Center for Neurological Disease Research, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology
Director - Center for Brain Science and Neurodegenerative Diseases, John H. “Johnny” Isakson Chair for Parkinson’s Research and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, Professor

Research Interests

Dr. Kanthasamy’s research program has been at the forefront in unraveling the cell signaling mechanisms underlying key pathophysiological processes of PD, including mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, dopaminergic therapy, aSyn protein aggregation, gut microbiota dysbiosis, exosome trafficking, neuroinflammation, and apoptosis. Furthermore he and his team recently adopted a highly sensitive RT-QuIC assay to successfully detect ultralow levels of pathologic αSyn aggregates from serum, plasma, CSF and submandibular and skin samples from PD and related Parkinsonian disorders. Dr. Kanthasamy’s lab translational research efforts also involve testing the efficacy of several small-molecule, peptide, and probiotic therapeutics against select targets in various experimental models of PD such as MPTP, 6-OHDA, MitoPark, and αSyn rodent models to advance them for further preclinical and clinical evaluations. My lab’s translational research efforts have resulted in several patent applications, including utility patent application 16/287,437, “L-Dopa Microbiome Therapy”. This knowledge is key to discovering new biomarkers and will advance the development of novel translational approaches for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases like PD. His program has been continuously supported by multiple NIH grants from NIEHS and NINDS for over 20 years, and he is currently funded by NIEHS, NINDS, NIBIB, MJFF, and DoD grants. He has trained over 30 Ph.D. students and his current research program employs over 25 researchers, largely comprising graduate students.

Overall his drive research projects in four major areas:

  • Novel apoptotic and compensatory signaling activated during neurotoxic insult in the dopaminergic neurodegenerative process;
  • Protein misfolding and neuroinflammatory mechanisms in neurotoxicity;
  • Epigenetic reprogramming in neurotoxic stress; and
  • Translational biomarker and drug discovery in neurotoxicity and neurodegeneration.

Educational Background

Postdoctoral training: Medicinal Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology
(formerly Pharmacology & Toxicology), Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, 1994
Ph.D., Biochemistry, 1989, University of Madras, India.
M.Phil., Biochemistry, 1986, University of Madras, India.
M.S., Biochemistry, 1984, University of Madras, India.
B.S., Chemistry, May 1981, University of Madras, India.


  • Sept 2021 – John H. “Johnny” Isakson Chair and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia at Athens
  • 2011-Aug 2021 Distinguished Professor, Eugene and Linda Lloyd Chair and Eminent Scholar in Neurotoxicology, Dept. of Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University. In 2017, The Lloyd Endowment has been elevated to Lloyd Chair and Eminent Scholar.
  • July 2011-2019 Department Chair, Dept. of Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University.
  • March 2010-2011 Associate Chair, Dept. of Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University.
  • 2008 – 2011 Distinguished Professor and Eugene and Linda Lloyd Chair in Neurotoxicology, Iowa State University.
  • 2007 – 2008 Professor and Eugene and Linda Lloyd Endowed Chair in Neurotoxicology
  • 2005 – 2007 Professor and Eugene & Linda Lloyd Endowed Professor in Neurotoxicology
  • 2004 – 2008 Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Iowa State University,
  • 2006 – Present Founder and Director, Iowa Center for Advanced Neurotoxicology
  • 2002 – 2004 Associate Professor tenured, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, IA.
  • 1999 – 2002 Associate Professor tenure-track, Parkinson’s Disorder Research Program, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, IA.
  • 2000 – 2009 Graduate Program Supervisory Committee Member, Interdepartmental
  • Neuroscience Program, Iowa State University, Ames, IA.
  • 2006 – Present Faculty Member, Interdepartmental Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Graduate Program, ISU.
  • 2006 – Present Faculty Member, Interdepartmental Immunobiology Graduate Program, ISU.
  • 2002 – Present Faculty Member, Interdepartmental Genetics Graduate Program, ISU
  • 2002 – Present Faculty Member, Gerontology Program, Iowa State University.
  • 2002 – Present Faculty Member, Center for Designing Foods to Improve Nutrition (CDFIN),

Selected Publications

Huang M, Lou D, Charli A, Kong D, Jin H, Zenitsky G, Anantharam V, Kanthasamy A, Wang Z, Kanthasamy AG. 2021. Mitochondrial dysfunction-induced H3K27 hyperacetylation perturbs enhancers in Parkinson’s disease. JCI Insight. 6(17): e138088. PMCID: PMC8492320.

Ghaisas S, Harischandra DS, Palanisamy B, Proctor A, Jin H, Dutta S, Sarkar S, Langley M, Zenitsky G, Anantharam V, Kanthasamy A, Phillips GJ, Kanthasamy A. 2021. Chronic Manganese Exposure and the Enteric Nervous System: An in Vitro and Mouse in Vivo Study. Environ Health Perspect. 129(8): 87005. PMCID: PMC8375672.

Manne S, Kondru N, Jin H, Serrano GE, Anantharam V, Kanthasamy A, Adler CH, Beach TG and Kanthasamy AG, 2020. Blinded RT-QuIC analysis of α-synuclein biomarker in skin tissue from Parkinson’s Disease patients. Movement Disorders, 35(12):2230-2239. PMCID: PMC7749035.

Sarkar S, Nguyen HM, Malovic E, Luo J, Langley M, Palanisamy BN, Singh N, Manne S, Neal M, Gabrielle M, Abdalla A, Anantharam P, Rokad D, Panicker N, Singh V, Ay M, Charli A, Harischandra D, Jin LW, Jin H, Rangaraju S, Anantharam V, Wulff H, Kanthasamy AG. 2020. Kv1.3 modulates neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease. J Clin Invest. 130(8):4195-4212. PMCID: PMC7410064.

Sarkar, S., Nguyen, H. M., Malovic, E., Luo, J., Langley, M., Palanisamy, B. N., … & Kanthasamy, A. G. (2020). Kv1. 3 modulates neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease. The Journal of clinical investigation, 130(8), 4195-4212.

Ghaisas S, Langley MR, Palanisamy BN, Dutta S, Narayanaswamy K, Plummer PJ, Sarkar S, Ay M, Jin H, Anantharam V, Kanthasamy A, Kanthasamy AG. 2019. MitoPark transgenic mouse model recapitulates the gastrointestinal dysfunction and gut-microbiome changes of Parkinson’s disease. Neurotoxicology. 75:186-199. PMCID: PCM7048412.

Panicker N, Sarkar S, Harischandra DS, Neal M, Kam TI, Jin H, Saminathan H, Langley M, Charli A, Samidurai M, Rokad D, Ghaisas S, Pletnikova O, Dawson VL, Dawson TM, Anantharam V, Kanthasamy AG, Kanthasamy A. 2019. Fyn kinase regulates misfolded α-synuclein uptake and NLRP3 inflammasome activation in microglia. J Exp Med. 216(6):1411-1430. PMC6547864.

Harischandra, D. S., Rokad, D., Neal, M. L., Ghaisas, S., Manne, S., Sarkar, S., … & Kanthasamy, A. G. (2019). Manganese promotes the aggregation and prion-like cell-to-cell exosomal transmission of α-synuclein. Science signaling, 12(572), eaau4543.

Gordon, R., Albornoz, E. A., Christie, D. C., Langley, M. R., Kumar, V., Mantovani, S., … & Woodruff, T. M. (2018). Inflammasome inhibition prevents α-synuclein pathology and dopaminergic neurodegeneration in mice. Science translational medicine, 10(465), eaah4066.

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