Cancer Institute

  • Asok Dasmahapatra

    Senior Research Scientist
    National Center for Natural Products Research
    Associate Professor of Pharmacology
    Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
    Basic Cancer Science at Oxford Program
    Ph.D., Zoology, 1981, University of Calcutta, West Bengal, India
    Postdoc, 1985-1986, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
    Post doc, 1991-1993, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
    Post doc, 1997-2002, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI

    Contact information
    P.O. Box 1848
    Faser Hall #313
    University, MS 38677
    Phone: (662) 915-7077
    Fax: (662) 915-5148


    Research interests

    • Epigenetic mechanisms involved in cancer
    • Anticancer drug development from natural products

    Research synopsis

    The broad goal of our research is to understand the epigenetic mechanisms involved in cancer development specifically breast cancer and its prevention by bioactive molecules present in natural products. For many years, the search for therapeutic substances for cancer were concentrated on genetic mechanisms, however, it is now clear that deregulation of epigenetic processes are equally important in the propagation of this disease. Moreover, compared to genetic mutation, epigenetic modifications occur frequently and are thought to be reversible; thus the inhibition of these mechanisms could be a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of cancer. Our goal is to understand the molecular mechanism(s) by which natural products or bioactive molecules present in the natural products can prevent epigenetic disorders observed in cancer.

    Selected publications

    • Gene expression profiling and pathway analysis data in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cell lines treated with dioscin.  Aumsuwan P, Khan SI, Khan IA, Walker LA, Dasmahapatra AK. Data Brief. 2016 May 25;8:272-9. doi: 10.1016/j.dib.2016.05.040.
    • The anticancer potential of steroidal saponin, dioscin, isolated from wild yam (Dioscorea villosa) root extract in invasive human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 in vitro. Aumsuwan P, Khan SI, Khan IA, Ali Z, Avula B, Walker LA, Shariat-Madar Z, Helferich WG, Katzenellenbogen BS, Dasmahapatra AK. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2016 Feb 1;591:98-110. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2015 Dec 10
    • Modulation of DNA methylation machineries in Japanese rice fish (Oryzias latipes) embryogenesis by ethanol and 5-azacytidine. Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol. 2016 Jan;179:174-83. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpc.2015.10.011. Epub 2015 Oct 26. Dasmahapatra AK, Khan IA.
    • Evaluation of wild yam (Dioscorea villosa) root extract as a potential epigenetic agent in breast cancer cells. Aumsuwan P, Khan SI, Khan IA, Avula B, Walker LA, Helferich WG, Katzenellenbogen BS, Dasmahapatra AK. In Vitro Cell Dev Biol Anim. 2015 Jan;51(1):59-71. doi: 10.1007/s11626-014-9807-5. Epub 2014 Aug 23.
    • Gene-specific disruption of endocannabinoid receptor 1 (cnr1a) by ethanol probably leads to the development of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) phenotypes in Japanese rice fish (Oryzias latipes) embryogenesis. Dasmahapatra AK1, Khan IA2.  Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol. 2015 Jan; 167:90-100. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpc.2014.09.005. Epub 2014 Sep 20.
    • Epigenetic events associated with breast cancer and their prevention by dietary components targeting the epigenome. Khan SI, Aumsuwan P, Khan IA, Walker LA, Dasmahapatra A K.Chem. Res. Toxicol. 25:61-73 (2012)  
    • Potential utility of natural products as regulators of breast cancer-associated aromatase promoters. Khan SI, Zhao J, Khan IA, Walker LA, Dasmahapatra AK.Reproductive Biol. Endocrinol. (1n press) 2011.
    • Anti-aromatase activity of the constituents from damiana (Turnera diffusa). Zhao J, Dasmahapatra AK, Khan SI, Khan IA Ethnopharmacol. 120 :387-393 (2008).
    • Estrous cycle-regulated expression of CYP1B1 mRNA in the rat ovary. Dasmahapatra A. K., Trewin A.L., Hutz R.J. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 133B: 127-134 (2002).
    • 2,3,7,8- Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin increases steady-state estrogen receptor-β mRNA levels after CYP1A1 and CYP1B1 induction in rat granulose cells in vitro. Dasmahapatra A.K., Wimpee B.A.B., Trewin A.L., Hutz R.J.Cell. Mol. Endocrinol. 182: 39-49 (2001).