Dr. Sitaram Harihar, Ph.D.

PDF: University of Kansas Medical Center, USA; Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Singapore

Research Assistant Professor


  • Ph.D. in Cell & Molecular Biology from Utah State University, USA 2011
  • M.Sc. in Biotechnology from Osmania University 2002
  • B.Sc. in Biology, Chemistry from Kakatiya University 2000

Academic Experience:

  • Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Cancer Biology, University of Kansas Medical Center, 2011-2014
  • Research Fellow, Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (AStar), Singapore 2014-2015
  • Research Assistant Professor, Department of Genetic Engineering, SRM University, Kattankulathur 2016-present

Other Professional Experience:

  • Project Review Committee Member at Department of Genetic Engineering, SRM IST

Achievements and Awards:

  • Junior Research Fellowship (JRF), CSIR, 2002
  • Certification for Teaching Proficiency, International Teaching Assistant Workshop, Utah State University, 2003
  • Joseph Greaves Memorial Fellowship, Biology, Utah State University, 2005
  • Graduate Student Senate Award, Utah State University, 2009

The research in my laboratory spans from genes to in vivo studies with expertise in molecular biology, imaging, biochemistry, cell culture and animal models. We aim to address questions broadly centered on understanding the biology of cancer metastasis.  We are involved in identifying and gaining mechanistic insights into a family of genes regulating metastasis called the metastasis suppressor genes. These genes inhibit metastasis without interrupting primary tumour growth. How metastasis suppressor genes work is largely unknown. Therefore, an understanding of their mechanism of action will help develop a more realistic and less aggressive approach to control/treat cancer  instead of relying on therapies that cause drug resistance resulting in more aggressive treatment strategies and concomitant deleterious side effects. To accomplish this broad objective our focus has centred on studying the mechanism of action of three metastasis suppressor genes  KISS1, BRMS1 and ITIH5 in different cancers in collaboration with Prof Danny Welch at the University of Kansas Medical Center, USA.  The major tumor types studied in my lab are Oral, breast and pancreatic cancers. We have also ventured into studying ultrastructural and biomechanical properties of cancer cells in collaboration with Dr. Anhong Zhou at Utah State University, USA.                                                                                                                                                                            

Metastatic cascade and metastasis suppressor’s mechanism of action.  Metastasis suppressors arelisted under each step in the metastatic cascade at which they have been experimentally shown to suppress.  (Journal of Molecular Medicine, 2014).

Image showing BRMS1 expression specifically altering the cytoskeletal architecture in MDA-MB-435 cells (Cancer Letters, 2010).

Krishnaveni S (PhD Student)
Shyamala Kannan (MTech Student)
Gunjan Patel (MTech Student)
Journal Articles
  • Zhang W, Rhodes JS, Garg A, Takemoto JY, Qi X, Harihar S, Chang CT, Moon KR and   Zhou A.  Label-free discrimination and quantitative analysis of oxidative stress induced cytotoxicity and potential protection of antioxidants using Raman micro-spectroscopy and machine learning. Anal Chim Acta (2020) Sep 1; 1128:221-230 
  • Ly T, Harihar S and Welch DR. KISS1 in metastatic cancer research and treatment: potential and paradoxes. Cancer Metastasis Rev (2020) Sep;39(3):739-754 
  • Harihar S, Ray S, Narayanan S, Santhoshkumar A, Ly T and Welch DR. Role of the tumor micro-environment in regulating the anti-metastatic effect of KISS1. Clin Exp Metastasis (2020) Apr;37(2):209-223
  • Li Q, Tian X, Harihar S, Li Q, Li L, Welch DR and Zhou A. Gd2O3-doped silica @ Au Nanoparticles for In Vitro Imaging Cancer Biomarkers Using Surface-Enhanced Raman scattering Spectrochim Acta A Mol Biomol Spectrosc (2017) June 15; 181: 218-225
  • Kurahara H, Bohl CR, Natsugoe S, Nishizono Y, Harihar S, Sharma R, Iwakuma T and Welch DR. Suppression of Pancreatic Cancer Growth and Metastasis by HMP19 Identified through In Vivo Genom-Wide shRNA Screening Intl Journal of Cancer (2016) Aug 1; 139(3): 628-38
  • Li Q, Xiao L, Harihar S, Welch DR, Vargis E and Zhou A. In vitro biophysical, microspectroscopic and cytotoxic evaluation of metastatic and non-metastatic cancer cells in responses to anti-cancer drug Analytical methods (2015) Dec, 7(24): 10162-69
  • Rangarajan P, Subramaniam D, Paul S, Kwatra D, Palaniyandi K, Islam S, Harihar S, Ramalingam S, Gutheil W, Putty S, Pradhan R, Padhye S, Welch DR, Anant S, Dhar A. Crocetinic acid inhibits hedgehog signaling to inhibit pancreatic cancer stem cells Oncotarget (2015) Sep 29;6(29):27661-73
  • Xiao L, Harihar S, Welch DR and Zhou A. Imaging of epidermal growth factor receptor on single breast cancer cells using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy Anal Chim Acta (2014) Sep 16;843:73-82
  • Harihar S, Pounds KM, Iwakuma T, Seidah NG and Welch DR. Furin is the major proprotein convertase required for KISS1-to-kisspeptin processing PLoS One. (2014) Jan 13;9(1)
  • Bohl CR*, Harihar S*, Denning WL*, Sharma R and Welch DR. Metastasis suppressors in breast Cancers: mechanistic insights and clinical potential J. Mol Med (2014) Jan;92(1):13-30 * equal contribution
  • Wu Y, McEwen GD, Harihar S, Baker SM, DeWald DB, Zhou A. BRMS1 expression alters the ultrastructural, biomechanical and biochemical properties of MDA-MB-435 human breast carcinoma cells: an AFM and Raman Microspectroscopy Study. Cancer letters (2010) Jul 1;293(1):82-91
  • Vaidya KS, Harihar S, Phadke PA, Stafford LJ, Hurst DR, Hicks DG, Casey G, DeWald DB, Welch DR. Breast cancer metastasis suppressor-1 differentially modulates growth factor signaling. J Biol Chem (2008) Oct 17; 283(42):28354-60
  • Zhang L, Huang W, Tanimura A, Morita T, Harihar S, DeWald DB, and Prestwich GD. Synthesis and Biological Activity of Metabolically Stabilized Cyclopentyl Trisphosphate Analogues of D-myo-Ins(1,4,5)P(3). ChemMedChem (2007) 10:1281-1289
  • DeWald DB, Ozaki S, Malaviya S, Shope JC, Manabe K, Crosby L, Neilsen P, Johnston D, Harihar S, and Prestwich GD. Cellular calcium mobilization in response to phosphoinositide delivery. Cell Calcium (2005) 38, 59-72.

Book Chapters

  • Narayanan S, Santhoshkumar A, Ray S and Harihar S. Reprogramming of cancer cell metabolism: Warburg and reverse Warburg hypothesis. Cancer Cell Metabolism: A Potential Target for Cancer Therapy (Springer), 15-26, 2020, ISBN 978-981-15-1990-1

Conference Abstracts

  • Aishwarya PG, Young ED, Harihar S and Welch DR. Identification of ITIH5 Pancreatic Metastasis Suppressor Interacting Proteins. 4th Midwest Tumor Microenvironment Meeting, Iowa City, USA
  • Harihar S, Hampton KR, Iwakuma T, Seidah NG and Welch DR. Furin mediated processing and phosphorylation are critical post-translational modifications in KISS1.  American Association for Cancer Research, San Diego CA, USA (2014)
  • Bohl CR, Kurahara H, Natsugoe S, Nishizono Y, Harihar S, Iwakuma T and Welch DR Identification and biochemical characterization of HMP19, a tumor/metastasis suppressor in pancreatic cancer. American Association for Cancer Research, San Diego CA, USA (2014)
  • Harihar S, Pounds KM, Iwakuma T, Seidah NG and Welch DR. Furin is required for processing KISS1 to Kisspeptins. American Association for Cancer Research, Washington DC, USA (2013)
  • Harihar S, La J, Welch DR and DeWald DB. Differential Regulation of Type I Phosphatidylinositol 4-Phosphate 5-kinase isoforms in MDA-MB-435 cells by BRMS1. American Association for Cancer Research, Denver, CO, USA (2009)
  • Harihar S, La J, Xie Y, Welch DR and DeWald DB. Breast Cancer Metastasis Suppressor 1 reduces Phosphoinositide Signaling and Invasive Potential of MDA-MB-435 cells. Joint Metastasis Research Society - AACR Conference on Metastasis, Vancouver BC, Canada (2008)
  • Vaidya KS, Harihar S, Phadke P, Stafford L, DeWald DB and Welch  DR Breast Cancer Metastasis Suppressor 1 (BRMS1) Selectively Modulates Growth Factor Signaling. American Association for Cancer Research, San Diego (2008)
  • Vaidya KS, Harihar S, Phadke P, Hicks D, Casey G, DeWald DB and Welch  DR Differential Signaling Imposed by BRMS1 as a Potential Mechanism for Differential Growth of Breast Cancer Cells. American Association for Cancer Research, Los Angeles (2007)
  • DeWald DB, Harihar S and Welch DR. Breast Cancer Metastasis Suppressor 1 Reduces Epidermal Growth Factor Signaling in MDA-MB-435 Cells. American Association for Cancer Research, Washington D.C, (2006)

Work in Progress

  • With Dr. Danny R. Welch, Studying Mechanism of Action of  KISS1 and ITIH5 Metastasis Suppressors.
  • With Dr. Anhong Zhou, Studying Structural Alterations in Cancer Cells.

  • Cell Signaling-Animal
  • Cancer Genetics
  • Stem Cell Biology
  • Neurogenetics
  • Animal Biotechnology Theory/Laboratory
  • Ethical Issues & IPR
  • Animal Cell Culture & Transgenic Technology
  • Research Methodology
  • Molecular Cell Biology
  • Animal Cell Culture Laboratory
  • Molecular Techniques Laboratory
  • Gene Expression Laboratory
  • Molecular Biology Laboratory




Dr. Sitaram Harihar 
Research Assistant Professor
Department of Genetic Engineering
SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Kattankulathur- 603203
Chengalpattu District, Tamil Nadu