Debanjan Dhar

Title(s)Assistant Adjunct Professor, Medicine
SchoolHealth Sciences
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    Collapse Biography 
    Collapse Education and Training
    University of Calcutta, IndiaB.Sc.07/2000Microbiology (Major), Chemistry, Mathematics
    University of Calcutta, IndiaM.Sc07/2002Microbiology
    Saint Louis University School of Medicine , St. Louis, MissouriPh.D.09/2009Molecular Microbiology and Immunology; Cancer Gene Therapy
    University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CaliforniaPostdoctoral Fellowship09/2013Cancer Cell Signaling, Cancer Progenitor cells, Liver Cancer Initiation, NASH
    Collapse Awards and Honors
    University of Calcutta2000Ranked 1st in the Bachelor’s degree exams.
    Govt. of India2000National Merit Scholarship
    CSIR-UGC, Govt. of India 2002Junior Research Fellowship (Respectfully declined)
    University of Calcutta2003Lt. Col. B.N Bose Foreign Travel Scholarship
    St. Louis University School of Medicine2007Graduate School "Distinction"
    St. Louis University School of Medicine2009Graduate Student of the Year
    American Liver Foundation (ALF)2012Charles Trey, MD Memorial Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
    National Childhood Cancer Foundation (CureSearch)2013  - 2015Young Investigator Award
    American Liver Foundation (ALF)2015  - 2018Liver Scholar Award
    American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD)2018Early Career Investigator Award in Basic Science
    ACTRI-UCSD2019  - 2022KL2 Career Development Award

    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse Overview
    Dr. Debanjan Dhar earned Bachelor of Science degree with ‘Honours’ and Master of Science degree from the University of Calcutta, India, where he ranked top in the university. In 2003 he joined the Core Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine where his thesis research focused on Adenovirus mediated cancer gene therapy and the effects of the host immune system on the outcome of host-virus interactions. In 2009 he graduated with distinction and subsequently joined Dr. Michael Karin's group as a postdoctoral fellow at UCSD. His work focused on understanding the basic mechanisms of liver cancer initiation and maintenance with an objective of devising new strategies for cancer therapy. He and his colleagues developed strategies to identify liver cancer progenitor cells long before tumors are visible and identify the deregulated signaling pathways that help the cancer progenitors to progress into fully developed tumors. Additionally, Dr. Dhar elucidated the mechanisms that lead fully differentiated and rarely dividing liver epithelial cells to adopt the phenotype of active proliferating tumor-initiating progenitors.

    Dr. Dhar is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology. Dr. Dhar's research focuses on studying liver related diseases such as Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC), Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) and Liver Fibrosis. HCC is the most common type of liver cancer and the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Furthermore, HCC is the fastest growing cancer in the United States. According to a recent CDC report, death rates from liver cancer increased 43% for American adults from 2000 to 2016 (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db314.htm). Both NASH and HCC have very limited treatment options.

    Research Interests:

    1) Elucidate the signal transduction pathways responsible for liver cancer (HCC) initiation and progression with the ultimate goal of developing novel therapies.

    2) Develop a suitable pre-clinical model for Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), understand the underlying molecular mechanisms of disease pathogenesis and develop novel therapeutic targets and non-invasive biomarkers.

    Collapse Research 
    Collapse Research Activities and Funding
    Elucidating the role of CD44 in DNA damage response, tumor initiation and progression
    NIH/NCATS 1KL2TR001444Aug 1, 2019 - Jul 31, 2022
    Investigate the Changes in Epigenomic Landscape of Hepatic Stellate Cells During NASH Progression.
    Center for Epigenomics, UCSD Transformative Collaborative Pilot ProjectAug 1, 2019 - Jul 31, 2020
    Development and evaluation of Relevant Preclinical Models of NASH
    Janssen Pharmaceuticals Corporate AwardMar 1, 2019 - Jun 30, 2022
    Role: Co-Investigator
    The Mechanistic Role of CD44 in the Initiation and Progression of Fibrosis and HCC
    American Liver Foundation (ALF) Liver Scholar AwardJul 1, 2015 - Jun 30, 2018
    Mechanistic Characterization of Tumor Initiating Cells that Give Rise to HCC
    CureSearch Foundation for Childhood Cancer Young Investigator AwardJul 1, 2013 - Jun 30, 2015

    Collapse ORNG Applications 
    Collapse In The News
    Collapse Faculty Mentoring

    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse Publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help.
    List All   |   Timeline
    1. Dhar D, Baglieri J, Kisseleva T, Brenner DA. Mechanisms of liver fibrosis and its role in liver cancer. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2020 Jan; 245(2):96-108. PMID: 31924111.
      View in: PubMed
    2. Nishio T, Hu R, Koyama Y, Liang S, Rosenthal SB, Yamamoto G, Karin D, Baglieri J, Ma HY, Xu J, Liu X, Dhar D, Iwaisako K, Taura K, Brenner DA, Kisseleva T. Activated hepatic stellate cells and portal fibroblasts contribute to cholestatic liver fibrosis in MDR2 knockout mice. J Hepatol. 2019 Sep; 71(3):573-585. PMID: 31071368.
      View in: PubMed
    3. Liang S, Ma HY, Zhong Z, Dhar D, Liu X, Xu J, Koyama Y, Nishio T, Karin D, Karin G, Mccubbin R, Zhang C, Hu R, Yang G, Chen L, Ganguly S, Lan T, Karin M, Kisseleva T, Brenner DA. NADPH Oxidase 1 in Liver Macrophages Promotes Inflammation and Tumor Development in Mice. Gastroenterology. 2019 03; 156(4):1156-1172.e6. PMID: 30445007.
      View in: PubMed
    4. Kim JY, Garcia-Carbonell R, Yamachika S, Zhao P, Dhar D, Loomba R, Kaufman RJ, Saltiel AR, Karin M. ER Stress Drives Lipogenesis and Steatohepatitis via Caspase-2 Activation of S1P. Cell. 2018 09 20; 175(1):133-145.e15. PMID: 30220454.
      View in: PubMed
    5. Dhar D, Antonucci L, Nakagawa H, Kim JY, Glitzner E, Caruso S, Shalapour S, Yang L, Valasek MA, Lee S, Minnich K, Seki E, Tuckermann J, Sibilia M, Zucman-Rossi J, Karin M. Liver Cancer Initiation Requires p53 Inhibition by CD44-Enhanced Growth Factor Signaling. Cancer Cell. 2018 06 11; 33(6):1061-1077.e6. PMID: 29894692.
      View in: PubMed
    6. Todoric J, Antonucci L, Di Caro G, Li N, Wu X, Lytle NK, Dhar D, Banerjee S, Fagman JB, Browne CD, Umemura A, Valasek MA, Kessler H, Tarin D, Goggins M, Reya T, Diaz-Meco M, Moscat J, Karin M. Stress-Activated NRF2-MDM2 Cascade Controls Neoplastic Progression in Pancreas. Cancer Cell. 2017 Dec 11; 32(6):824-839.e8. PMID: 29153842.
      View in: PubMed
    7. Shalapour S, Lin XJ, Bastian IN, Brain J, Burt AD, Aksenov AA, Vrbanac AF, Li W, Perkins A, Matsutani T, Zhong Z, Dhar D, Navas-Molina JA, Xu J, Loomba R, Downes M, Yu RT, Evans RM, Dorrestein PC, Knight R, Benner C, Anstee QM, Karin M. Inflammation-induced IgA+ cells dismantle anti-liver cancer immunity. Nature. 2017 11 16; 551(7680):340-345. PMID: 29144460.
      View in: PubMed
    8. Hao X, Luo H, Krawczyk M, Wei W, Wang W, Wang J, Flagg K, Hou J, Zhang H, Yi S, Jafari M, Lin D, Chung C, Caughey BA, Li G, Dhar D, Shi W, Zheng L, Hou R, Zhu J, Zhao L, Fu X, Zhang E, Zhang C, Zhu JK, Karin M, Xu RH, Zhang K. DNA methylation markers for diagnosis and prognosis of common cancers. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 07 11; 114(28):7414-7419. PMID: 28652331.
      View in: PubMed
    9. Karin M, Dhar D. Liver carcinogenesis: from naughty chemicals to soothing fat and the surprising role of NRF2. Carcinogenesis. 2016 06; 37(6):541-6. PMID: 27207669.
      View in: PubMed
    10. Shalapour S, Font-Burgada J, Di Caro G, Zhong Z, Sanchez-Lopez E, Dhar D, Willimsky G, Ammirante M, Strasner A, Hansel DE, Jamieson C, Kane CJ, Klatte T, Birner P, Kenner L, Karin M. Immunosuppressive plasma cells impede T-cell-dependent immunogenic chemotherapy. Nature. 2015 May 07; 521(7550):94-8. PMID: 25924065.
      View in: PubMed
    11. Nakagawa H, Umemura A, Taniguchi K, Font-Burgada J, Dhar D, Ogata H, Zhong Z, Valasek MA, Seki E, Hidalgo J, Koike K, Kaufman RJ, Karin M. ER stress cooperates with hypernutrition to trigger TNF-dependent spontaneous HCC development. Cancer Cell. 2014 Sep 08; 26(3):331-343. PMID: 25132496.
      View in: PubMed
    12. Dhar D, Toth K, Wold WS. Cycles of transient high-dose cyclophosphamide administration and intratumoral oncolytic adenovirus vector injection for long-term tumor suppression in Syrian hamsters. Cancer Gene Ther. 2014 Apr; 21(4):171-8. PMID: 24722357.
      View in: PubMed
    13. Dhar D, Seki E, Karin M. NCOA5, IL-6, type 2 diabetes, and HCC: The deadly quartet. Cell Metab. 2014 Jan 07; 19(1):6-7. PMID: 24411937.
      View in: PubMed
    14. Nakagawa H, Hikiba Y, Hirata Y, Font-Burgada J, Sakamoto K, Hayakawa Y, Taniguchi K, Umemura A, Kinoshita H, Sakitani K, Nishikawa Y, Hirano K, Ikenoue T, Ijichi H, Dhar D, Shibata W, Akanuma M, Koike K, Karin M, Maeda S. Loss of liver E-cadherin induces sclerosing cholangitis and promotes carcinogenesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jan 21; 111(3):1090-5. PMID: 24395807.
      View in: PubMed
    15. He G, Dhar D, Nakagawa H, Font-Burgada J, Ogata H, Jiang Y, Shalapour S, Seki E, Yost SE, Jepsen K, Frazer KA, Harismendy O, Hatziapostolou M, Iliopoulos D, Suetsugu A, Hoffman RM, Tateishi R, Koike K, Karin M. Identification of liver cancer progenitors whose malignant progression depends on autocrine IL-6 signaling. Cell. 2013 Oct 10; 155(2):384-96. PMID: 24120137.
      View in: PubMed
    16. Dhar D, Toth K, Wold WS. Syrian hamster tumor model to study oncolytic Ad5-based vectors. Methods Mol Biol. 2012; 797:53-63. PMID: 21948468.
      View in: PubMed
    17. Liu M, Lee DF, Chen CT, Yen CJ, Li LY, Lee HJ, Chang CJ, Chang WC, Hsu JM, Kuo HP, Xia W, Wei Y, Chiu PC, Chou CK, Du Y, Dhar D, Karin M, Chen CH, Hung MC. IKKa activation of NOTCH links tumorigenesis via FOXA2 suppression. Mol Cell. 2012 Jan 27; 45(2):171-84. PMID: 22196886.
      View in: PubMed
    18. Toth K, Dhar D, Wold WS. Oncolytic (replication-competent) adenoviruses as anticancer agents. Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2010 Mar; 10(3):353-68. PMID: 20132057.
      View in: PubMed
    19. Dhar D, Spencer JF, Toth K, Wold WS. Pre-existing immunity and passive immunity to adenovirus 5 prevents toxicity caused by an oncolytic adenovirus vector in the Syrian hamster model. Mol Ther. 2009 Oct; 17(10):1724-32. PMID: 19602998.
      View in: PubMed
    20. Lichtenstein DL, Spencer JF, Doronin K, Patra D, Meyer JM, Shashkova EV, Kuppuswamy M, Dhar D, Thomas MA, Tollefson AE, Zumstein LA, Wold WS, Toth K. An acute toxicology study with INGN 007, an oncolytic adenovirus vector, in mice and permissive Syrian hamsters; comparisons with wild-type Ad5 and a replication-defective adenovirus vector. Cancer Gene Ther. 2009 Aug; 16(8):644-54. PMID: 19197324.
      View in: PubMed
    21. Ying B, Toth K, Spencer JF, Meyer J, Tollefson AE, Patra D, Dhar D, Shashkova EV, Kuppuswamy M, Doronin K, Thomas MA, Zumstein LA, Wold WS, Lichtenstein DL. INGN 007, an oncolytic adenovirus vector, replicates in Syrian hamsters but not mice: comparison of biodistribution studies. Cancer Gene Ther. 2009 Aug; 16(8):625-37. PMID: 19197322.
      View in: PubMed
    22. Dhar D, Spencer JF, Toth K, Wold WS. Effect of preexisting immunity on oncolytic adenovirus vector INGN 007 antitumor efficacy in immunocompetent and immunosuppressed Syrian hamsters. J Virol. 2009 Mar; 83(5):2130-9. PMID: 19073718.
      View in: PubMed
    23. Toth K, Spencer JF, Dhar D, Sagartz JE, Buller RM, Painter GR, Wold WS. Hexadecyloxypropyl-cidofovir, CMX001, prevents adenovirus-induced mortality in a permissive, immunosuppressed animal model. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 May 20; 105(20):7293-7. PMID: 18490659.
      View in: PubMed
    24. Thomas MA, Spencer JF, La Regina MC, Dhar D, Tollefson AE, Toth K, Wold WS. Syrian hamster as a permissive immunocompetent animal model for the study of oncolytic adenovirus vectors. Cancer Res. 2006 Feb 01; 66(3):1270-6. PMID: 16452178.
      View in: PubMed