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Sankar Mitra, PhD

Emeritus Professor of Oncology, Academic Institute
Full Emeritus Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist


Dr. Mitra had a brilliant academic career at Calcutta University, India from which he received MS in Biochemitry in 1959. After earning a PhD 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

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Stanford University Medical School
Research Doctorate, Department of Biochemistry University of Wisconsin Madison 6
MS, University of Calcutta
Research Fellowship, Department of Biochemistry, University of Calcutta
University Fellow, Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison,WI
PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Ligand-induced gene activation is associated with oxidative genome damage whose repair is required for transcription
Sengupta, S, Wang, H, Yang, C, Szczesny, B, Hegde, ML & Mitra, S 2020, , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 117, no. 36, pp. 22183-22192.

Fine-tuning of DNA base excision/strand break repair via acetylation
Bhakat, KK, Sengupta, S & Mitra, S 2020, , DNA Repair, vol. 93, 102931.

Gold nanoparticles radio-sensitize and reduce cell survival in lewis lung carcinoma
Pandey, A, Vighetto, V, Marzio, ND, Ferraro, F, Hirsch, M, Ferrante, N, Mitra, S, Grattoni, A & Filgueira, CS 2020, , Nanomaterials, vol. 10, no. 9, 1717, pp. 1-9.

XRCC1 promotes replication restart, nascent fork degradation and mutagenic DNA repair in BRCA2-deficient cells
Eckelmann, BJ, Bacolla, A, Wang, H, Ye, Z, Guerrero, EN, Jiang, W, El-Zein, R, Hegde, ML, Tomkinson, AE, Tainer, JA & Mitra, S 2020, , NAR cancer, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. zcaa013.

Gold Nanoparticles Radio-Sensitize and Reduce Cell Survival in Lewis Lung Carcinoma
Pandey, A, Vighetto, V, Di Marzio, N, Ferraro, F, Hirsch, M, Ferrante, N, Mitra, S, Grattoni, A & Filgueira, CS 2020, , Nanomaterials, vol. 10, no. 9.

Pervasive Genomic Damage in Experimental Intracerebral Hemorrhage: Therapeutic Potential of a Mechanistic-Based Carbon Nanoparticle
Dharmalingam, P, Talakatta, G, Mitra, J, Wang, H, Derry, PJ, Nilewski, LG, McHugh, EA, Fabian, RH, Mendoza, K, Vasquez, V, Hegde, PM, Kakadiaris, E, Roy, T, Boldogh, I, Hegde, VL, Mitra, S, Tour, JM, Kent, TA & Hegde, M 2020, , ACS Nano, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 2827-2846.

Motor neuron disease-associated loss of nuclear TDP-43 is linked to DNA double-strand break repair defects
Mitra, J, Guerrero, EN, Hegde, PM, Liachko, NF, Wang, H, Vasquez, V, Gao, J, Pandey, A, Paul Taylor, J, Kraemer, BC, Wu, P, Boldogh, I, Garruto, RM, Mitra, S, Rao, KS & Hegde, M 2019, , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 116, no. 10, pp. 4696-4705.

Mutant FUS causes DNA ligation defects to inhibit oxidative damage repair in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Wang, H, Guo, W, Mitra, J, Hegde, PM, Vandoorne, T, Eckelmann, BJ, Mitra, S, Tomkinson, AE, Van Den Bosch, L & Hegde, ML 2018, , Nature Communications, vol. 9, no. 1, 3683.

Acetylation of oxidized base repair-initiating NEIL1 DNA glycosylase required for chromatin-bound repair complex formation in the human genome increases cellular resistance to oxidative stress
Sengupta, S, Yang, C, Hegde, ML, Hegde, PM, Mitra, J, Pandey, A, Dutta, A, Datarwala, AT, Bhakat, KK & Mitra, S 2018, , DNA Repair, vol. 66-67, pp. 1-10.

SMAD4 gene mutation renders pancreatic cancer resistance to radiotherapy through promotion of autophagy
Wang, F, Xia, X, Yang, C, Shen, J, Mai, J, Kim, HC, Kirui, D, Kang, Y, Fleming, JB, Koay, EJ, Mitra, S, Ferrari, M & Shen, H 2018, , Clinical Cancer Research, vol. 24, no. 13, pp. 3176-3185.

Differentially localized survivin and STAT3 as markers of gastric cancer progression: Association with Helicobacter pylori
Pandey, A, Tripathi, SC, Shukla, S, Mahata, S, Vishnoi, K, Misra, SP, Misra, V, Mitra, S, Dwivedi, M & Bharti, AC 2018, Cancer Reports, vol. 1, no. 1, e1004.

Chromatin-Bound Oxidized a-Synuclein Causes Strand Breaks in Neuronal Genomes in in vitro Models of Parkinson's Disease
Vasquez, V, Mitra, J, Hegde, PM, Pandey, A, Sengupta, S, Mitra, S, Rao, SK & Hegde, ML 2017, , Journal of Alzheimers Disease, vol. 60, no. s1, pp. S133-S150.

Pre-Replicative Repair of Oxidized Bases Maintains Fidelity in Mammalian Genomes: The Cowcatcher Role of NEIL1 DNA Glycosylase
Rangaswamy, S, Pandey, A, Mitra, S & Hegde, ML 2017, , Genes, vol. 8, no. 7.

Aurora kinase B dependent phosphorylation of 53BP1 is required for resolving merotelic kinetochore-microtubule attachment errors during mitosis
Wang, H, Peng, B, Pandita, RK, Engler, DA, Matsunami, RK, Xu, X, Hegde, PM, Butler, EB, Pandita, TK, Mitra, S, Xu, B & Hegde, ML 2017, , Oncotarget, vol. 8, no. 30, pp. 48671-48687.

DNA damage responses in central nervous system and age-associated neurodegeneration
Hegde, ML, Bohr, VA & Mitra, S 2017, , Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, vol. 161, pp. 1-3.

Microhomology-mediated end joining is activated in irradiated human cells due to phosphorylation-dependent formation of the XRCC1 repair complex
Dutta, A, Eckelmann, B, Adhikari, S, Ahmed, KM, Sengupta, S, Pandey, A, Hegde, PM, Tsai, M-S, Tainer, JA, Weinfeld, M, Hegde, ML & Mitra, S 2016, , Nucleic Acids Research, vol. 45, no. 5, pp. 2585-2599.

Regulation of oxidized base damage repair by chromatin assembly factor 1 subunit A
Yang, C, Sengupta, S, Hegde, PM, Mitra, J, Jiang, S, Holey, B, Sarker, AH, Tsai, M-S, Hegde, ML & Mitra, S 2016, , Nucleic Acids Research, vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 739-748.

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.

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.

Chronic oxidative damage together with genome repair deficiency in the neurons is a double whammy for neurodegeneration: Is damage response signaling a potential therapeutic target?
Wang, H, Dharmalingam, P, Vasquez, V, Mitra, J, Boldogh, I, Rao, KS, Kent, TA, Mitra, S & Hegde, ML 2016, , Mechanisms of Ageing and Development.