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Probal Banerjee


Research Interests:

A. Curcumin (CC), a component of the dietary spice turmeric, eliminates almost all types of cancer cells, but, due to its poor bioavailability, it is ineffective in eliminating established tumors. To increase bioavailability and efficacy, we linked CC to a targeting antibody (Ab) against the antigen CD68, which is highly expressed in human and mouse glioblastoma cells. Upon endocytosis of the CD68Ab-CC adduct, free CC is released by intracellular esterases, thereby killing the GBM cells. In the course of this study, we have also discovered that this adduct as well as a phytosomal form of stabilized CC repolarize tumor-associated microglia and macrophages from the tumor-promoting M2 phenotype to the tumoricidal M1 state, thereby triggering tumor elimination. Our current research involves synthesis of novel chemotherapeutic agent-CC adducts and testing them as immune-boosting but safe anti-cancer agents in GBM-harboring mice.

B. The females are twice as prone to experiencing anxiety and depression as males and earlier studies have indicated that the neurotransmitter serotonin 5-HT is involved in this process. Our studies have revealed that female mice are selectively dependent on serotonin 1A receptor (5-HT1A-R) mediated signaling for normal anxiety behavior. A deficiency 5-HT1A-R signaling and the consequent aberrant development of some hippocampal neurons could be associated with this female-specific anxiety in adulthood. Our current studies are focused on understanding the possible role of sex steroids in cooperative signaling with the 5-HT1A-R and if such signaling activities are linked to the female-specific anxiety disorders.

C. Using the Fmr1 knockout (FXS) mouse model for autism, we have demonstrated aberrant AMPA receptor translocation to the plasma membrane in the hippocampal neurons of early postnatal FXS mice. A selective activator of PKCe, which normalizes anxiety behavior in other mouse models was able to normalize AMPA receptor translocation as well as anxiety and social behavior in the FXS mice. The PKCe gene is a known substrate for the RNA-binding protein Fmr1. This project will build a mechanistic understanding of the role of Fmr1 and PKCepsilon in neonatal hippocampal development, AMPA receptor transport, brain inflammation, and adult behavior linked to autism.


i) “Novel Curcumin-antibody Conjugates as Anti-Cancer Agents”. Banerjee, P. and Raja, K. 1038-58 PCT/US/Approved 2016 (approved).

ii) “Novel Curcumin and Tetrahydrocurcumin derivatives”. Raja, K. (PI) and Banerjee, P. PCT Canada/ 2012/07A0020. (approved).


M.Sc., Jadavpur University, Kolkata 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 and Publications

Publications (selected from 97):

1. Mohapatra, S., Cafiero, J., Kashfi, K., Mehta, P., and Banerjee, P. (2023) International Journal of Molecular Science, 24, 5026. Why Don’t the Mutant Cells That Evade DNA Repair Cause Cancer More Frequently? Importance of the Innate Immune System in the Tumor Microenvironment.

2. Samaddar, S., Purkayastha, S., Diallo, S., Tantry, S.J., Schroder, R., Chanthrakumar, P., Flory, M.J., and Banerjee, P. (2022) International Journal of Molecular Science, 23, 1962. The G Protein-Coupled Serotonin 1A Receptor Augments Protein Kinase Ce Mediated Neurogenesis in Neonatal Mouse Hippocampus.

3. Marsillo, A.E., David, L., Gerges, B., Kerr, D.J., Sadek, R., Lasiychuk, V., Salame, D., Soliman, Y., Menkes, S., Chatterjee, A., Mancuso, A., and Banerjee, P. (2021) BBA Molecular Basis of Disease. 1867, 166048. PKC epsilon as A Neonatal Target to Correct FXS-linked AMPA Receptor Translocation in the Hippocampus, Boost PVN Oxytocin Expression, and Normalize Adult Behavior in Fmr1 Knockout Mice.

4. Mukherjee, S., Baidoo, J.N.E., Fried, A., and Banerjee, P. (2020) Biochemical Pharmacology, Jan 24: 176, 113824. Using Curcumin to Turn the Innate Immune System Against Cancer.

5. Budylin, T.B., Guariglia, S.R., Duran, L.I., Behring, B.M., Shaikh, Z., Neuwirth, L.S., and Banerjee, P. (2019) Ultrasonic Vocalization Sex Differences in 5-HT1A-R Deficient Mouse Pups: Predictive Phenotypes Associated with Later-life Anxiety-like Behaviors. Behavioural Brain Research, 373, 112062.

6. Mukherjee, S., Fried, A., Hussaini, R., White, R., Baidoo, J., Yalamanchi, S., and Banerjee, P. (2018) Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research, 37, 168. Phytosomal curcumin causes natural killer cell-dependent repolarization of glioblastoma (GBM) tumor-associated microglia/macrophage and elimination of GBM and GBM stem cells.

7. Mukherjee, S., Hussaini, R., White, R., Atwi, D., Fried, A., Sampat, S., Piao, L., Pan, Q., and Banerjee, P. (2018) Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy, 67, 781-774. TriCurin, a synergistic formulation of curcumin, resveratrol, and epicatechin gallate, repolarizes tumor-associated macrophages and triggers an immune response to cause suppression of HPV+ tumors.

8. Mukherjee, S., Baidoo, J., Sampat, S., Mancuso, A., David, L., Cohen, L.S., Zhou, S., Banerjee, P. (2018) Molecules, 23, 201. Liposomal TriCurin, A Synergistic Combination of Curcumin, Epicatechin Gallate and Resveratrol, Repolarizes Tumor-Associated Microglia/Macrophages, and Eliminates Glioblastoma (GBM) and GBM Stem Cells.

9. Mukherjee, S., Baidoo, J., Fried, A., Atwi, D., Dolai, S., Boockvar, J., Symons, M., Ruggieri, R., Raja, K., and Banerjee, P. (2016) International Journal of Cancer, 139, 2838-2849. Curcumin changes the polarity of tumor-associated microglia and eliminates glioblastoma.

10. Kerr, D.J., Marsillo, A., Guariglia, S.R., Budylin, T., Sadek, R., Menkes, S., Chauhan, A., Wen, G.Y., McCloskey, D.P., Wieraszko, A., and Banerjee, P. (2016) BBA - Molecular Basis of Disease, 1862, 1755-1765. Aberrant hippocampal Atp8a1 levels are associated with altered synaptic strength, electrical activity and autistic-like behavior.

11. Samaddar, S., Ranasinghe, B., Tantry, S.J., Debata, P.R., and Banerjee, P. (2015) Adv Exp. Med. Biol., 842, 375-388. Involvement of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor in Serotonin 1A Receptor-Mediated Neuroproliferation in Neonatal Mouse Hippcampus.

12. Langone, P., Debata, P.R., Inigo, J.D.R., Dolai, S., Mukherjee, S., Halat, P., Mastroianni, K., Curcio, G.M., Castellanos, M.R., Raja, K., and Banerjee, P. (2014) Int. J. Cancer, 135, 710-719. Coupling to a Glioblastoma-directed Antibody Potentiates Anti-tumor Activity of Curcumin.

13. Wegiel, J., Kuchna, I., Nowicki, K., Imaki, H., Wefiel, J., Ma, S.Y., Azmitia, E.C., Banerjee, P., Flory, M., Cohen, I.L., London, E., Brown, T., Hare, C.K., and Wisniewski, T., (2013) Brain Res., 1512, 106-122. Contribution of olivofloccular circuitry developmental defects to atypical gaze in autism.

14. 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).

15. 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.

Jared Cafiero (CUNY Doc. Prog. Biochemistry)

            Shubhasmita Mohapatra, Ph.D.

Helen El-Achkar  

Zeinab Cisse

Past Doctoral Students:

1. Juliet Baidoo (2023) (CUNY Doc. Prog. Biochemistry)

2. Tatyana Budylin (2019) (CUNY Doc. Prog. Biology/Neuroscience)

3. Sumit Mukherjee (2018) (CUNY Doc. Prog. Biochemistry)

4. Alexandra Marsillo (2017) (CUNY Doc. Prog. Biology/Neuroscience)

5. Dan Kerr (2014) (CUNY Doc. Prog. Biology/Neuroscience)

6. Sreyashi Samaddar (2013) (CUNY Doc. Prog. Biology/Neuroscience)

7. Jarek Wegiel (2013) (CUNY Doc. Prog. Biology/Neuroscience)

8. Amit Mogha, Ph.D. (2011) (CUNY Doc. Prog. Biology/Neuroscience)

9. Phyllis Langone, Ph.D. (2011) (CUNY Doc. Prog. Biochemistry)

10. Kelly Levano, Ph.D. (2010) (CUNY Doc. Prog. Biochemistry)

11. Buddima Ranasinghe, Ph.D. (2009)(CUNY Doc. Prog. Biochemistry)

12. Baishali Kanjilal, Ph.D. (2008) (CUNY Doc. Prog. Biochemistry)

13. Mukti Mehta, Ph.D. (2007) (CUNY Doc. Prog. Biology/Neuroscience)

14. Farah Jayman, Ph.D. (2006) (Biochemistry Program)

15. Tatyana Adayev, Ph.D. (2004) (CUNY Doc. Prog. Biology/Neuroscience)

16. Hui-Ai Yang, Ph.D. (2000) (CUNY Doc. Prog. Biology/Neuroscience)

1.    Priya Ranjan Debata, Ph.D
2.    Sudarshana Purkayastha, Ph.D.
3.    Tomasz Sobocki, Ph.D.
4.    Indrani Ray, Ph.D. 

1. Darlinda Shillingford

2. Gabrielle Jonny

3. Lovena David

4. Hiba Chaker

5. Joseph Inigo

6. Sultana Begum

7. Kiseok Yang

8. Vineet Punia

9. Michael Raghunath

 Probal Banerjee image

Contact Information

Fax: 718.982.3953