Ayyappan K. Rajasekaran, Ph.D.

Research Interests

Basic Research

  • Mechanisms of Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) and Mesenchymal to Epithelial Transition (MET)
  • Role of Na,K-ATPase in epithelial tissue biogenesis and cancer
  • Biogenesis of tight junctions and desmosomes
  • Biology of prostate specific membrane antigen

Translational research

  • Drug development and preclinical studies for EMT and MET
  • Nanotechnology based drug delivery for leukemia
  • Targeted drug delivery for solid tumors
  • Studies on soluble biomarkers for cancer and inflammation

Current Projects

  • Nanotherapeutics for childhood leukemia
  • Preclinical and Clinical studies of novel drugs for kidney cancer treatment
  • Three dimensional cell culture models for studying early development of cancer

Research Group

  • Sonali Barwe, Ph.D. - Assistant Research Scientist. Studying the mechanism of cell-cell adhesion function of Na,K-ATPase using 3D culture models.
  • Ponniah Selvakumar, Ph.D, Post doctoral fellow, Studies the role of Myristoyltransferases in leukemia progression and treatment
  • Justin David, Graduate Student, Studying the efficacy of  ionophores for kidney cancer treatment
  • Vinu Krishnan, Graduate student, developing nanotechnology based drug delivery for childhood leukemia
  • Pratima Patil, Graduate student, Mechanisms early stage development of cancer using 3D culture models.  
  • Sona Lakshme Balasubramaniam, Graduate student, mechanisms of cell-cell adhesion in epithelial cells
  • Tori  Owens, Laboratory Assistant, Studies on the mechanisms of Wilms’tumor progression in children

Selected Publications

  1. Tummala R, Wolle D, Barwe SP, Sampson VB, Rajasekaran AK, Pendyala L.  (2009).   Expression of Na-K-ATPase-beta(1) subunit increases uptake and sensitizes carcinoma cells to oxaliplatin Cancer Chemother Pharmacol.  64: 187-194.  PMCID: PMC2728910.
  2. Barwe SP, Jordan MC, Skay A, Inge L, Rajasekaran SA, Wolle D, Johnson CL, Neco P,  Fang K, Rozengurt N, Golhaber JI, Roos KP, Rajasekaran AK.  (2009).  Dysfunction of ouabain-induced cardiac contractility in mice with heart-specific ablation of Na,K-ATPase beta1-subunit.  J Mol Cell Cardiol.  47: 552-560.  PMCID: PMC2749246.
  3. Amin R, Bohnert A, Holmes L, Rajasekaran A, Assanasen C.  (2010).  Epidemiologic mapping of Florida childhood cancer clusters.  Pediatr Blood Cancer.  54: 511-518. (Cover Article)
  4. Vivanco I, Rohle D, Versele M, Iwanami A, Kuga D, Oldrini B, Dang J, Kubek S, Palaskas N, Hsueh T, Evans M, Mulholland D, Wolle D, Rajasekaran S, Rajasekaran A, Liau L, Cloughesy T, Dikic I, Brennan C, Wu H, Mischel P, Perera T, Mellinghoff I.  (2010).  The phosphatase and tensin homolog requlates epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor response by targeting EGFR for degradation.  Proc Natl Acad Sci U.S.A.  107: 6459-6464.  PMCID: PMC2851999.
  5. Rajasekaran S, Huynh TP, Wolle D, Espineda C, Inge L, Skay A, Lassman C, Nicholas SB, Harper JF, Reeves AE, Ahmed MM, Leatherman JM, Mullin JM, Rajasekaran AK (2010).  Na,K-ATPase subunits as markers for epithelial-mesenchymal transition in cancer fibrosis Mol Cancer Ther.  9: 1515-1524.  PMCID: PMC2884047.
  6. Inge LJ, Barwe SP, D’Ambrosio J, Gopal J, Lu K, Ryazantsev S, Rajasekaran SA, Rajasekaran AK (2011).  Soluble E-cadherin promotes cell survival by activating epidermal growth factor receptor.  Exp Cell Res.  317(6):838-848
  7. Presson AP, Yoon NK, Bagryanova L, Mah V, Alavi M, Maresh EL, Rajasekaran AK, Goodglick L, Chia D, Horvath S (2011).  Protein expression based multimarker analysis of breast cancer samples.  BMC Cancer.  11: 230.  PMCID:  PMC3142534
  8. David J, Rajasekaran AK (2012) Dishonorable discharge:  the oncogenic roles of cleaved e-cadherin fragments. Invited review, Cancer Res. 72 (12):2917-23.
  9. Huynh TP, Vei M, Ball Jr. WJ, Chia D, Fishbein MC, Horvath S, Wu DC, Harper J, Sarafian T, Dubinett SD, Sampson V, Langhans SA, Goodglick L, Rajasekaran AK (2012).  Na,K-ATPase is a target of cigarette smoke and reduced expression predicts poor patient outcome of smokers with lung cancer . Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol, 302:L1150-L1158
  10. Barwe SP, Skay A, McSpadden R, Langhans SA, Huynh TP, Inge LJ, Rajasekaran AK (2012).  Na,K-ATPase beta-subunit cis homo-oligomerization is necessary for epithelial lumen formation in mammalian cells (In press, Journal of Cell Sceince).
  11. Krishnan V, Xu X, Barwe SP, Yang X, Czymmek K, Waldman SA, Mason RW, Jia X, Rajasekaran AK. (2012). Dexamethasone-loaded block copolymer nanoparticles induce leukemia cell death and enhances therapeutics efficacy: a novel application in pediatric nanomedicine. (In press, Mol Pharma).


Director Basic Science Program, Nemours Center for Childhood Cancer Research

Phone: (302) 651-6593

Email: araj@medsci.udel.edu

Office: A.I. duPont Hospital for Children

Nemours Center for Childhood Cancer Research
Rockland Center I-242
Department of Biomedical Research
A.I. duPont Hospital for Children
1600 Rockland Road
Wilmington, DE 19803


  • B.S., M.S. - University of Madras (India)
  • Ph.D. - Indian Institute of Science (India)