D., Mohana, M.N and Usha, V.  Influence of axis on hydrolase development in cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L.) cotyledons during germination.  Indian J. Plant Physiol. 1992. 35. 300-304.
48. Karunagaran, D., and Ramakrishna Rao, P. Mode and control of starch mobilization during germination of seeds of horse gram. Plant Sci. 1991. 73. 155-159.
49. Karunagaran, D. and Ramakrishna Rao, P. Development of mitochondria in horse gram cotyledons during germination. Indian J. Plant Physiol. 1990. 33: 219-225.
50. Karunagaran, D. and Ramakrishna Rao, P. Axial control of protease development in cotyledons of horse gram (Macrotyloma uniform Lam.) seeds during germination. Indian J. Plant Physiol. 1990. 33. 232-238.
51. Herbert Manoharan, T., Jayachandran, N., Karunagaran, D. and Natarajan, K. R. Influence of Fluchloralin on the growth and metabolism of maize seedlings.  The Plant Biochem. J. 1981. 8. 103-116.
52. Herbert Manoharan, T., Thirunavukkarasu, A., Karunagaran, D. and Natarajan, K. R. Effects of Fluchloralin on the metabolism of cowpea ( Vigna unguiculata L.) seedlings. Indian J. Exp. Biol. 1981. 19. 943-947.
53. D. Karunagaran and S. Asha Nair. Relevance of Rel signaling in cancer Amala Research Bulletin. 2001. 21. 1-3.
54. D. Karunagaran. Fight against cancer continues, armed with novel biotechnological tools.  In “ A Compendium on the Focal Theme of National Science Day” State Committee on Science, Technology and Environment, Government of Kerala. 2003. 68-74.
55. D. Karunagaran. Cancer treatment: Novel biotechnological approaches. Kerala Calling. December 2003. 18-20.
56. D. Karunagaran. Transforming growth factor-b signaling in cancer. Amala Research Bulletin. 2004. 24. 12-17.
57. D. Karunagaran. Coercing cancer cells to commit suicide through molecular targeting. Advanced Biotech.  October 2004. 15-18.


Book Chapters:
Karunagaran, D. and Goodwin Jinesh. TGF-β, Smads and Cervical Cancer. In Transforming Growth Factor-Beta in Cancer Therapy Volume II Cancer Drug Discovery and Development, Jakowlew, Sonia. Editor.The Humana Press, Inc., New Jersey, USA.2008
Karunagaran, D., Jeena Joseph and T. R. Santhosh Kumar. Cell Growth Regulation by Curcumin. In The Molecular Targets and Therapeutic Uses of Curcumin in Health and Disease. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology , Vol. 595 Aggarwal, Bharat B.; Surh, Young-Joon; Shishodia, Shishir, Eds. Springer Publishers, New York. 2007
Karunagaran, D. and Goodwin Jinesh. Biotechnological approaches in the detection and treatment of cancer. In Advances in Biotechnology. Editor. P. C. Trivedi, Agrobios (India), Jodhpur. 2005
Karunagaran, D. Relevance of Apoptosis to Cancer. In: Biotechnology: Emerging Trends. Joseph Selvin et al. Eds. Biotech Publishers, New Delhi. 2003
Karunagaran, D., and Bharat Aggarwal. Transcription factors as targets for drug development In Pathomechanisms- New trends in drug research: Molecular mechanisms and new trends in drug development. Eds. Gyorgy Keri and Istvan Toth, Taylor and Francis, London and New York. 2003
Grant Support:
Project Title Role Funding Agency Sanction Number Sanction Date
Regulation of nuclear factor-kappa B by epidermal growth factor Department of Science & Technology, Government of India 1999-2002
A study on the antiproliferative effects of organosulphur compounds from garlic in human cancer cell lines Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development, Government of Kerala, India 2002-2004
Studies on NF-kB, IkB and HSP70 proteins in cancer cell lines Defence Research and Development Organisation, New Delhi, India 2003-2006
Bioinformatics distributed information sub-centre Department of Biotechnology, Government of India 2002-2007
A study on the transforming growth factor- beta signaling intermediate, Smad3, in human cervical cancer Department of Science & Technology, Government of India 2005-2008
A study on the activators and targets of NF-kB in human cancer cells Department of Biotechnology, Government of India 2006-2009
Program support in cancer biology Department of Biotechnology, Government of India 2008-2011
Cytomodulins in oral cancer therapy Department of Biotechnology, Government of India 2009-2011
A study on the apoptosis inducing effects of cytomodulins (transforming growth factor – beta like peptides) in human cancer cell lines Mediscient Inc., San Mateo, USA 2005-2006


My CV:   Download
M.Sc. in Biochemistry, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India
M.Phil. in Biochemistry, University of Madras, Chennai, India
Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Sri Krishnadevaraya University, Anantapur, India
Honors and Awards
2003, C. R. Krishnamurti Lecture Award by the Society of Biological Chemists (India)
Editorial Board Member - Cell Research
Reviewer - Carcinogenesis, Cell Research, International Journal of Cancer, International Archives of Bioscience, Indian Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, Indian Journal of Microbiology, Current Science, Genes chromosomes and Cancer, Phytochemistry, Cancer Letters, Molecular Cancer, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, BMC Cancer, Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, PLOS one, Nutrition, International Journal of Cell Biology
Vice President, Society of Biological Chemists (India)
Project Reviewing and Steering Group, Ministry of Information Technology, Govt. of India
Accreditation Committee, NBA, AICTE, New Delhi
Management Advisory Committee, M.Sc. Biotechnology teaching program, School of Biotechnology, Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai
Board of Studies in Biochemistry, Annamalai University
Board of Studies in Aquatic Biology, University of Kerala
Board of Studies in Bioinformatics, University of Calicut
Board of Studies in Biotechnology, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore
Board of Studies in Biochemistry, PSG College of Arts and Science (Autonomous), Coimbatore
Resource person for UGC refresher courses in Life Sciences
Governing Council, Amala Cancer Centre, Thrissur
Member, Executive Committee, Centre for Biotechnology, Anna University, Chennai
Scientific Advisory Board, Sugen Life Sciences, Tirupati
Advisory Board, Department of Biotechnology, Malankara Catholic College, Kaliakavilai, Tamil Nadu
American Association for Cancer Research
Indian Association for Cancer Research
Society of Biotechnologists (India)
Indian Society of Cell Biology
Type of Neoplasms
Head and Neck
Oral cavity
Female genital system
  Last modified on : Dec 15, 2015
India Cancer Research Database has been developed by the Institute of Bioinformatics with funding from the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.