Ratnam Seelan, Ph.D.
Ratnam Seelan, Ph.D.
Department of Molecular, Cellular & Craniofacial Biology
Dr. Seelan’s primary research interests are in understanding the genetic basis for developmental defects such as Cleft Palate. His current research focuses on identifying epigenetically regulated genes that play critical roles in the development of the mouse secondary palate. These genes are being sought by two complementary approaches. In the first, DNA Methylation Arrays are being probed with genomic DNA fragments enriched for methylated CpG residues, obtained from the developing palate (spanning gestational days 12-14; GD12-14), using MeDIP (methylated DNA immunoprecipitation), an antibody-based protocol. In the second, CpG methylation profiles of candidate genes, identified by mRNA profiling analysis, are being examined during GD12-14 of palatogenesis by bisulfite modification of DNA, followed by sequencing. Genes showing differential methylation in the 5’ upstream region during GD12-14, consistent with their spatio-temporal expression in the developing palate are being subjected to further analysis. Thus far, one gene – Sox4 – has been identified as a critical player in murine secondary palate development, and is currently the primary focus of his research. These studies are being done in collaboration with Drs. Pisano and Greene, research faculty at the Birth Defects Center. Another ongoing project examines the role of SDF1- CXCR4 signaling in the migration of trunk neural crest cells to the Dorsal Root Ganglion. Functional inactivation of either gene leads to perinatal lethality in the mouse and could result in late term miscarriages in humans. These studies are currently funded by the COBRE mechanism and he continues to seek additional funding support for his varied interests. Funding from an NIH R01 grant is currently pending.
II- Grants Funded
Role: Sub-project Principal Investigator
Title: Regulation of Neural Crest Cell Migration by SDF1-CXCR4 signaling.
Funding Agency: National Institutes of Health/National Center for Research Resources; Center of Biological Research Excellence (COBRE).
Direct Costs Funded: $750,000 (2008-2013).
III- Peer Reviewed Publications (2009-2010)
Seelan RS, Lakshmanan J, Casanova MF, Parthasarathy RN. Identification of Myo-Inositol 3-phosphate synthase isoforms: characterization, expression and putative role of a 16 kDa γc isoform. Journal of Biological Chemistry 284: 9443-9457 (2009).
Stagner JI, Seelan RS, Parthasarathy R, & White K. Reduction of ischemic cell death in cultured islets of Langerhans by the induction of cytoglobin. Islets 1: 48-52 (2009).
Seelan RS, Warner DR, Mukhopadhyay P, Greene RM, Pisano MM. Regulation of Sox4 gene expression by DNA methylation during secondary palate development. Birth Defects Research A Clin Mol Teratol 88: 400 (2010).
IV- External professional activities
Ad hoc reviewer - International Journal of Gynecological Cancer, 2009; BMC Systems Biology, 2010.