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Dhimant Desai, PhD

Dhimant Desai, PhD

Professor, Department of Pharmacology
Penn State Neuroscience Institute
Center for Cannabis and Natural Product Pharmaceuticals (CCNPP)
Scientific Program:Next-Generation Therapies

Research Interests

Dr. Dhimant Desai’s research interest is to study the structural activity relationship of organic chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic agents against cancers of colon, lung, melanoma and leukemia. He specializes in micro- and macro-scale organic and bio-organic syntheses of carbocyclic nucleosides, carcinogens, chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic agents including organoselenium compounds, cytodifferentiating agents and nitric oxide inhibitors.

The focus of Dr. Desai's research is on the synthesis of carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines and their metabolites and adducts. It further extends his research in animal bioassays (studies in mice, rats, hamsters); isotopic and radiochemical preparations; animal tissue distribution studies; and in vitro studies with synthetic standards, including 14C, 2H and 3H-labeled compounds.

Dr. Desai has focused on the prevention and treatment of colon cancer by selenium-containing COX-2 inhibitors. In another recently funded project, Dr. Desai has investigated PK/PD studies of PAN-antiviral agent in the treatment of HCMV infections. He is also involved in the research on gut microbiota and metabolomics studies with bile acid analogs in the treatment of non-fatty liver disease, COPD and asthma.

  • Neoplasms
  • Lung
  • Therapeutics
  • Carcinogenesis
  • Selenium
  • 4-(N-methyl-N-nitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone
  • Tobacco
  • 1,4-phenylenebis(methylene)selenocyanate
  • Carcinogens
  • Nitrosamines
  • Epoxy Compounds
  • DNA

Recent Publications


Rimal, B, Collins, SL, Tanes, CE, Rocha, ER, Granda, MA, Solanki, S, Hoque, NJ, Gentry, EC, Koo, I, Reilly, ER, Hao, F, Paudel, D, Singh, V, Yan, T, Kim, MS, Bittinger, K, Zackular, JP, Krausz, KW, Desai, D, Amin, S, Coleman, JP, Shah, YM, Bisanz, JE, Gonzalez, FJ, Vanden Heuvel, JP, Wu, GD, Zemel, BS, Dorrestein, PC, Weinert, EE & Patterson, AD 2024, 'Bile salt hydrolase catalyses formation of amine-conjugated bile acids', Nature, vol. 626, no. 8000, pp. 859-863.


Zhou, X, Chakraborty, D, Murray, IA, Coslo, D, Kehs, Z, Vijay, A, Ton, C, Desai, D, Amin, SG, Patterson, AD & Perdew, GH 2023, 'Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Activation Coordinates Mouse Small Intestinal Epithelial Cell Programming', Laboratory Investigation, vol. 103, no. 2, 100012.
Kale, VP, Hengst, JA, Sharma, AK, Golla, U, Dovat, S, Amin, SG, Yun, JK & Desai, DH 2023, 'Characterization of Anticancer Effects of the Analogs of DJ4, a Novel Selective Inhibitor of ROCK and MRCK Kinases', Pharmaceuticals, vol. 16, no. 8, 1060.
Dong, F, Murray, IA, Annalora, A, Coslo, DM, Desai, D, Gowda, K, Yang, J, Wang, D, Koo, I, Hao, F, Amin, SG, Patterson, AD, Marcus, C & Perdew, GH 2023, 'Complex chemical signals dictate Ah receptor activation through the gut-lung axis', FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, vol. 37, no. 7, pp. e23010.
Garg, A, Desai, D, Bhalla, A, Thakur, S, Rastogi, P & Kaushal, N 2023, 'SelSA-1, a novel HDAC inhibitor demonstrates enhanced chemotherapeutic potential by redox modulation', Scientific reports, vol. 13, no. 1, 9301.
Bogush, D, Schramm, J, Ding, Y, He, B, Singh, C, Sharma, A, Tukaramrao, DB, Iyer, S, Desai, D, Nalesnik, G, Hengst, J, Bhalodia, R, Gowda, C & Dovat, S 2023, 'Signaling pathways and regulation of gene expression in hematopoietic cells', Advances in Biological Regulation, vol. 88, 100942.


Raup-Konsavage, WM, Sepulveda, DE, Morris, DP, Amin, S, Vrana, KE, Graziane, NM & Desai, D 2022, 'Efficient Synthesis for Altering Side Chain Length on Cannabinoid Molecules and Their Effects in Chemotherapy and Chemotherapeutic Induced Neuropathic Pain', Biomolecules, vol. 12, no. 12, 1869.
Jiang, J, Ma, Y, Liu, Y, Lu, D, Gao, X, Krausz, KW, Desai, D, Amin, SG, Patterson, AD, Gonzalez, FJ & Xie, C 2022, 'Glycine-β-muricholic acid antagonizes the intestinal farnesoid X receptor–ceramide axis and ameliorates NASH in mice', Hepatology Communications, vol. 6, no. 12, pp. 3363-3378.
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.
Kaur, R, Desai, D, Amin, S, Raza, K, Bhalla, A, Yadav, P & Kaushal, N 2023, 'Selenocoxib-3, a novel anti-inflammatory therapeutic effectively resolves colitis', Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, vol. 478, no. 3, pp. 621-636.
Dinavahi, SS, Chen, YC, Gowda, R, Dhanyamraju, PK, Punnath, K, Desai, D, Berg, A, Kimball, SR, Amin, S, Yang, JM & Robertson, GP 2022, 'Targeting Protein Translation in Melanoma by Inhibiting EEF-2 Kinase Regulates Cholesterol Metabolism though SREBP2 to Inhibit Tumour Development', International journal of molecular sciences, vol. 23, no. 7, 3481.
Ehudin, MA, Golla, U, Trivedi, D, Potlakayala, SD, Rudrabhatla, SV, Desai, D, Dovat, S, Claxton, D & Sharma, A 2022, 'Therapeutic Benefits of Selenium in Hematological Malignancies', International journal of molecular sciences, vol. 23, no. 14, 7972.


Tellez, CS, Picchi, MA, Juri, D, Do, K, Desai, DH, Amin, SG, Hutt, JA, Filipczak, PT & Belinsky, SA 2021, 'Chromatin remodeling by the histone methyltransferase EZH2 drives lung pre-malignancy and is a target for cancer prevention', Clinical Epigenetics, vol. 13, no. 1, 44.
Golla, U, Ehudin, MA, Annageldiyev, C, Zeng, Z, Bastihalli Tukaramrao, D, Tarren, A, Date, AA, Elcheva, I, Berg, A, Amin, S, Loughran, TP, Kester, M, Desai, D, Dovat, S, Claxton, D & Sharma, A 2021, 'Dj4 targets the rho-associated protein kinase pathway and attenuates disease progression in preclinical murine models of acute myeloid leukemia', Cancers, vol. 13, no. 19, 4889.
Ge, Z, Song, C, Ding, Y, Tan, BH, Desai, D, Sharma, A, Gowda, R, Yue, F, Huang, S, Spiegelman, V, Payne, JL, Reeves, ME, Iyer, S, Dhanyamraju, PK, Imamura, Y, Bogush, D, Bamme, Y, Yang, Y, Soliman, M, Kane, S, Dovat, E, Schramm, J, Hu, T, McGrath, M, Chroneos, ZC, Payne, KJ, Gowda, C & Dovat, S 2021, 'Dual targeting of MTOR as a novel therapeutic approach for high-risk B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia', Leukemia, vol. 35, no. 5, pp. 1267-1278.
Raca, G, Abdel-Azim, H, Yue, F, Broach, J, Payne, JL, Reeves, ME, Gowda, C, Schramm, J, Desai, D, Dovat, E, Hu, T, Berg, AS, Bhojwani, D, Payne, KJ & Dovat, S 2021, 'Increased Incidence of IKZF1 deletions and IGH-CRLF2 translocations in B-ALL of Hispanic/Latino children—a novel health disparity', Leukemia, vol. 35, no. 8, pp. 2399-2402.
Klink, M, Rahman, MA, Song, C, Dhanyamraju, PK, Ehudin, M, Ding, Y, Steffens, S, Bhadauria, P, Iyer, S, Aliaga, C, Desai, D, Huang, S, Claxton, D, Sharma, A & Gowda, C 2021, 'Mechanistic basis for in vivo therapeutic efficacy of ck2 inhibitor cx-4945 in acute myeloid leukemia', Cancers, vol. 13, no. 5, 1127, pp. 1-21.
Ghanghas, P, Sharma, M, Desai, D, Raza, K, Bhalla, A, Kumar, P, Narula, D, Amin, S, Sanyal, SN & Kaushal, N 2022, 'Selenium-Based Novel Epigenetic Regulators Offer Effective Chemotherapeutic Alternative with Wider Safety Margins in Experimental Colorectal Cancer', Biological Trace Element Research, vol. 200, no. 2, pp. 635-646.
Dovat, E, Song, C, Hu, T, Rahman, MA, Dhanyamraju, PK, Klink, M, Bogush, D, Soliman, M, Kane, S, McGrath, M, Ding, Y, Desai, D, Sharma, A & Gowda, C 2021, 'Transcriptional regulation of PIK3CD and PIKFYVE in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia by IKAROS and protein kinase CK2', International journal of molecular sciences, vol. 22, no. 2, 819, pp. 1-14.


Pearson, JM, Tan, SF, Sharma, A, Annageldiyev, C, Fox, TE, Abad, JL, Fabrias, G, Desai, D, Amin, S, Wang, HG, Cabot, MC, Claxton, DF, Kester, M, Feith, DJ & Loughran, TP 2020, 'Ceramide analogue SACLAC modulates sphingolipid levels and MCL-1 splicing to induce apoptosis in acute myeloid leukemia', Molecular Cancer Research, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 352-363.
Song, C, Ge, Z, Ding, Y, Tan, BH, Desai, D, Gowda, K, Amin, S, Gowda, R, Robertson, GP, Yue, F, Huang, S, Spiegelman, V, Payne, JL, Reeves, ME, Gurel, Z, Iyer, S, Dhanyamraju, PK, Xiang, M, Kawasawa, YI, Cury, NM, Yunes, JA, McGrath, M, Schramm, J, Su, R, Yang, Y, Zhao, Z, Lyu, X, Muschen, M, Payne, KJ, Gowda, C & Dovat, S 2020, 'IKAROS and CK2 regulate expression of BCL-XL and chemosensitivity in high-risk B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia', Blood, vol. 136, no. 13, pp. 1520-1534.
Payne, JL, Song, C, Ding, Y, Dhanyamraju, PK, Bamme, Y, Schramm, JW, Desai, D, Sharma, A, Gowda, C & Dovat, S 2020, 'Regulation of small GTPase Rab20 by ikaros in B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia', International journal of molecular sciences, vol. 21, no. 5, 1718.
Nettleford, SK, Zhao, L, Qian, F, Herold, M, Arner, B, Desai, D, Amin, S, Xiong, N, Singh, V, Carlson, BA & Prabhu, KS 2020, 'The Essential Role of Selenoproteins in the Resolution of Citrobacter rodentium-Induced Intestinal Inflammation', Frontiers in Nutrition, vol. 7, 96.
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.
Annageldiyev, C, Gowda, K, Patel, T, Bhattacharya, P, Tan, SF, Iyer, S, Desai, D, Dovat, S, Feith, DJ, Loughran, TP, Amin, S, Claxton, D & Sharma, A 2020, 'The novel Isatin analog KS99 targets stemness markers in acute myeloid leukemia', Haematologica, vol. 105, no. 3, pp. 687-696.