21916-Kota, Janaiah

Janaiah Kota, PhD, MS

Assistant Research Professor of Medical & Molecular Genetics

975 W. Walnut Street, IB 244C

Indianapolis, IN 46202-5251
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Dr. Kota grew up in rural India helping his parents on the farm. Since his childhood, he has a passion for biology and applying that knowledge to improve human lives. To bring his dreams into reality, he earned his BS in Agriculture and PhD in Seed Science from Indian Agriculture Research Institute, New Delhi. His graduate research project was on genetic and biochemical aspects of seed dormancy to reduce pre & post-harvest crop losses. After his graduation, he moved to the US and spent about a year in plant sciences and switched his career path to biomedical sciences for exploring his long-term passion and commitment to understand fundamental aspects of human disease and developing novel therapies.

He joined Dr. Jerry Mendell's laboratory for post-doctoral training at the Center for Gene therapy, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio and made outstanding contributions to translational gene therapy for neuromuscular diseases and basic cancer biology. His non-human primate work on AAV-follistatin muscle building strategy (Kota et al, 2009, Science Transnational Medicine) in combination with prior findings from Drs. Kaspar & Mendell's teams led to Phase I/II clinical trials in two muscular dystrophy patient populations. His second area of work in miRNA-cancer biology, in collaboration with Dr. Joshua Mandell (Kota et al., 2009 Cell), led him to his path of independent research.

Dr. Kota joined the Medical and Molecular Genetics faculty at the Indiana University School of Medicine with a major research focus on understanding the fundamental mechanistic role of miR-29 in pancreatic cancer tumor microenvironment. He is currently also a member of the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center-Tumor Microenvironment and Pancreatic Cancer working groups and Associate Director of Molecular Testing at the Indiana University Vector Production Facility. He is an American Cancer Society Research Scholar.

Key Publications

Dey S, Kwon JJ, Factora T, Kota J (2019). miR-29a is repressed by MYC in pancreatic cancer and its restoration drives tumor suppressive effects via downregulation of LOXL2, Molecular Cancer Research. PMID: 31662451

Sahu SS, Dey S, Nabinger SC, Jiang G, Bates A, Tanaka H, Liu Y, Kota J (2019). The Role and Therapeutic Potential of miRNAs in Colorectal Liver Metastasis. Scientific Reports. PMID: 316767795

Kwon JJ, Factora T, Dey S, Kota J (2018). Systemic review of miR-29 cancer. Molecular Therapy Oncolytics. PMCID: PMC6369137

Jones R K, Nabinger CS, Sangbin L, Sahu SS, Althrouse A, Saxena S, Johnosn SM,Chalasani N, Gawreih S, Kota J (2018). Lower Expression of Tumor MicroRNA-26a is Associated with Higher Recurrence in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma Undergoing Surgical Treatment. Journal of Surgical Oncology. PMID: 30076741

Adelaiye-Ogala R, Damayanti N , Budka J, Ferris M, Arrington J,  Hsu C, Chintala S,  Orillion A,  Miles KM, Shen L, Elbanna M, Ciamporcero E,  Arisa S, Pettazzoni P, Draetta GF, Mukund Seshadri M, Radovich M, Kota J, Buck M, Keilhack H, McCarthy BP, Persohn SA, Territo PR , Zang Y, Irudayaraj J, Tao WA, Hollenhorst P  and Pili R (2017). EZH2 modifies sunitinib resistance in renal cell carcinoma by kinome reprogramming. Cancer Research. 77 (23):6651-66. PMID: 28978636

Kota J, Hancock J, Kwon JJ, Korc M (2017). Pancreatic Cancer: Stroma and its Current and Emerging Targeted Therapies. Cancer Lett. PMID:28093284

Quirin KA, Kwon JJ, Alioufi A, Factora T, Temm CJ, Jacobsen M, Sandusky GE, Shontz K, Chicoine LG, Clark KR, Mendell JT, Korc M, Kota J (2017). Safety and efficacy of AAV retrograde pancreatic ductal gene delivery in normal and pancreatic cancer mice. Molecular Therapy Methods & Clinical Development. PMCID: PMC5675991

Kwon JJ, Willy JA, Quirin KA, Wek RC, Korc M, Yin XM, and Kota J (2016). Novel role of miR-29 in pancreatic cancer autophagy and its therapeutic potential. Oncotarget. PMCID: PMC5342107

Surendran S, Jideonwo V, Merchun C, Ahn M, Murray J, Hou Y, Ryan J, Dunn K, Dai G, Kota J, Morral, N (2016). Gene targets of mouse miR-709: regulation of distinct pools. Scientific Reports 6:18958. PMCID: PMC4705522

Kwon JJ, Nabinger CS, Alluri KR, Vega Z, Sahu SS, Sater AZ, Yu Z, Gore A J, Nalepa G, Saxena R, Korc M, Kota J (2015). Pathophysiological role of microRNA-29 in pancreatic cancer stroma. Scientific Reports 5:11450. PMCID: PMC4476113

Mendell JR, Rodino-Klapac L, Sahenk Z,  Roush K, Bird L, Lowes LP,  Alfano L Gomez, AM,  Lewis S, Kota J, Malik V,  Shontz K, Flanigan KM, Kean JR, Allen HD, Shilling C,  Sazani P, Kaye EM (2013). Effect of Eteplirsen on Dystrophin and Walking in Duchenne's muscular dystrophy. Ann Neurol 2013; 74(5): 637-647. PMID:23907995

Rosales XQ, Malik V, Sneh A, Chen L, Lewis S, Kota J, Gastier-Foster JM, Astbury C, Pyatt R, Reshmi S, Rodino-Klapac LR, Clark KR, Mendell JR, Sahenk Z. (2013). Impaired regeneration in LGMD2A supported by increased PAX7-positive satellite cell content and muscle-specific microRNA dysregulation. Muscle & Nerve 47(5):731-739. PMCID: PMC3634894

Hsu SS*, Wang B*, Kota J*, Kutay H*, Costinean S*, Bai S*, Yu L, Perle LK, Chivukula RR, Clark KR, Mendell JR, Samson JT , Mendell JT and Ghoshal K. (2012). Essential metabolic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumorigenic functions of miR-122 in liver. Journal of Clinical Investigation 122(8):2871–2883. *co-first author. PMCID: PMC3408748

Mendell JR, Rodino-Klapac LR, Rosales XQ, Coley BD, Galloway G, Lewis S, Malik V, Shilling C, Byrne BJ, Conlon T, Campbell KJ, Bremer WG, Taylor LE, Flanigan KM, Gastier-Foster JM, Astbury C, Kota J, Sahenk Z, Walker CM, Clark KR. (2010). Sustained alpha-sarcoglycan gene expression after gene transfer in LGMD2D. Ann Neurol 2010; 68: 629-638. PMCID: PMC2970162

Malik V, Rodino-Klapac LR, Viollet L, Wall C, King W, Al-Dahhak R, Lewis S, Shilling CJ, Kota J, Serrano-Munuera C, Hayes J, Mahan JD, Campbell KJ, Banwell B, Dasouki M, Watts V, Sivakumar K, Bien-Willner R, Flanigan KM, Sahenk Z, Barohn RJ, Walker CM, Mendell JR. (2010). Gentamicin-induced read-through of stop codons in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Ann Neurol 67:771-780. PMID 20517938

Kota J, Handy CR, Haidet A, Montgomery CL, Eagle A, Rodino-Klapac LR, Tucker D, Shilling CJ, Therlfall W, Walker CM, Weisrode SE, Janssen PML, Clark KR, Sahenk Z, Mendell JR, Kaspar BK. (2009). Follistatin gene delivery enhances muscle growth and strength nonhuman primates. Science Translational Medicine 1(6): 6ra15 PMCID: PMC2852878

Kota J, Chivukula RR, O’Donnell KA, Wentzel EA, Montgomery CL, Hwang HW, Chang TC, Clark KR, Mendell JR, Mendell JT. (2009). Therapeutic microRNA delivery suppresses tumorigenesis in a murine liver cancer model. Cell 137(6):1005-1017* PMCID: PMC2722880

*Nature Medicine recognized this article as-Notable Advances/Key papers published in 2009

Panguluri SK, Kota J, Govil JN, Kumar PA, Sharma PC. (2006). AFLP fingerprinting in pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.) and its wild relatives. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 53, 523-531

Kota J, Kant K, Dadlani M. (2006).  Efficacy of dormancy breaking methods in indica rice varieties. Seed Research 34 (1), 45-49

Kota J, Kant K, Sharma SP (2003).  Use of phenol colour test for characterization of rice (Oryza sativa L.) cultivars. Seed Research 31(2),141-147

Titles & Appointments

  • Assistant Research Professor of Medical & Molecular Genetics
  • Associate Director of Molecular Testing, Indiana Vector Production Facility
  • Member of the IU Simon Cancer Center, Tumor Microenvironment &amp
  • Pancreatic Cancer Working Groups
  • Education
    2005 PhD Indian Agricultural Research Institute
    2000 MS Indian Agricultural Research Institute
    1998 BS Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University
  • Research

    The Kota laboratory focuses on understanding the pathophysiological role of miRNAs in disease mechanisms associated with advanced forms of human cancers, such as pancreatic and liver cancers, and exploring their therapeutic and biomarker potential. Previous studies from his work have provided evidence for miR-26a replacement as an efficacious anti-cancer therapeutic strategy for liver cancer (Kota et al., Cell 2009). Part of the labs research efforts are dedicated to studing the role miR-26 in various etiologies associated with HCC (Jones et al., 2018). 

    A vast majority of the current research is mainly focused on studying the role of miRNAs in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) tumor microenvironment (Kota et al., 2017). They have laid much of the groundwork for the role of miR-29 in PDAC tumor-stromal biology and found a significant downregulation miR-29 in both stromal and cancer cells (Kwon et al., 2015 & 2016). Restored expression of miR-29 reduced ECM matrix collagen proteins, cancer growth, and sensitized cancer cells to chemotherapy. Their global RNAseq analysis identified novel miR-29 targets that regulates tumor-stromal immunity, ECM remodeling, EMT, and invasion/migration of cancer cells (Dey et al., 2019). Using wide variety of genetic, biochemical, cellular approaches, and unique miR-29 knockout, orthotopic, genetically engineered pancreatic cancer mouse models, 2D/3D, microfluidic model systems, their laboratory is seeking to gain deeper mechanistic insights into the role of miR-29 in pancreatic cancer tumor microenvironment and exploit miR-29/targets therapeutic potential via pancreas targeted intraductal gene delivery (Quirin et al. 2017). The ultimate goal of the Kota laboratory is to develop better treatment strategies for pancreatic and liver cancers and improve the survival of patients.

    Representative Past Trainees (ALUMNI):
    Jason Kwon, Ph.D., Graduate student-NIH-F31 Award
    Current Position: Postdoctoral research fellow, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Lab of William Hahn

    Sarah C. Nabinger, Ph.D., Post-Doctoral Fellow
    Current Position: Associate Consultant, Global Scientific Communications-Oncology, Eli Lilly Company

    Research Interns/Staff:
    Tricia Factoria- IUSM Medical Student
    Sushuma Yarlagadda- IUSM Medical Student
    Kayla Qurin- Genetic Counseling
    Andrea Martinez–Undergraduate at IUPUI

  • Professional Organizations
    American Association for Cancer Research
    American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy
    The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • Awards
    Org: American Cancer Society
    Desc: American Cancer Society Research Scholar
    Scope: National
    Org: American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT)
    Desc: Excellence in Research Award
    Scope: National
    Org: Indiana University
    Desc: Trustee Teaching Award
    Scope: Regional
    Org: The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital
    Desc: Outstanding Post-Doctoral Scientist: Basic Research
    Scope: Regional

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