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Researcher Profile

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Arun Sharma, PhD

Arun Sharma, PhD

Professor, Department of Pharmacology
Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology
Scientific Program:Next-Generation Therapies

Research Interests

The major focus of Dr. Arun Sharma’s lab is the design and development of novel small drug-like molecules as potential cancer therapeutic and preventive agents, and testing them in various in vitro and in vivo cancer models.

This effort has resulted in the development of some potent anti-cancer agents and understanding of their efficacy, toxicity, pharmacokinetics, and mechanisms of action. The main strategies adapted for designing new agents include optimization of

  • naturally occurring agents;
  • existing drugs or agents that fail in clinical trials; and
  • lead compounds obtained from chemical library screening, to enhance potency, bioavailability and therapeutic/chemopreventive index.

An example of natural product optimization includes the development of ISC-4, an isosteric selenium analog of isothiocyanates that occur naturally in cruciferous vegetables. ISC-4 was shown to be a PI3K/Akt pathway inhibitor that effectively inhibited tumor growth in melanoma and colon cancer xenograft models, alone and in combination with standard of care. Further optimization of ISC-4 structure has now led to a dual Akt pathway/topoisomerase II inhibitor NISC-6 as a potential melanoma therapeutic.

Through extensive structure-activity studies based on Selenium-NSAID hybrid molecules, Dr. Sharma’s lab has recently discovered two potent small molecules: Se-Aspirin, published recently and already commercially available; and AS-10, a bis-aspirinyl-selenazolidine analog which has shown great potential as a cancer therapeutic, particularly for pancreatic cancer. p-XS-Asp, another Se-aspirin hybrid molecule developed recently, is orally bioavailable and effective in preventing against NNK induced lung tumorigenesis.

Apart from developing anti-cancer compounds, Dr. Sharma’s lab is also focusing on developing "smart antibiotics." The emphasis is on designing and synthesizing cationic bolaamphiphiles (CABs) as carrier compounds that can transport antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) into C. difficile to selectively target the genetic material in C. difficile.

  • Neoplasms
  • Therapeutics
  • Cell Line
  • Growth
  • Apoptosis
  • Selenium
  • Melanoma
  • Colorectal Neoplasms
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Cycloaddition Reaction
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations

Recent Publications


Chowdhary, S, Raza, A, Seboletswe, P, Cele, N, Sharma, AK, Singh, P & Kumar, V 2023, 'Cu-promoted synthesis of Indolo[2,3-b]quinoxaline-Mannich adducts via three-component reaction and their anti-proliferative evaluation on colorectal and ovarian cancer cells', Journal of Molecular Structure, vol. 1275, 134627.
Astrain-Redin, N, Talavera, I, Moreno, E, Ramírez, MJ, Martínez-Sáez, N, Encío, I, Sharma, AK, Sanmartín, C & Plano, D 2023, 'Seleno-Analogs of Scaffolds Resembling Natural Products a Novel Warhead toward Dual Compounds', Antioxidants, vol. 12, no. 1, 139.


Ramos-Inza, S, Encío, I, Raza, A, Sharma, AK, Sanmartín, C & Plano, D 2022, 'Design, synthesis and anticancer evaluation of novel Se-NSAID hybrid molecules: Identification of a Se-indomethacin analog as a potential therapeutic for breast cancer', European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, vol. 244, 114839.
Raza, A, Singh, A, Amin, S, Spallholz, JE & Sharma, AK 2022, 'Identification and biotin receptor-mediated activity of a novel seleno-biotin compound that inhibits viability of and induces apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells', Chemico-Biological Interactions, vol. 365, 110071.
Raza, A, Johnson, H, Singh, A & Sharma, AK 2022, 'Impact of selenium nanoparticles in the regulation of inflammation', Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, vol. 732, 109466.
DiPasquale, M, Deering, TG, Desai, D, Sharma, AK, Amin, S, Fox, TE, Kester, M, Katsaras, J, Marquardt, D & Heberle, FA 2022, 'Influence of ceramide on lipid domain stability studied with small-angle neutron scattering: The role of acyl chain length and unsaturation', Chemistry and Physics of Lipids, vol. 245, 105205.
Cele, N, Awolade, P, Dhawan, S, Khubone, L, Raza, A, Sharma, AK & Singh, P 2022, 'Quinoline–1,3,4-Oxadiazole Conjugates: Synthesis, Anticancer Evaluation, and Molecular Modelling Studies', Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds.
Singh, A, Raza, A, Amin, S, Damodaran, C & Sharma, AK 2022, 'Recent Advances in the Chemistry and Therapeutic Evaluation of Naturally Occurring and Synthetic Withanolides', Molecules, vol. 27, no. 3, 886.
Morán-Serradilla, C, Angulo-Elizari, E, Henriquez-Figuereo, A, Sanmartín, C, Sharma, AK & Plano, D 2022, 'Seleno-Metabolites and Their Precursors: A New Dawn for Several Illnesses?', Metabolites, vol. 12, no. 9, 874.
Karelia, DN, Kim, S, Plano, D, Sharma, AK, Jiang, C & Lu, J 2023, 'Seleno-aspirin compound AS-10 promotes histone acetylation ahead of suppressing androgen receptor transcription, G1 arrest, and apoptosis of prostate cancer cells', Prostate, vol. 83, no. 1, pp. 16-29.
Narayan, S, Raza, A, Mahmud, I, Koo, N, Garrett, TJ, Law, ME, Law, BK & Sharma, AK 2022, 'Sensitization of FOLFOX-resistant colorectal cancer cells via the modulation of a novel pathway involving protein phosphatase 2A', iScience, vol. 25, no. 7, 104518.
Koo, N, Sharma, AK & Narayan, S 2022, 'Therapeutics Targeting p53-MDM2 Interaction to Induce Cancer Cell Death', International journal of molecular sciences, vol. 23, no. 9, 5005.


Chen, YC, Dinavahi, SS, Feng, Q, Gowda, R, Ramisetti, S, Xia, X, LaPenna, KB, Chirasani, VR, Cho, SH, Hafenstein, SL, Battu, MB, Berg, A, Sharma, AK, Kirchhausen, T, Dokholyan, NV, Amin, S, He, P & Robertson, GP 2021, 'Activating Sphingosine-1-phospahte signaling in endothelial cells increases myosin light chain phosphorylation to decrease endothelial permeability thereby inhibiting cancer metastasis', Cancer Letters, vol. 506, pp. 107-119.
Lee, SY, Slagle-Webb, B, Sharma, AK & Connor, JR 2021, 'Biological activity of a thiobarbituric acid compound in neuroblastomas', Anticancer Research, vol. 41, no. 3, pp. 1171-1181.
Foreman, JE, Koga, T, Kosyk, O, Kang, BH, Zhu, X, Cohen, SM, Billy, LJ, Sharma, AK, Amin, S, Gonzalez, FJ, Rusyn, I & Peters, JM 2021, 'Diminished Hepatocarcinogenesis by a Potent, High-Affinity Human PPARα Agonist in PPARA-Humanized Mice', Toxicological Sciences, vol. 183, no. 1, pp. 70-80.
Bapat, P, Sewell, DG, Boylan, M, Sharma, AK & Spallholz, JE 2021, 'In vitro cytotoxicity of trastuzumab (Tz) and se-trastuzumab (se-tz) against the her/2 breast cancer cell lines jimt-1 and bt-474', International journal of molecular sciences, vol. 22, no. 9, 4655.
Ramos-Inza, S, Ruberte, AC, Sanmartín, C, Sharma, AK & Plano, D 2021, 'NSAIDs: Old Acquaintance in the Pipeline for Cancer Treatment and Prevention-Structural Modulation, Mechanisms of Action, and Bright Future', Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, vol. 64, no. 22, pp. 16380-16421.
Karelia, DN, Kim, S, Pandey, MK, Plano, D, Amin, S, Lu, J & Sharma, AK 2021, 'Novel seleno-aspirinyl compound as-10 induces apoptosis, g1 arrest of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cells, inhibits their nf-κb signaling, and synergizes with gemcitabine cytotoxicity', International journal of molecular sciences, vol. 22, no. 9, 4966.
Wallis, N, Oberman, F, Shurrush, K, Germain, N, Greenwald, G, Gershon, T, Pearl, T, Abis, G, Singh, V, Singh, A, Sharma, AK, Barr, HM, Ramos, A, Spiegelman, VS & Yisraeli, JK 2022, 'Small molecule inhibitor of Igf2bp1 represses Kras and a pro-oncogenic phenotype in cancer cells', RNA Biology, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 26-43.
Foreman, JE, Koga, T, Kosyk, O, Kang, BH, Zhu, X, Cohen, SM, Billy, LJ, Sharma, AK, Amin, S, Gonzalez, FJ, Rusyn, I & Peters, JM 2021, 'Species Differences between Mouse and Human PPARα in Modulating the Hepatocarcinogenic Effects of Perinatal Exposure to a High-Affinity Human PPARα Agonist in Mice', Toxicological Sciences, vol. 183, no. 1, pp. 81-92.


Tyagi, A, Sharma, AK & Damodaran, C 2020, 'A Review on Notch Signaling and Colorectal Cancer', Cells, vol. 9, no. 6.
Tyagi, A, Kolluru, V, Chandrasekaran, B, Saran, U, Sharma, AK, Ankem, MK & Damodaran, C 2020, 'ASR488, a novel small molecule, activates an mRNA binding protein, CPEB1, and inhibits the growth of bladder cancer', Oncology Letters, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 850-860.
Tyagi, A, Chandrasekaran, B, Kolluru, V, Baby, BV, Sripathi, CA, Ankem, MK, Ramisetti, SR, Chirasani, VR, Dokholyan, NV, Sharma, AK & Damodaran, C 2020, 'ASR490, a small molecule, overrides aberrant expression of notch1 in colorectal cancer', Molecular cancer therapeutics, vol. 19, no. 12, pp. 2422-2431.
Gütschow, M, Eynde, JJV, Jampilek, J, Kang, CB, Mangoni, AA, Fossa, P, Karaman, R, Trabocchi, A, Scott, PJH, Reynisson, J, Rapposelli, S, Galdier, S, Winum, JY, Brullo, C, Prokai-Tatrai, K, Sharma, AK, Schapira, M, Azuma, YT, Cerchia, L, Spete, M, Torri, G, Collina, S, Geronikaki, A, García-Sosa, AT, Helena Vasconcelos, M, Sousa, ME, Kosalec, I, Tuccinardi, T, Duarte, IF, Salvador, JAR, Bertinaria, M, Pellecchia, M, Amato, J, Rastelli, G, Gomes, PAC, Guedes, RC, Sabatier, JM, Estévez-Braun, A, Pagano, B, Mangani, S, Ragno, R, Kokotos, G, Brindisi, M, González, FV, Borges, F, Miloso, M, Rautio, J & Muñoz-Torrero, D 2020, 'Breakthroughs in medicinal chemistry: New targets and mechanisms, new drugs, new hopes-7', Molecules, vol. 25, no. 13, 2968.
Lee, SY, Slagle-Webb, B, Sharma, AK & Connor, JR 2020, 'Characterization of a novel barbituric acid and two thiobarbituric acid compounds for lung cancer treatment', Anticancer Research, vol. 40, no. 11, pp. 6039-6049.
Ruberte, AC, González-Gaitano, G, Sharma, AK, Aydillo, C, Encío, I, Sanmartín, C & Plano, D 2020, 'New formulation of a methylseleno-aspirin analog with anticancer activity towards colon cancer', International journal of molecular sciences, vol. 21, no. 23, 9017, pp. 1-17.
Gummidi, L, Kerru, N, Awolade, P, Raza, A, Sharma, AK & Singh, P 2020, 'Synthesis of indole-tethered [1,3,4]thiadiazolo and [1,3,4]oxadiazolo[3,2-a]pyrimidin-5-one hybrids as anti-pancreatic cancer agents', Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters, vol. 30, no. 22, 127544.
Annageldiyev, C, Tan, SF, Thakur, S, Dhanyamraju, PK, Ramisetti, SR, Bhadauria, P, Schick, J, Zeng, Z, Sharma, V, Dunton, W, Dovat, S, Desai, D, Zheng, H, Feith, DJ, Loughran, TP, Amin, S, Sharma, AK, Claxton, D & Sharma, A 2020, 'The PI3K/AKT Pathway Inhibitor ISC-4 Induces Apoptosis and Inhibits Growth of Leukemia in Preclinical Models of Acute Myeloid Leukemia', Frontiers in Oncology, vol. 10, 393.
Ruberte, AC, Aydillo, C, Sharma, AK, Sanmartín, C & Plano, D 2020, 'Vilsmeier reagent, NaHSe and diclofenac acid chloride: One-pot synthesis of a novel selenoindolinone with potent anticancer activity', RSC Advances, vol. 10, no. 63, pp. 38404-38408.


Narayan, S, Ramisetti, S, Jaiswal, AS, Law, BK, Singh-Pillay, A, Singh, P, Amin, S & Sharma, AK 2019, 'ASR352, A potent anticancer agent: Synthesis, preliminary SAR, and biological activities against colorectal cancer bulk, 5-fluorouracil/oxaliplatin resistant and stem cells', European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, vol. 161, pp. 456-467.
Ruberte, AC, Sanmartin, C, Aydillo, C, Sharma, AK & Plano, D 2020, 'Development and Therapeutic Potential of Selenazo Compounds', Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, vol. 63, no. 4, pp. 1473-1489.
Frieben, EE, Amin, S & Sharma, AK 2019, 'Development of Isoselenocyanate Compounds' Syntheses and Biological Applications', Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, vol. 62, no. 11, pp. 5261-5275.
Alcolea, V, Karelia, DN, Pandey, MK, Plano, D, Singh, P, Palop, JA, Amin, S, Sanmartín, C & Sharma, AK 2019, 'Identification of a novel quinoxaline-isoselenourea targeting the STAT3 pathway as a potential melanoma therapeutic', International journal of molecular sciences, vol. 20, no. 3, 521.
Fernández-Rubio, C, Larrea, E, Guerrero, JP, Herrero, ES, Gamboa, I, Berrio, C, Plano, D, Amin, S, Sharma, AK & Nguewa, PA 2019, 'Leishmanicidal activity of isoselenocyanate derivatives', Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy, vol. 63, no. 2, e00904-18.