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Saumendra N. Sarkar,


Office: HCCLB 1.8

Lab: HCCLB 1.7

Phone: 412.623.7720



Website: Sarkar Lab


1987 BS Presidency College, University of Calcutta, Calcutta, India

1990 MS University College of Science and Technology, University of Calcutta, Calcutta, India

1995 PhD Molecular Biophysics Unit, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India

academic affiliation

Member, Immunology Graduate Program

Member, Molecular Virology And Microbiology Graduate Program

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics University of Pittsburgh

Member, Cancer Virology Program University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute

research interest

lab members

Research Associate
Jianzhong Zhu

Postdoctoral Fellow
Naoki Umemura

Graduate Student
Adriana Forero

Undergraduate Student
Nelson Hsieh
Elizabeth Coyle

grant support

Title: Novel Modifiers of Toll-like and RIG-like Receptor Signaling.
Funding Period:
03/15/2009 - 02/28/2014

Title: Novel Small-Molecule inhibitors of TLR3 - IRF-3 signaling pathway
Agency: American Heart Association
Funding Period:
01/01/2007 - 12/31/2010

About Research

Innate immunity of an organism is the inborn protection against invading pathogens. Because it is inborn, and entrusted with the protection of host from a vast array of previously unknown invaders, the innate immune system generates a generalized alert response upon pathogen detection. This alert is chemically mediated by a class of molecules called Cytokines. A critical task for this host protection system is to distinguish foreign or non-self, from self, and initiate their destruction or containment. The sensors or the receptors of the innate immune system accomplish this by recognizing specific molecular patterns, which are common to pathogens or pathogen associated molecules, but absent in the host. We focus on a particular subset of these sensors/receptors, which are involved in sensing virus infection.

We study four related aspects of innate immunity:
(A) The signaling process involved in cytokine production after virus infection.
(B) Develop modulators for these signaling pathways.
(C) How virus evade host innate immune response? and
(D) The contribution of innate immune response in cancer.

Selected Publications

Zhu, J., Smith, K., Hsieh, P.N., Mburu, Y. K., Chattopadhyay, S., Sen, G.C. and Sarkar, S.N.(2010) A high throughput screening for TLR3-IRF3 signaling pathway modulators identifies several antipsychotic drugs as TLR inhibitors. J. Immunol. (in press).

Beura, LK, Sarkar, SN*, Kwon, BJ, Subramaniam, S, Jones, C, Pattnaik, AK, Osorio, FA* 2009. Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus non structural protein 1a modulates host innate immune response by antagonizing IRF3 activation J. Virol. 2009 Nov 18. (*Corresponding Authors).

Sen, GC and Sarkar, SN. 2007. "The interferon-stimulated genes: targets of direct signaling by interferons, double-stranded RNA, and viruses" Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 316: 233-250.

Sarkar SN, Elco CP, Peters KL, Chattopadhyay S, Sen GC. 2007. "Two tyrosine residues of Toll-like receptor 3 trigger different steps of NF-kappa B activation" J Biol Chem. 282:3423-7.

Sen, GC and Sarkar SN. 2005. "Hitching RIG to action" Nat Immunol. 6: 1074-1076.

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