A. Early postnatal development of the hippocampus have been linked to various affective disorders in which the serotonergic system is most often impaired.  We have shown that signaling through the serotonin 1A receptor (5-HT1A-R) is essential for neonatal neurogenesis and synaptogenesis in the hippocampus, which may critically support affective normalcy in adulthood.  Delineation of these 5-HT1A-R pathways may yield an effective therapeutic strategy to normalize neonatal neurogenesis and synaptogenesis in infants at risk of developing affective disorders later in life.

B. A P-type ATPase, termed Atp8a1, may play a crucial role in inner-leaflet localization of the phospholipid phosphatidylserine (PS) in the plasma membrane.  We have shown that the absence of this protein in mice is associated with PS externalization in hippocampal cells and also impaired hippocampus-dependent learning.  Additionally, Atp8a1 is significantly increased in postmortem hippocampi from juvenile but not adult subjects with autism.  We are currently studying the role of Atp8a1 in hippocampal function and behavior in relation to autism.

C. Curcumin, a major component of the culinary spice turmeric, displays prophylactic activity against almost all cancers, but, due to its poor bioavailability, it is ineffective in eliminating established tumors. By chemically linking curcumin to an antibody that targets it to cancer cells, we have sharply potentiated its ability to eliminate cancer cells. This project studies ways of achieving such targeting of curcumin into brain tumor as well as skin and cervical cancer cells.  


M.Sc., Jadavpur University, Calcutta, India

Ph.D., Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India

Post-doc training:Joseph Kennedy Mental Retardation Center, Department of Pediatrics, University of Chicago Hospital

Scholarship / Publications

(Selected from 58):
1. Mogha A, Guariglia, S.R., Debata, P.R., Wen, G.Y., and Banerjee, P. (2012) Translational Psychiatry (Nature group), 2(1), e66. doi:10.1038/tp.2011.58. Serotonin 1A Receptor-Mediated Signaling Through ERK and PKCα is Essential for Normal Synaptogenesis in Neonatal Mouse Hippocampus.  (Among top ten downloaded articles).

2. Langone, P., Dolai, S., Debata, P.R., Curcio, G.M., Inigo, J.R., Raja, K., and Banerjee, P. (2012) Int J Cancer. 131, E569-E578.  Coupling to A Cancer Cell-Specific Antibody Potentiates Tumoricidal Properties of Curcumin. Article first published online: 3 JAN 2012;  DOI: 10.1002/ijc.26479.

3. Purkayastha, S., Ford, Kanjilal, B., J., Diallo, S., Inigo, J.D.R., Neuwirth, L., Elidrissi, A., Ahmed, Z., Wieraszko, A., and Banerjee, P. (2012) J Neurochem, 120, 396-407.Clozapine functions through the prefrontal cortex serotonin 1A receptor to heighten neuronal activity via calmodulin kinase II-NMDA receptor interactions.

4. Levano, K., Punia, V., Raghunath, M., Debata, P.R., Curcio, G., Mogha, A., Purkayastha, S., McCloskey, D., Fata, J., and Banerjee, P. (2012) J Neurochem, 120, 302-313.  Atp8a1 Deficiency is Associated with Phosphatidylserine Externalization in Hippocampus and Delayed Hippocampus-Dependent Learning.

5. Castellanos, M., Davidov, A., Punia, V., Szerszen, A., Maiman, M., Bette Lazzaro, B., Ahern, K., and Banerjee P. (2011) Int J Gynecol Pathol., 31, 1-7. Endonuclease Resistant DNA: A Novel Histochemical Marker for Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia and Cervical Carcinoma.

6. Debata, P.R., Ranasinghe, B., Berliner, A., Curcio, G.M., Tantry, S.J., Ponimaskin, E., and Banerjee, P. (2010) Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun., 397, 401-406.  Erk1/2-dependent phosphorylation of PKCalpha at threonine 638 in hippocampal 5-HT1A receptor-mediated signaling.