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Sankar Mitra, PhD

Professor of Radiation Oncology, Institute for Academic Medicine
Full Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist
Weill Cornell Medical College

Research Lab


Dr. Mitra had a brillient academic career at Calcutta University, India from which he received MS in Biochemitry in 1959.After earning a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1964, Dr. Mitra did postdoctoral research in Arthur Kornberg’s laboratory at Stanford Medical School. He then returned to India to join Bose Institute, Calcutta, as an assistant professor in 1966, and became an associate professor in 1971. He came back to the U.S. in 1971 to join the Biology Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a senior research investigator and subsequently became leader of the Nucleic Acid Enzymology Group. He also served as an adjunct professor of the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Mitra moved to the newly created Sealy Center for Molecular Science at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Galveston, TX in 1992 as professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, and later as senior scientist in the Sealy Center for Molecular Medicine. After his retirement from UTMB in 2013, he joined Houston Methodist Research Institute as a full member in Radiation Oncology. He was elected a fellow of AAAS in 1989 and as a fellow of the Japan Society for Promotion of Science, participating in lecture tours in Japan in 1991, 1999, and 2008.He was awarded Mark Brothers of Indiana Prize in 2009. Dr. Mitra has been continuously funded by NIH since 1982 and has been serving on various NIH and other  review panels.

Description of Research

Working in the broad area of genome damage, its repair, and its influence in carcinogenesis and cancer therapy, Dr. Mitra has made several seminal discoveries during his tenure at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, including the characterization of the E. coli repair protein for the mutagenic DNA base O-6 methylguanine produced by mutagens and anticancer alkylating agents, the naming of the repair protein MGMT, and the cloning of human MGMT. More recently, Dr. Mitra’s group characterized a new family of DNA repair proteins that they named NEILs for oxidative genome damage. The recent research focus of Dr. Mitra’s group is enhancement of chemo/radiation sensitivity of tumor cells using targeted DNA repair inhibitors. After the early studies on MGMT inhibition, his current research aims to identify inhibitors for repair pathways for oxidative/radiation damage.

Areas Of Expertise

Genome damage Repair Cancer mechanisms Cancer therapy
Education & Training

, Stanford University Medical School
, Department of Biochemistry University of Wisconsin Madison 6
, University of Calcutta
, Department of Biochemistry, University of Calcutta
, Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison,WI
, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Depletion of tyrosyl DNA phosphodiesterase 2 activity enhances etoposide-mediated double-strand break formation and cell killing
Kont, YS, Dutta, A, Mallisetty, A, Mathew, J, Minas, T, Kraus, C, Dhopeshwarkar, P, Kallakury, B, Mitra, S, Üren, A & Adhikari, S 2016, DNA Repair, vol 43, pp. 38-47. DOI:

Scaffold attachment factor A (SAF-A) and Ku temporally regulate repair of radiation-induced clustered genome lesions
Hegde, ML, Dutta, A, Yang, C, Mantha, AK, Hegde, PM, Pandey, A, Sengupta, S, Yu, Y, Calsou, P, Chen, D, Lees-Miller, SP & Mitra, S 2016, Oncotarget. DOI:

8-Oxoguanine DNA glycosylase1-driven DNA repair-A paradoxical role in lung aging
German, P, Saenz, D, Szaniszlo, P, Aguilera-Aguirre, L, Pan, L, Hegde, ML, Bacsi, A, Hajas, G, Radak, Z, Ba, X, Mitra, S, Papaconstantinou, J & Boldogh, I 2016, Mechanisms of Ageing and Development. DOI:

Increased human AP endonuclease 1 level confers protection against the paternal age effect in mice
Sanchez, JR, Reddick, TL, Perez, M, Centonze, VE, Mitra, S, Izumi, T, McMahan, CA & Walter, CA 2015, Mutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis, vol 779, pp. 124-133. DOI:

The C-terminal Domain (CTD) of Human DNA Glycosylase NEIL1 Is Required for Forming BERosome Repair Complex with DNA Replication Proteins at the Replicating Genome: Dominant negative function of the CTD
Hegde, PM, Dutta, A, Sengupta, S, Mitra, J, Adhikari, S, Tomkinson, AE, Li, GM, Boldogh, I, Hazra, TK, Mitra, S & Hegde, ML 2015, Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol 290, no. 34, pp. 20919-20933. DOI:

Norepinephrine Reduces Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and DNA Damage in Ovarian Surface Epithelial Cells
Patel, PR, Hegde, ML, Theruvathu, J, Mitra, SA, Boldogh, I & Sowers, L 2015, Journal of Bioanalysis & Biomedicine, vol 7, no. 3, pp. 75-80. DOI:

New paradigms in the repair of oxidative damage in human genome: Mechanisms ensuring repair of mutagenic base lesions during replication and involvement of accessory proteins
Dutta, A, Yang, C, Sengupta, S, Mitra, S & Hegde, ML 2015, Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, vol 72, no. 9, pp. 1679-1698. DOI:

Revisiting Metal Toxicity in Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke: Therapeutic Potential
Mitra, J, Vasquez, V, Hegde, PM, Boldogh, I, Mitra, S, Kent, TA, Rao, KS & Hegde, ML 2015, Neurological Research and Therapy, vol 1, no. 2. DOI:

A Perspective on Chromosomal Double Strand Break Markers in Mammalian Cells
Wang, H, Adhikari, S, Butler, EB, Pandita, TK, Mitra, S & Hegde, ML 2015, Jacobs Journal of Radiation Oncology, vol 1, no. 1:003..

Opposing roles of mitochondrial and nuclear PARP1 in the regulation of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA integrity: Implications for the regulation of mitochondrial function
Szczesny, B, Brunyanszki, A, Olah, G, Mitra, S & Szabo, C 2014, Nucleic Acids Research, vol 42, no. 21, pp. 13161-13173. DOI:

New perspectives on oxidized genome damage and repair inhibition by pro-oxidant metals in neurological diseases
Mitra, J, Guerrero, EN, Hegde, PM, Wang, H, Boldogh, I, Rao, KSH, Mitra, S & Hegde, ML 2014, Biomolecules, vol 4, no. 3, pp. 678-703. DOI:

Innate inflammation induced by the 8-oxoguanine DNA glycosylase-1-KRAS-NF-?B pathway
Aguilera-Aguirre, L, Bacsi, A, Radak, Z, Hazra, TK, Mitra, S, Sur, S, Brasier, AR, Ba, X & Boldogh, I 2014, Journal of Immunology, vol 193, no. 9, pp. 4643-4653. DOI:

Oxidative stress: An essential factor in the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal mucosal diseases
Bhattacharyya, A, Chattopadhyay, R, Mitra, S & Crowe, SE 2014, Physiological Reviews, vol 94, no. 2, pp. 329-354. DOI:

Systems approaches to modeling chronic mucosal inflammation
Kalita, M, Tian, B, Gao, B, Choudhary, S, Wood, TG, Carmical, JR, Boldogh, I, Mitra, S, Minna, JD & Brasier, AR 2013, BioMed Research International, vol 2013, 505864. DOI:

Deficiency in Repair of the Mitochondrial Genome Sensitizes Proliferating Myoblasts to Oxidative Damage
Szczesny, B, Olah, G, Walker, DK, Volpi, E, Rasmussen, BB, Szabo, C & Mitra, S 2013, PLoS ONE, vol 8, no. 9, e75201. DOI:

Prereplicative repair of oxidized bases in the human genome is mediated by NEIL1 DNA glycosylase together with replication proteins
Hegde, ML, Hegde, PM, Bellot, LJ, Mandal, SM, Hazra, TK, Li, GM, Boldogh, I, Tomkinson, AE & Mitra, S 2013, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 110, no. 33. DOI:

Dual Regulatory Roles of Human AP-Endonuclease (APE1/Ref-1) in CDKN1A/p21 Expression
Sengupta, S, Mitra, S & Bhakat, KK 2013, PLoS ONE, vol 8, no. 7, e68467. DOI:

The disordered C-terminal domain of human DNA glycosylase NEIL1 contributes to its stability via intramolecular interactions
Hegde, ML, Tsutakawa, SE, Hegde, PM, Holthauzen, LMF, Li, J, Oezguen, N, Hilser, VJ, Tainer, JA & Mitra, S 2013, Journal of Molecular Biology, vol 425, no. 13, pp. 2359-2371. DOI:

Conserved structural chemistry for incision activity in structurally non-homologous apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease APE1 and endonuclease IV DNA repair enzymes
Tsutakawa, SE, Shin, DS, Mol, CD, Izumi, T, Arvai, AS, Mantha, AK, Szczesny, B, Ivanov, IN, Hosfield, DJ, Maiti, B, Pique, ME, Frankel, KA, Hitomi, K, Cunningham, RP, Mitra, S & Tainer, JA 2013, Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol 288, no. 12, pp. 8445-8455. DOI:

The interaction between polynucleotide kinase phosphatase and the DNA repair protein XRCC1 is critical for repair of DNA alkylation damage and stable association at DNA damage sites
Della-Maria, J, Hegde, ML, McNeill, DR, Matsumoto, Y, Tsai, MS, Ellenberger, T, Wilson, DM, Mitra, S & Tomkinson, AE 2012, Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol 287, no. 46, pp. 39233-39244. DOI: