Srirama Rao, PhD
Associate Dean for Research, College of Veterinary Medicine
Professor, Department of Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences
Professor, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine in the Department of Medicine, Medical School
University of Minnesota
1365 Gortner Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108
B. Sc (Hons): Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, India
M.Sc (Biochemistry): Post Graduate Education for Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
Ph.D. Biochemistry: Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India
Post Doc: Pharmacia – Experimental Medicine, La Jolla, CA
(Mol and Cell Biology)
Dr. Srirama Rao received his Ph.D. in allergy and immunology from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India, in 1989, after which he conducted post-doctoral studies in cell and molecular biology at Pharmacia-Experimental Medicine in La Jolla, California. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota faculty in 2007, Dr. Rao was Vice President of Research and Professor and Head, Division of Vascular Biology at the La Jolla Institute for Molecular Medicine in San Diego, California a nonprofit academic research institute focused on vascular and cancer biology. With this joint appointment in two departments at the St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses, and in his role as Associate Dean, Dr. Rao seeks to build on the strong interdisciplinary focus and commitment to cutting-edge research and training across the AHC and University through the promotion of exciting new collaborative research initiatives and reaching out for increased external funding opportunities.
Dr. Srirama Rao’s overall laboratory research focuses on understanding the mechanisms underlying leukocyte trafficking and their recruitment, particularly eosinophils, in the context of airway allergic inflammation and asthma. Using techniques of intravital microscopy and other molecular and cellular approaches, this research examines the generation of eosinophils (hematopoiesis) and their trafficking/recruitment to sites of inflammation; modulation of Th1/Th2 cytokines; role of adhesion molecules, carbohydrate-binding proteins and carbohydrate-processing enzymes, cytokines and chemokines/chemoattractants in mediating leukocyte-endothelial trafficking under condition of physiologic flow; immune modulation and associated signal transduction events in models of airway allergic disease. Dr. Rao has pioneered the use of intravital imaging to understand mechanisms of leukocyte (especially eosinophil) trafficking within systemic and pulmonary microcirculation during inflammatory and allergic diseases
Currently Dr. Rao’s laboratory seeks to understand:
The role of Galectins-1 and 3 (glycan binding lectins) and Mgat5, an enzyme involved in synthesis of ligands for Galectins in mediating eosinophil trafficking and modulation of allergic immune response in murine models of acute and chronic airway allergic inflammation including airway remodeling
Understanding the regulation of expressions of ORMDL3 and its role in eosinophils mediated airway allergic inflammation
The role of serotonin, a chemoattractant for eosinophils, and serotonin receptors in regulating eosinophil recruitment and airway hyper-responsiveness during allergic inflammation in murine models. Also to determine the role of serotonin and serotonin receptor interactions, including associated signal transduction events leading to eosinophil adhesion and trafficking to sites of inflammation.
To evaluate the role of N-deacetylase/N-sulfurtransferase-1 (NDST-1), a key enzyme in the biosynthetic pathway of heparan sulfate chains, in the generation, trafficking and recruitment of inflammatory leukocytes during chronic allergic airway inflammation, including airway remodeling using mice with targeted disruption of NDST-1
Other areas of research include development of modified viral proteins as adjuvants and/or vaccines for the amelioration of inflammatory/allergic disease, and understanding the role of obesity in the pathogenesis of asthma.
(For a comprehensive list of Dr. Rao’s recent publications, refer to PubMed, a service provided by the National Library of Medicine.)
Long C, Hosseinkhani MR, Wang Y, Sriramarao P and Walcheck B. ADAM17 activation in circulating neutrophils following bacterial challenge impairs their recruitment. J. Leuk. Biol. 2012 in press.
Kang BN, Ha SG, Ge XN, Hosseinkhani MR, Bahaie NS, Greenberg Y, Blumenthal MN, Puri KD, Rao SP, Sriramarao P. The p110δ subunit of PI3K regulates bone marrow-derived eosinophil trafficking and airway eosinophilia in allergen-challenged mice. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2012 Mar 16.
Bahaie NS, Hosseinkhani MR, Ge XN, Kang BN, Ha SG, Blumenthal MS, Jessberger R, Rao SP, Sriramarao P. Regulation of eosinophil trafficking by SWAP-70 and its role in allergic airway inflammation. J Immunol. 2012 Feb 1;188(3):1479-90.
Bahaie NS, Kang BN, Frenzel EM, Hosseinkhani MR, Ge XN, Greenberg Y, Ha SG, Demetriou M, Rao SP, Sriramarao P. N-Glycans differentially regulate eosinophil and neutrophil recruitment during allergic airway inflammation. J Biol Chem. 2011 Nov 4;286(44):38231-41. Epub 2011 Sep 12.
Pandit TS, Hosseinkhani MR, Kang BN, Bahaie NS, Ge XN, Rao SP, Sriramarao P. Chronic allergen challenge induces pulmonary extramedullary hematopoiesis. Exp Lung Res. 2011 Jun;37(5):279-90. Epub 2011 Feb 11.
Ge XN, Bahaie NS, Kang BN, Hosseinkhani MR, Ha SG, Frenzel EM, Liu FT, Rao SP, Sriramarao P. Allergen-induced airway remodeling is impaired in galectin-3-deficient mice. J Immunol. 2010 Jul 15;185(2):1205-14. Epub 2010 Jun 11.
Zuberi RI, Ge XN, Jiang S, Bahaie NS, Kang BN, Hosseinkhani RM, Frenzel EM, Fuster MM, Esko JD, Rao SP, Sriramarao P. Deficiency of endothelial heparan sulfates attenuates allergic airway inflammation. J Immunol. 2009 Sep 15;183(6):3971-9. Epub 2009 Aug 26.
Rao SP, Wang Z, Zuberi RI, Sikora L, Bahaie NS, Zuraw BL, Liu F-T and Sriramarao P. Galectin-3 functions as an adhesion molecule to support eosinophil rolling and adhesion under conditions of flow. J. Immunol. 2007;179(11):7800-7.
Pero RS, Borchers MT, Spicher K, Ochkur SI, Sikora L, Rao SP, Abdala-Valencia H, O'Neill KR, Shen H, McGarry MP, Lee NA, Cook-Mills JM, Sriramarao P, Simon MI, Birnbaumer L, Lee JJ. Gai2-mediated signaling events in the endothelium are involved in controlling leukocyte extravasation. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2007;104(11):4371-6.
DiScipio RG, Schraufstatter IU, Sikora L, Zuraw BL, Sriramarao P. C3a and c5a mediate secretion and activation of matrix metalloproteanase 9 from human eosinophils. Int Immunopharmacol 2006;6(7):1109-18.
Lee, SY, Cho JY, Miller M, McElwain K, McElwain S, Sriramarao P, Raz E, Briode DH. Immunostimulatory DNA inhibits allergen-induced peribronchial angiogenesis in mice. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2006;117(3):597-603.
Wang L, Fuster MM, Sriramarao P, Esko JD. Endothelial deficiency of heparan sulfate impairs L-selectin and chemokine-mediated neutrophil trafficking during inflammatory responses. Nature Immunol 2005;6:902-10.
Boehme, S.A., Lio, F.M., Sikora, L., Pandit, T.S., Lavrador, K., Rao, S.P., Sriramarao, P. Cutting Edge: Serotonin is a chemotactic factor for eosinophils and functions additively with eotaxin. J. Immunol. 173: 3599-603, 2004.
Sikora, L., Johansson, A., Hughes, G., Rao, S.P., Broide, D.H., and Sriramarao, P. A murine model to study leukocyte rolling and intravascular trafficking in lung microvessels. Am. J. Pathol. 162(6):2019-28, 2003.
Broide D.H. and Sriramarao, P. Eosinophil trafficking to sites of allergic inflammation. Immunol. Rev. 179: 164-173, 2001.
Current and Recent Funding:
NIH RO1 AI35796 (PI): Leukocyte Adhesion in Allergic Inflammation (2006 - 2012)
NIH 1R21HL108000 (PI): Eosinophil ORMDL3 and allergic inflammation (2001-2013)
NIH R01 HL079304 (PI): Serotonin (5-HT) and 5-HT2A in allergic inflammation (2005-2011)
NIH U19 AI 70535-01 (PI): “Role of NDST-1 in Airway Remodeling” (2006-2011)
Current Lab Personnel:
1. Savita P. Rao, Research Associate
2. Nooshin Bahaie, M.D. Post Doctoral Fellow
3. Bit-Na Kang, Ph.D. Post Doctoral Fellow
4. Xiaong Ge, M.D. Ph.D, Post Doctoral Fellow
5. Sung Gil Ha, Ph.D Post Doctoral Fellow
6. Yana Greenberg, Senior Scientist (Research Technician)
7. Elizabeth Manning, Undergraduate Technician
8. Amrita Rao, Undergraduate Volunteer
1. Elizabeth Frenzel, Ph.D. Research Associate
2. M. Reza Hosseinkhani. M.D. Post Doctoral Fellow
3. Terlika Sharma, Ph.D. Research Associate
4. Susan Jiang Ph.D. Post Doctoral Fellow
5. Riaz Zuberi, Ph.D, Senior Research Fellow
6. Lydmila Sikora, M.D., Research Scientist
7. Sophia Khaldoyanidi M.D. Ph.D
8. Girija Muralidhar, MD
9. Zhougzhi Wang Ph.D.
10. Stephanie Raymond, Ph.D. Research Technician