Anand Ramasubramanian.

Post-Doctorate Researcher
University of California, Berkeley

Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, 2004
Rice University
B.S. Chemical Engineering, 1994
Univeristy of Pune

Office Location: 497A Tan Hall
Office Telephone: 643-8340
Office Fax: 643-1228

Research Interests

My post-doctoral research work is broadly in the area of toxicology and apoptosis. In collaboration with researchers from RPI, I am working on the development of a high-throughput screening (HTS) assays for cytotoxicity. The pharmaceutical companies constantly seek new drugs. The process is long and time-consuming: by one estimate, has a success rate of 0.1%, required 8.5 years of research, and cost $897 million per drug. A very large number of potential drug candidates fail in the later stages of drug development due to lack of efficacy, unfavorable pharmacokinetic properties and, more importantly, due to toxicity. In an effort to expedite the overall drug screening process, we have developed a microscale toxicology assay employing mammalian cells encapsulated in a 3D matrix. The three-dimensional (3D) culture of cells within extracellular matrices such as collagen is known to maintain specific biochemical functions of human cells similar to those found in vivo. We have developed a miniaturized 3D cellular array chip (3D Cell Chip) composed of MCF7 human breast cancer cells encapsulated in a collagen matrix, which was then used to screen anticancer compounds including doxorubicin, 5-fluorouracil and tamoxifen and also the cytotoxicity of P450-generated metabolites of cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) and Tegafur. We used the generic cellular response of proliferation and viability as a metric for toxicity assessment and found that the response of the 3D Cell Chip is comparable to the traditional multi-well plate assays. Therefore, the 3D Cell Chip promises to be a valuable tool for high-throughput toxicology assays and opens up opportunities for rapid, inexpensive and convenient evaluation of in vitro toxicity.

We are also interested in understanding more about the effect of drugs on tumor cells as compared to the normal cells. The somatic cells have robust mechanisms that keep cell growth and proliferation under tight scrutiny, which is compromised to varying degrees in a tumor cell. We are studying the apoptotic response of normal human mammary epithelial cells (HMEC) and a mammary epithelial cancer cell line (MCF7) to a few established cancer drugs. With the recent arrival of a new gadget, called microarrayer, we are excited about translating the knowledge gained from this study to the development of high-content screens.