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As27594.http.sasm3.net

Alakesh Bera
Lecturer II
Office Phone: (210) 458-5757
Office: BSE 1.344
E-Mail
Areas of Specialization
Research:

• Protein structure- function relationship and structure-based drug design
• Micro-RNA based gene regulation and cell signaling in pancreatic cancer
• Molecular virology
Teaching:
• Basic Chemistry
• Introduction of basic principles of chemistry and physics in biology
Research Interests
Role of micro-RNA in pancreatic cancer progress and chemo-resistance:
We are currently involved in determining the molecular events that promote pancreatic cancer (PDAC) progress and resistant against
chemotherapy. Our goal is to identify cell signaling networks that can be targeted to reverse chemo-resistance, or, alternatively, direct clinicians
to alternative therapeutic interventions when resistance occurs. Data from our experiments reveal that gemcitabine (a standard drug for
pancreatic cancer) resistant cells show properties similar to cells undergoing EMT phenotype and also express the cancer stem cell markers.
Data also showed a specific micro-RNA expression profile for these phenomena. Taken together, our experiments suggest that gemcitabine
treatment of pancreatic cancer selects for a population of tumor cells that have a mesenchymal/stem cell-like phenotype, and that these cells
express a distinct miRNA profile. Further study of these miRNAs may provide novel targets for restoring or enhancing anti-tumor responses of
gemcitabine.
We are also exploring the parallel field of pancreatic cancer invasion and metastasis. We showed that the activation of K-ras and
concomitant loss of Smad 4 induces invasion through nuclear translocation of NF- κB. We also showed a link between NF- κB mediated
induction of invasion and metastasis in pancreatic cancer.
Education
1999
Universite d’Orleans, Orleans, France PhD 2006-08 Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
Awards and Honors
2010-2012 CPRIT-Grant: Fellowship in Innovation for Cancer Prevention Research
2003-2006 Doctoral fellowship, from Scientific Council of ‘Indo-French Collaboration for the advancement of scientific research’.
2001 CSIR-UGC (NET) Research fellowship offered by Govt. Of India (Short listed for Shyama Prasad Mukherjee fellowship)
2001 GATE, Indian Institute of Technology
1995-1999 National Scholarship for higher studies: Award offered by Govt. of India
Selected Publications
Research Articles:
1) Nandi P. K., Bera A. and Sizaret P-Y (2006) Osmolyte trimethylamine N-Oxide converts recombinant -helical prion protein to
its soluble β-structured form at high temperature. J. Mol. Biol. 362: 810–820
2) Bera, A. and P.K. Nandi (2007) Biological polyamines inhibit nucleic-acid-induced polymerization of prion protein. Arch Virol.
152(4): 655-68
3) Bera A, Roche AC, Nandi PK (2007) Bending and unwinding of nucleic acid by prion protein. Biochemistry. 46(5):1320-8
4) Bera, A and Mandal, A (2009) Prion disease- Molecular basis and biological significance. Ind. J. Animal Production (IJAP).38
(1):1-18
5) Henson B, Johnson N, Bera A, Okoye M, Desai K and Prashant J. Desai. Expression of the HSV-1 capsid protein VP19C 1 in
E.coli: A single amino acid change overcomes an expression block of the full-length polypeptide. Protein Expr Purif. (2011) 77(1):
80-5.
6) Hanson B, Gebrekristos L, Bera A, Person S and Desai P. Nuclear localization of HSV-1VP19C can be mediated by paired
arginine residues, arg56 and arg57. Journal of General Virology (in revision)
7) Bera A, Friend S, Kuhne K, George T and S-J Gao. Expression and sub-cellular localization of the novel transcriptional repressor
KLIP1 is regulated in a cell cycle dependent manner. (Manuscript in preparation for Journal of Cell Biology)
8) Bera A., Perkins EM., and Desai P. DNA Binding and Condensation Properties of the Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Triplex
Protein VP19C (Communicated to Journal of Virololgy)
9) Bera A., Deasi P. An Amphipathic Alpha Helix Containing a Potential NES Present in the C-terminal Domain of the VP19C of
HSV-1 Having Antimicrobial Property (submitted in J Ped Biochem.)

10) Bera A., Zhao S., Cao L and Freeman JW. Oncogenic K-Ras and loss of Smad4 induce invasion through an EGFR/MMP9/uPA
axis dependent pathway in human pancreas progenitor cells (Manuscript is ready to submit in Int. Journal of Cancer)
11) Bera, A. Kolaparthi V-S R, Hill P, Zhao S, and Freeman J. Gemcitabine resistance is associated with EMT phenotype along with
expression of cancer stem cell markers and a specific miRNA profile in the human pancreatic cancer cell line BxPC3. (Manuscript is
ready to submit in JBC)
International Conference/Abstract:
1) Nandi, P. K, Bera, A. and Sizaret, P-Y: Osmolyte Trimethylamine N-oxide converts recombinant α-Helical Prion Protein PrPC to
soluble β-PrPSc :Oral presentation, Joint Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory/Wellcome Trust Conference on PRION BIOLOGY: London,
UK; Sept 7 – 11, 2005
2) Bera, A. and P.K. Nandi: Biological amines prevent nucleic acid catalysed prion protein polymerization to amyloid: PRION 2005;
International Prion congress: 19-21 Oct. 2005. Düsseldorf, Germany
3) Bera, A. and P.K. Nandi: Nucleic acid bending and condensation by Prion protein. 2nd Dominique Dommont International
Conference, 1-3 December, 2005, in Paris, France
4) Bera, A. Roche, A-C. and Nandi, PK: Prion Protein Induces Sequence Dependent Condensation of Nucleic Acids. Prion 2006,
Turin, Italy 4-6 October, 2006
5) Bera, A. and Desai, P: Purification and characterization of the floor domain of herpes virus major capsid protein. 32nd Annual
International Herpesvirus Workshop July7-12, 2007 Asheville, NC USA
6) Bera, A. Perkins, EM. and Desai, P: DNA binding and condensation properties of the herpes simplex virus type 1 triplex protein
VP19C. JHPDA Scientific Seminar Series, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. January, 2008. Baltimore, USA
7) Bera, A. Kuhne, K. and S-J Gao. Expression and sub-cellular localization of the novel transcriptional repressor KLIP1 is regulated
in a cell cycle dependent manner. 1st Genome Research Day. Aug 2010. UT Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX
8) Kolaparthi VenkataSubbaRao, Ping Hill, Shujie Zhao, Alakesh Bera and James W. Freeman. Resistance against Gemcitabine is
associated with an increase in EMT and Expression of cancer stem cell markers in Human pancreatic cancer cell line BxPC3 . 13th
Annual South Padre Island Symposium on Cell Signaling. Texas, Nov 11-12, 2011
9) Bera, A. Kolaparthi V-S R, Hill P, Zhao S, and Freeman J. Gemcitabine resistance is associated with EMT phenotype along with
expression of cancer stem cell markers and a specific miRNA profile in the human pancreatic cancer cell line BxPC3. AACR annual
meeting, Chicago, IL. 2012.

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