Dr.Karunagaran Deverajan

Contact Address
414, Department of Biotechnology
Bhupat & Jyoti Mehta School of Biosciences Building, Indian Institute of Technology
IIT Campus, Chennai-600 036
Tamil Nadu, India

Contact Phone
Call : +044-2257 5118

Contact Email
Email : karuna@iitm.ac.in

Social Media
Skype : karuna1955
Facetime id : karuna@iitm.ac.in
Twitter id : karunagarand
linked in id : karunagaran-devarajan-4835288


Dr. Karunagaran is a Professor at the Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai. He started his career as a lecturer in Biochemistry at the PSG college of Arts and Science, Coimbatore in 1979 and taught a number of BSc and MSc students for more than a decade.He has made significant contributions in the field of signal transduction, mediated by epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs) and their ligands implicated in the development of human cancer. A novel concept proposed by him (with Dr. Yosef Yarden from Israel) is that ErbB-2 (the second member of EGFR family) acts as the preferred heterodimeric partner of all the known members of the EGFR family, and at least, part of the transforming ability of an over expressed ErbB-2 is due to transactivation of growth factor signaling.

Moderate expression of ErbB-2 is biased for heterodimerization with ErbB-3 and ErbB-4 receptors that bind neu differentiation factor. A monoclonal antibody against neu differentiation factor raised by him is being marketed by a U. S. Company. Dr. Karunagaran (with Dr. Mien-Chie Hung from Houston) discovered that adenoviral E1A suppressed the radiation-induced activation of Nuclear Factor kappa B (NF-κB), a transcription factor known to protect cells from cell death. This finding provides a plausible mechanism for the long-known susceptibility of cells to radiation-induced apoptosis in the presence of E1A.

Major Research
Dr. Karunagaran joined the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram in December 1997. His laboratory studies are focused on cervical cancer, an important public health problem for adult women in India. Cervical cancer causes about 250,000 deaths annually worldwide, with women in the developing countries accounting for 80% of these deaths. Although human papilloma virus (HPV) infection is the major risk factor for cervical cancer, molecular alterations of tumor suppressor genes and/or oncogenes either associated with HPV infection or independent of it are necessary for the cervical cancer progression. Dr. Karunagaran has shown that the transcription factor, nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) is constitutively activated in high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions and squamous cell carcinomas during human cervical cancer progression (cited in text book “the biology of Cancer” on page 195, by Robert A. Weinberg, Garland Science http://www.garlandscience.com/textbooks/0815340788.asp).

Many chemopreventive agents induce programmed cell death or apoptosis, a potent mechanism by which they eliminate preneoplastic or cancer cells. Curcumin, the yellow pigment derived from Curcuma longa, is a pharmacologically safe compound and possesses antioxidant, antiinflammatory and anticancer activities. Curcumin inhibits cell proliferation and induces apoptosis of several, but not all cancer cells. Dr. Karunagaran has proposed that differential over expression of certain antiapoptotic proteins may account for the failure of curcumin to induce apoptosis in some cancer cells. Results from his laboratory suggest antiapoptotic roles for NF-κB, Bcl-XL and heat shock proteins such as hsp70 in curcumin-induced apoptosis. His laboratory has identified that NF-κB can also regulate epidermal growth factor-induced apoptosis by a similar mechanism

Loss of transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) sensitivity is observed in a wide variety of cancers including cervical cancer. His laboratory has reported a novel Smad 2 mutation in a human cervical tumor sample and loss of expression of Smad 2 and Smad 4 in different stages of cervical cancer progression and also the mutations of Smad 2 and Smad 4 in two of the six human cervical cancer cell lines analyzed revealing an important role for Smads in human cervical cancer for the first time.

Two of his research publications are now recognized as classic citations (more than 400 citations each) and two more have more than 200 citations each and his ‘h-index’ can be found in Google Scholar. For further details on current research interests, browse through the ongoing research projects.

Research & Contributions

Title of Project A Transcriptome-wide analysis of microRNA targets across different cell types.
Funding Agency DBT
Amount Rs.in Lakhs 65.08
Duration 2012-2015

Karunagaran, D., and Bharat Aggarwal (2003) Transcription factors as targets for drug development "In Pathomechanisms- New trends in drug research: Molecular mechanisms and new trends in drug development" Ed. Gyorgy Keri and Istvan Toth, Taylor and Francis, London and New York.

Karunagaran, D., (2003) Relevance of Apoptosis to Cancer. In: Biotechnology: Emerging Trends. Joseph Selvin et al. (eds). Biotech Publishers, New Delhi.

Karunagaran, D.,and Goodwin Jinesh (2007). TGF-β, Smads and Cervical Cancer. In "Transforming Growth Factor-beta in Cancer Therapy" Ed. Sonia B. Jakowlew, The Humana Press, Inc., NJ, USA.

Karunagaran, D., and Goodwin Jinesh (2005) Biotechnological approaches in the detection and treatment of cancer. In "Advances in Biotechnology" Ed. P. C. Trivedi, Agrobios (India), Jodhpur.

Karunagaran, D., Jeena Joseph and T. R. Santhosh Kumar (2007) Cell Growth Regulation by Curcumin. In “The Molecular Targets and Therapeutic Uses of Curcumin in Health and Disease “ Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology , Vol. 595 Aggarwal, Bharat B.; Surh, Young-Joon; Shishodia, Shishir (Eds.) ,Springer Publishers, New York.

Jinesh, G. and Karunagaran, D. (2004) Identification of new transcription factors Homo sapiens zinc finger domain-related protein TSRM (TSRM) mRNA, partial cds. GenBank Accession No. AY742823 Read More

Jinesh, G. and Karunagaran, D. (2007) Homo sapiens mothers against decapentapelagic homolog 3 [Smad3] alternatively spliced and mutant mRNA at exon8, 9 in SiHa cell line. GenBank Accession No. EU016554 Read More

Jinesh, G. and Karunagaran, D. (2007) Homo sapiens mothers against decapentapelagic homolog 3 [Smad3] mRNA, splicing error mutant in SiHa cell line, exon 3 to 6. GenBank Accession No. EU016553 Read More

Jinesh, G. and Karunagaran, D. (2007) Homo sapiens mothers against decapentapelagic homolog 3 [Smad3] intron-8 to exon-9 splicing error mutant mRNA in HeLa cell line. GenBank Accession No. EU016552 Read More

Antony,M. and Karunagaran,D.(2007) Mutated TGF beta RI in ovarian cancer. GenBank Accession No. EF142854 Read More

Antony,M. and Karunagaran,D.(2007) Mutated TGF beta RI in ovarian cancer. GenBank Accession No. EF142853 Read More

Undergraduate courses
Life Sciences (BT101) - Full Details
Biochemistry (BT202) - Full Details
Introduction to Biological Sciences and Engineering (BT1000) Full Details

Graduate level courses
Cancer Biology (BT683)Full Details

Conferences - Seminars - Symposia

  • Presented a paper at the Annual meeting of the Society of Biological Chemists Bar Ilan University, Israel (1994)
  • Oral presentation at Oncogene meeting Frederick, Maryland, U. S. A. (June 1995)
  • Attended Symposium on "Tyrosine phosphorylation and signaling" Salk Institute, La Jolla, California, U.S.A. (August 1996)
  • Presented a poster at the International conference on new targets of the NF-kB pathway for novel therapies in cancer and inflammation Madrid, Spain (June 12-13, 2000)
  • Chaired a session during International symposium on Cancer and Cell Death, NCBS, Bangalore, (January 9-13, 2002)
  • Chaired a session during the 22nd Annual convention of the Indian Association for Cancer Research and International symposium on recent advances in cancer causes and control Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, January 10-12, 2003
  • Participation, Pharmacophore 2004 International symposium on Innovating Drugs: Emerging Perspectives, Dr. Reddy’s Research Foundation, Hyderabad, January 16-17, 2004
  • Lecture on “SurvivalTricks of Cancer Cells: Leads for Translational Research” at the International symposium on Translational Research: Apoptosis and Cancer, Thiruvananthapuram, December 18-21, 2005
  • Presented a poster entitled, “Aberrations in the expression of transforming growth factor-beta receptors and smads in human ovarian cancer” Gordon Research Conference at New London, Connecticut, USA July 16-21, 2006
  • International conference on Ethnopharmacology and Alternative Medicine, Amala Cancer Research Centre, Thrissur, January 20-22, 2006
  • Presented a poster entitled, “mir-29b negatively regulates Wnt signaling” at the Keystone Symposia: RNA Silencing: Biology, Mechanism and Application, Keystone Resort, Keystone, Colorado, USA Jan. 14-19, 2010
  • Poster presentation, 56th Annual meeting of Society of Biological Chemists, Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati, December 28-30, 1987
  • Oral presentation, National symposium on regulatory mechanisms in plant and microbial systems, Osmania University, Hyderabad, March 28-30 1991
  • 68th Annual meeting of Society of Biological Chemists IISc, Bangalore, 27-29 December 1999
  • Symposium on Transcription assembly and nucleic acid-protein interactions IISc, Bangalore, 7-9 June 1999
  • Symposium on Signal Transduction in Biology Cancer Research Institute, Mumbai, 4 -5 January
  • XXII All India Cell Biology Conference, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Trivandrum, 20-22 February
  • 19th Annual convention of Indian Association for Cancer Research, Amala Cancer Centre, Thrissur, 20-22 January
  • National symposium on medical, plant and industrial biotechnology, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin, 1-2 December
  • 20th Annual convention of Indian Association for Cancer Research, Ahmedabad, Jan19-21
  • XXV All India Cell Biology Conference IISc, Bangalore, 1-3 November
  • International Conference on Emerging Trends in Cancer Research, JNU, Delhi, 14-16 March
  • Refresher Course in Life Sciences, UGC Academic Staff College, University of Kerala, 17th July
  • National seminar on Trends in Biotechnology, Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram, 24th July
  • National seminar on Recent Trends in Environmental and Biomedical Research, St. Stephen’s College, Pathanapuram, 5th December
  • UGC sponsored State level seminar on “Biomolecular Behaviour and Computing” PSG College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore, January 7
  • National symposium on Recent Trends in Biotechnology, Malankara Catholic College, Mariagiri, 27-28 January CAS in Marine Biology, Annamalai University, March 30, 2003
  • Department of Biological Sciences, March 31, 2003. Pondicherry University
  • National Seminar on “Current Trends in Biotechnology and Future Prospects” Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin, April 4, 2003
  • National Seminar on Animal cell culture and its applications, Dr. G. R. Damodaran College of Science, Coimbatore, July 21, 2003
  • Workshop on Cervical cancer, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, August 7-8, 2003
  • Recent Trends in Biosciences, Kongu Arts and Science College, Erode, September 1, 2003
  • National conference on “Recent Trends in Biochemistry” Sri Krishnadevaraya University, Anantapur, October 20, 2003
  • Current Trends in Forensic and Clinical Applications of Biotechnology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Cochin, November 1, 2003
  • Avinashilingam Deemed University, Coimbatore, January 9
  • Cancer Genomics, Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, February 28
  • One-day seminar on Medical, plant and industrial biotechnology CUSAT, Cochin, 12th June
  • State level seminar in Biotechnology, Dept. of Biotechnology, Govt. College, Kariavattom, 19th October
  • National symposium on Biotechnology, Dept of Biotechnology, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, 27th October
  • International Workshop on Cervical Cancer, November 8-9, NCBS, Bangalore
  • Society of Biological Chemists Annual general body meeting, Pantnagar, CRK Lecture award presentation, 22nd November
  • National symposium on chromosomes in human genome, Karpagam Arts and Science College, Coimbatore December 4
  • UGC refresher course in Life sciences, Dept of Marine Biology, CUSAT, Cochin, 18th December
  • National seminar, Mar Augusthinose College, Ramapuram, January 4
  • National seminar on recent advances in biosciences, St. Joseph’s college, Trichy, January 20
  • XVIth Annual BTIS coordinator’s meet, BISR, Jaipur, February 3-4
  • 24th Annual convention of Indian Association for Cancer Research, February 9-12, New Delhi
  • Refresher Course in Life Sciences, UGC Academic Staff College, University of Kerala, 29th March
  • Lecture on Molecular Biology of Cancer, Dept. of Biochemistry, University of Kerala, April 6
  • Lecture on “Signal Transduction Pathways” Amala Cancer Research Centre, May 25, Thrissur
  • Refresher Course in Environmental Sciences, UGC Academic Staff College, University of Kerala, 28th July
  • Brain storming session on Cancer, sponsored by DBT at NCBS, August 6-8, Bangalore
  • National conference on Biotechnology in Genomics Era, Arulmigu Kalasalingam College of Engineering, September 16, Krishnankoil, Tamil Nadu
  • Seminar on Genomics and Proteomics-Methods and Applications, MKU, September 30, Madurai
  • Refresher course in Bioinformatics, UGC Academic Staff College, University of Kerala, October 8
  • Regulation of gene expression at Kristu Jyoti College of Management and Technology, Changanacherry, January 24
  • UGC academic staff college, University of Kerala, 30th January
  • National seminar on human resources development in bioinformatic, Sree Narayana College of Technology, Kollam, 21st February
  • UGC academic staff college, University of Kerala, 10th March
  • National conference and workshop in bioinformatics, 21-24 March
  • Lecture on Signal transduction pathways, Amala Cancer Research Centre, Thrissur, 30th May
  • Lecture at CCMB, Hyderabad, September 25
  • Lecture at Pondicherry University, October 16
  • Lecture at RGCB, Thiruvananthapuram, November 27
  • Lecture at JNU, New Delhi, SBC annual meeting, December 11
  • Lecture at Avinashilingam University, December 15
  • Lecture at SKU, Anantapur, December 17
  • 26th Annual Convention of Indian Association for Cancer Research and International Symposium on Translational Research in Cancer at Bhubaneswar, January 17-19
  • National Seminar on Current Trends in Bioinformatics on February 15 and gave a lecture on “An Overview of Bioinformatics” at Sri Venkateswara college of Engineering, Pennalur, Sriperumbudur
  • UGC-SAP sponsored national workshop cum conference on Free radicals and Antioxidants in Health, organized by the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Annamalai University, on March 4
  • Lecture on “Molecular Biology of Cancer” at the workshop on Modern Biology in the Era of Genomics organized by Madurai Kamaraj University on March 26
  • Lecture on “Aberrations in Transforming Growth Factor Beta Signaling in Human Cancers” at the 76th Annual meeting of Society of Biological Chemists (India) on 27th November at SV University, Tirupati, India.
  • Lecture on “ Apoptosis induced by phytochemicals: curcumin and emodin in the symposium on Pharmaceuticals and lead compounds from bacteria, fungi and plants at Vivekananda college, Chennai, on 6th December
  • Lecture on molecular biology of cancer at Stella Maris College, Chennai, on 8th January (International conference on developments in Biotechnology)
  • Lecture on the “Role of microRNAs in cancer” for the International Symposium (Bioinformatica Indica '08) on 19th January 2008, at The Centre for Bioinformatics, Karyavattom Campus, University of Kerala, Trivandrum
  • Lecture on curcumin-induced apoptosis at the Indo-Canada Workshop organized by DBT and held on 5th February 2008 at Hotel Taj Mahal, Mansingh Road, New Delhi
  • Refresher Course in Environmental Sciences, UGC Academic Staff College, University of Kerala, 24th June
  • Lecture at Sastra University, Thanjavur on August 1
  • Lecture at Dr. MGR-Janaki College of Arts and Science, Chennai on September 9
  • Lecture at Kumararani Meena Muthiah College of Arts and Science, Chennai on September 11
  • Lecture at KIIT, Bhubaneswar, on October 24
  • Lecture at JNU, Delhi on February 14
  • Lecture at IIT Bombay, Mumbai on February 28
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