Department of Neuroscience
College of Medicine
Departments of Neuroscience and Pharmacology
Neurological Disorders: Dr. Anand's team is interested in studying how genes and the environment interact to increase susceptibility to neurodevelopmental, neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. They are currently developing human induced pluripotent stem cell derived neurons and brain organoids to use as in vitro models of the human brain. These human brain organoid models will allow them to study:
- How exposure to drugs of abuse in utero, such as in pregnant nicotine users, alters the early brain development of the fetus
- How human gene variants contribute to neurological disorder susceptibility
Development of Therapeutics: The drug targets for a number of diseases including cancer, heart disease and neurological diseases are cell surface membrane proteins such as receptor tyrosine kinases, ion channels and G-protein coupled receptors. The greatest challenge for in silico design of drugs is the significant lack of high-resolution structures for most of these membrane proteins of therapeutic value. This is because structural studies such as X-ray crystallography and high-resolution NMR need significant amounts of protein, which are very challenging to produce in vitro.
Dr. Anand's laboratory is taking a high-risk, high payoff approach to making membrane proteins for structural studies. The electric fish, Electrophorus Electricus, as well as other electric fish, have evolved electric organs for electrogenic communication. The electrolytes of the electric organ express very high levels of membrane proteins that are involved in their electrogenic functions. The team is part of a consortium of investigators using genomic and transcriptomic strategies to first understand how these electric organs evolved from myogenic stem cell precursors in electric fish.
Dr. Anand's team then intends to understand the transcriptional and posttranscriptional mechanisms that regulate the expression of electrogenic membrane proteins in the electric organ. Their long-term goals are to neofunctionalize cells to express human membrane proteins of therapeutic importance based on their understanding of the regulatory mechanisms operational in electrocytes. This project is synergistic with the team's current interest in harness the power of stem cell biology to understand and treat human disorders.
Active Funding: Funded by an Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration (EUREKA) grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Publications:Arnold LE, Anand R, Aman M. (2013) Varenicline in autistic disorder: hypothesis and case report of single-patient crossover. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol 23:61-614.
Degrees: BS – University of Madras (Loyola College), India MS – Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India PhD – The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Postdoctoral: Salk Institute, San Diego, CA, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA