A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

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Natarajan, Rama, Ph.D, F.A.H.A, F.A.S.N. Research

Rama Natarajan, Ph.D, F.A.H.A, F.A.S.N. Research
The major focus of our research is to determine the cellular and molecular mechanisms that play key roles in the development of diabetic vascular complications. We use genomic, transcriptomic and epigenomic approaches in cell culture, animal and clinical models to examine our hypothesis that accelerated vascular complications result from enhanced vascular and renal cell growth, and also monocyte activation due to altered expression of inflammatory cytokines, chemokines and lipids under diabetic conditions.
We are actively evaluating molecular mechanisms involved in the expression of pathological genes under diabetic conditions and in promoting metabolic memory. We have demonstrated the role of specific chromatin histone posttranslational modifications in the epigenetic regulation of inflammatory genes. We use epigenomic profiling approaches to map histone modifications, DNA methylation and binding of chromatin factors at diabetes-regulated genes with techniques such as Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays, ChIP-linked to microarrays, and ChIP-Sequencing. We have uncovered key epigenetic alterations under diabetic conditions in vitro, in vivo in diabetic mice, and in cells from diabetic patients, and shown relevance to the phenomenon of metabolic memory.
Another active area is the evaluation of specific microRNAs in regulating the expression of inflammatory and fibrotic genes under diabetic conditions. We are examining various mechanisms of microRNA regulation, performing expression profiling using RNA-sequencing, and studying how key microRNAs co-operate with each other in a circuit to amplify the effects of growth factors under diabetic conditions. To test the functional significance in the kidney, we are generating microRNA knockout mice and also evaluating novel modified inhibitors of specific microRNAs (antagomirs) on the progression of diabetic kidney disease in mouse models.

Lab Members

Rama Natarajan, Ph.D., F.A.H.A, F.A.S.N.
National Office Products Endowed Professor
626-256-HOPE (4673), ext. 62289
Marpadga A. Reddy, Ph.D.
Assistant Research Professor
626-256-HOPE (4673), ext. 63671
Feng Miao, Ph.D.
Assistant Research Professor
626-256-HOPE (4673), ext. 65575
Mitsuo Kato, Ph.D.
Assistant Research Professor
626-256-HOPE (4673), ext. 63996
Kirti Bhatt, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
626-256-HOPE (4673), ext. 65811
Nancy Castro, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
626-256-HOPE (4673), ext. 64690
Ye Jia, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
626-256-HOPE (4673), ext. 62289
Amy Leung, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
626-256-HOPE (4673), ext. 62278
Jung-tak Park, M.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
626-256-HOPE (4673), ext. 64809
Hang Yuan, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
626-256-HOPE (4673), ext. 65817
Supriya Deschpande
Graduate Student
626-256-HOPE (4673), ext. 65835
Wen Jin
Graduate Student
626-256-HOPE (4673), ext. 65823
Linda Lanting, B.S.
Research Associate
626-256-HOPE (4673), ext. 64692
Mei Wang, M.S.
Research Associate
626-256-HOPE (4673), ext. 64676
Lingxiao Zhang, M.S.
Research Associate
626-256-HOPE (4673), ext. 65571
Nancy (Zhuo) Chen
Bioinformatics Specialist
656-256-HOPE (4673), ext. 65058
Our Scientists

Our research laboratories are led by the best and brightest minds in scientific research.

Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope is internationally  recognized for its innovative biomedical research.
City of Hope is one of only 41 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the country, the highest designation awarded by the National Cancer Institute to institutions that lead the way in cancer research, treatment, prevention and professional education.
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