Debomoy K. Lahiri, PhD, MSC
Professor of Neurobiology
My work balances teaching and research on the neurobiology and genetics of aging and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). I particularly enjoy working with and teaching medical students, graduate students, residents and fellows. I also give presentations on my research at national and international conferences. My main research interest is to understand how degeneration of brain cells under laboratory conditions can be more closely made to resemble the “natural” neurodegeneration of AD. This can be used to test drugs to prevent or even reverse AD-related degeneration. In particular, I am most interested in how stress from the environment leads to brain nerve cell damage in AD.
I have published over 300 peer-reviewed articles, authored four books and received several patents, much of that in collaboration with others. I have received external grants from National Institute on Aging/NIH (R01, R03, R21, R41 and P30), the Alzheimer’s Association, and drug companies, e.g., Baxter Healthcare, Forest Research, Janssen, Novartis, and QR Pharma. I mentor Masters, PhD, MD/PhD students, and postdoctoral fellows. In my commitment to disseminate knowledge, I also serve as the Editor-In-Chief of a respected, peer-reviewed international journal, Current Alzheimer Research, which publishes articles on basic, clinical, and translational research from diverse areas of AD. I am a Core leader and member of the Indiana Alzheimer’s Disease Center (IADC) Executive Committee. I was particularly humbled to receive the Zenith Fellow Award.
NB 200C, Neuroscience Research Bldg.
Titles & Appointments
- Professor of Medical & Molecular Genetics
My primary focus is to understand the mechanisms of aging and longevity of the brain; origin and biogenesis of AD-associated amyloid plaque; and gene regulation related to AD and other neuropsychiatric disorders. My main goal is to better understand the causes of neurodegenerative diseases (such as AD), to determine molecular methods for their diagnoses, and to devise rational neuroprotective strategies for prevention and treatment of such age-related disorders.
I played a key role in elucidating the molecular pathway for the amyloid-β precursor protein (APP) and its metabolites in AD at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. At the Indiana University School of Medicine, I expanded my research to neurobiology of brain injury, epigenetics, and how autism spectrum disorder and fragile X syndrome may relate to AD, a particularly novel discovery. In addition, we have begun to explore parallels between the progressive damage of AD and long-term effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI). My team has led characterization of the regulatory regions (promoters) of several AD-associated genes. We were among the first to demonstrate non-cholinergic properties of the cholinesterase inhibitors widely-used in AD treatment. We first proposed the “Latent Early-life Associated Regulation” (LEARn) model that unites genes and environment. LEARn posits that early-life exposures (“hits”) may be latently “stored” in the epigenome until sufficient hits accumulate to produce late-life disorders, such as AD. LEARn proposes specific, testable mechanisms and targets as an alternative to “black-boxing” the gene-environment interaction. In response to advances in epigenetics research, we further refined LEARn as the “Transgenerational-LEARn” model (t-LEARn).
A more novel target that has grown out of our work is elucidating the neurobiology of microRNA (miRNA). We discovered unique roles of specific miRNA species in AD. Since AD-associated gene regulation includes mRNA translation, discovery of specific miRNA operating on AD-associated mRNAs is significant. We are testing how levels of specific miRNAs could be novel markers for AD risk and co-regulation of AD and TBI-associated protein levels by miRNA species.
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
American Society for Neurochemistry
Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH)
Listed in Marquis Who's Who in America (2012-present).
Society for Neuroscience