Janaiah Kota, Ph.D.
975 West Walnut St.
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5251
Phone: (317) 278-2105
Research Program Membership
Assistant Professor of Medical and Molecular Genetics
Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics
IU School of Medicine
Our laboratory is focused on understanding the pathophysiological role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in disease mechanisms associated with advanced forms of human cancers, such as pancreatic and liver cancers, and exploring their therapeutic and biomarker potential. Previous studies from my work have provided evidence for miRNA replacement as an efficacious and non-toxic, anti-cancer therapeutic strategy (Kota et al., Cell 2009). In proof-of principle studies, we have demonstrated that systemic delivery via Adeno-associated Virus (rAAV) of miR-26a, a miRNA whose expression is frequently lost in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), potently suppressed tumor progression in a mouse model of HCC. Importantly, off-target effects were not observed. Currently, part of our research efforts are dedicated to study the role miR-26 in various etiologies associated with HCC and extending miRNA replacement therapy to other cancers, such as pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), a lethal form human malignancy with no effective therapies. More recently, a vast majority of our research efforts has been dedicated to studying the role of miRNAs in PDAC tumor-stromal biology that plays a critical role in tumor progression and resistance to anti-cancer drugs. We have laid much of the groundwork for the role of miR-29 in PDAC tumor-stromal biology and found a significant downregulation miR-29 in both stromal and cancer cells. Restored expression of miR-29 reduced stromal protein accumulation, cancer growth, and sensitized chemoresistant cancer cells to gemcitabine. Based on these preliminary results, my laboratory is setting the stage to identify/characterize critical miR-29 targets associated with PDAC tumor-stromal biology and evaluate in vivo function and therapeutic use of miR-29 in clinically relevant pre-clinical mouse models. In addition, there are other ongoing research projects that are focused on studying the biological role of miRNAs in oncogenic signaling pathways/disease mechanisms. The ultimate goal of my laboratory is to develop better treatment strategies for pancreatic and liver cancers and improve the survival of patients.
Post-doctoral Fellowship - The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 2005-2011
Ph.D. - Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), India 2005