Parameswaran Ramakrishnan, PhD, MS

Associate Professor
Department of Pathology
School of Medicine
Assistant Professor
Department of Biochemistry
School of Medicine
Immune Oncology Program
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
School of Medicine


Early Education

Parameswaran Ramakrishnan obtained his BSc in 1993 and MSc in Biotechnology in 1996 from Mahatma Gandhi University, India. Later, he worked in an Indo-Swiss collaborative project studying the genome diversity in Mycobacterium leprae in the Department of Biotechnology, Madurai Kamaraj University, India, until the end of 1999.

PhD and Postdoc in Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

In December 1999, he joined Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, for his research toward
PhD under the guidance of Prof. David Wallach. He studied signal transduction in the immune system with a focus on mechanisms involved in the regulation and function of the protein NF-κB inducing kinase and obtained PhD in 2006. He continued in the same lab as a postdoctoral fellow and studied ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of molecules in the NF-κB signaling pathway till the end of 2007. He also obtained 9 international patents on various inventions that emerged from his graduate and postdoctoral work at Weizmann
Institute of Science.

Postdoc in California Institute of Technology, United States

In January 2008, Dr. Ramakrishnan joined the lab of Nobel Laureate Prof. David Baltimore in the Department of Biology at California Institute of Technology. While in Baltimore lab, Dr. Ramakrishnan studied the regulation of NF-κB activation and T cell survival by glucose and identified the role of unique intracellular glycosylation called O-GlcNAcylation in NF-kB activation in T cells. He also discovered the role of the RNA-binding protein, Sam68, as an adaptor in proinflammatory signaling by TNF. Both of these findings are patented and are
active areas of current investigation. Dr. Ramakrishnan joined Case Western Reserve University's Department of Pathology as an Assistant Professor in Immunology in July 2013.

Research Information

Research Projects

Dr. Ramakrishnan's lab focuses on signal transduction in autoimmunity and inflammation as well as immunometabolism. Studies involve cellular and molecular approaches, animal models and patient samples as well as collaborations with chemists aimed at drug discovery. Diseases of research interest are:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases and Inflammation-induced colon cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Skin inflammation

NF-κB is known to be a family of dimeric transcription factor that act as a key regulator of the immune and inflammatory responses. Because inflammation has been linked to so many diseases in recent times, there is much interest in the role of NF-κB in chronic inflammatory diseases, cancer and autoimmune conditions like diabetes.

Regulation of NF-κB activity by O-GlcNAc glycosylation and its role in diabetes and cancer Significance: NF-κB is a preformed protein and its activation is dependent on posttranslational regulations. O-GlcNAcylation is a reversible intracellular protein modification whose levels are affected by glucose and other signals. Both O-GlcNAcylation and NF-κB activation has been associated in several physiological and pathological conditions including experimental and clinical diabetes, and multiple types of cancer, yet a direct link between NF-κB and O-GlcNAcylation remains poorly defined. Cancer cells consume high glucose and exhibit constitutively elevated O-GlcNAcylation.

This project will identify O-GlcNAcylated NF-κB proteins, the site(s) of modification and study this
process both structurally and functionally, under physiological and pathological conditions. Studies will also include generation of transgenic and knockout mouse models to determine the in vivo role of OGlcNAcylation of NF-κB in type 1 diabetes and acute myeloid leukemia

Role of Sam68 in chronic inflammatory diseases and inflammation-induced cancer Significance: We discovered that Sam68 plays crucial role in innate immune and apoptotic signaling by TNF and TLR. These findings link Sam68 function in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases as well as inflammation-induced cancer. We also found that Sam68 is a critical mediator of ulcerative colitis.

This project aims to understand the molecular determinants of Sam68 function and its role in inflammatory signaling and cancer. The study will also delineate the physiological role of Sam68 in vivo in the immune system and elucidate its RNA binding independent functions.

External Appointments

Faculty, Molecular Medicine PhD Program
Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic


View All Publications

Liu A, Sarkar S,  Cress J, de Jesus TJ, Vadlakonda A, Centore J, Griffith A, Rohr B, McCormick TS, Cooper KD, Ramakrishnan P (2024). NF-kB c-Rel is a Critical Regulator of TLR7-induced Skin Inflammation. in revision eBiomedicine Lancet Discovery Science Journal.

Ramakrishnan P, (2024)- O-GlcNAcylation and immune cell signaling: A review of known and a preview of unknown. Invited review,  J Biol Chem. 2024 May 6:107349. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2024.107349.  PMID: 38718861

Schauner R*, Cress J*, Hong C, Wald DN#, Ramakrishnan P# (2024). Deciphering the role of the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway in acute myeloid leukemia using single cell RNA sequencing, Frontiers in Immunology, Mar 27;15:1327405. 2024 | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2024.1327405. PMID:38601153, #Co-corresponding Author

Gowd V, Kass JD, Sarkar N, Ramakrishnan P. Role of Sam68 as an adaptor protein in inflammatory signaling. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences. 2024 Feb 14;81(1):89. doi: 10.1007/s00018-023-05108-9. PMID: 38351330; PMCID: PMC10864426.

Liu AR, Basavarajappa SC, Sarkar N, Bruchez A, Ramakrishnan P. Inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 infection in cellular systems using engineered trimeric receptor-binding domain of spike protein. STAR Protocols. 2023 Mar 17;4(1):102127. doi: 10.1016/j.xpro.2023.102127. Epub 2023 Feb 10. PMID: 36853707; PMCID: PMC9915046.

Basavarajappa S, Liu A, Bruchez A, Li Z, Suzart VG, Liu Z, Chen Y, Xiao TS, Buck B, Ramakrishnan P (2022). Trimeric receptor-binding domain of SARS-CoV-2 acts as a potent inhibitor of ACE2 receptor-mediated viral entry. iScience, Volume 25, Issue 8, 19 August 2022, 104716, PMID: 35813876, PMCID: PMC9251894.

Feinberg D, Ramakrishnan P, Wong DP, Asthana A, Parameswaran R. Inhibition of O-GlcNAcylation Decreases the Cytotoxic Function of Natural Killer Cells. Frontiers in Immunology. 2022 Apr 11;13:841299. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2022.841299. PMID: 35479087; PMCID: PMC9036377.

Centore J, Church D, Prossnitz A, Hutnick M, de Jesus TJ, Pokorski J, Ramakrishnan P (2021). Selective inhibition of O-GlcNAcylated NFkappaB c-Rel-dependent transcription by a structure-based de novo designed peptoid. In revision.

Goodman WA, Basavarajappa SC, Liu AR, Staback FD, Mathes T, Ramakrishnan P (2021). Sam68 contributes to intestinal inflammation in experimental and human colitis. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 2021, Oct 9. PMID: 34693458

Liu AR and Ramakrishnan P (2021) Regulation of NF-kappaB Function by O-GlcNAcylation in Inflammation and Cancer. Invited Review. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, 2021 Sep 23, DOI: 10.3389/fcell.2021.751761

Vicioso Y, Zhang K, Ramakrishnan P, Parameswaran R (2021). NF-kB c-Rel is dispensable for the development but is required for the cytotoxic function of NK cells. Frontiers in Immunology. 29 April, doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.652786. PMID 33995369.

Zhang L, Ghosh SK, Basavarajappa SC, Muller-Greven J, Penfield J, Brewer A, Ramakrishnan P, Buck M and Weinberg A. Molecular dynamics simulations and functional studies reveal that hBD-2 binds SARS-CoV-2 spike RBD and blocks viral entry into ACE2 expressing cells. bioRxiv. (2021) Jan 7:2021.01.07.425621. doi: 10.1101/2021.01.07.425621. PMID: 33442698. PMCID: PMC7805467. Submitted. Co-corresponding author, in revision, iScience. 

Chukwurah E, Farabaugh KT, Guan BJ, Ramakrishnan P*, Hatzoglou M*. A tale of two proteins: PACT and PKR and their roles in inflammation. FEBS J (2021). Jan 2. Doi:10.1111/febs.15691. PMID: 33387379. *Cocorresponding author.

de Jesus TJ*, Tomalka JA*, Centore TJ*, Staback Rodriguez F, Agarwal R, Liu AR, Kern TS, and Ramakrishnan P (2021). Negative Regulation of FOXP3 Expression by c-Rel O-GlcNAcylation. Glycobiology. 2021 Jan 12: cwab001. doi: 10.1093/glycob/cwab001. PMID: 33442719

Farabaugh KT, Krokowski D, Guan BJ, Gao Z, Gao XH, Wu J, Jobava R, Ray G, de Jesùs TJ, Bianchi MG, Chukwurah E, Bussolati O, Kilberg M, Buchner DA, Sen GC, Cotton C, McDonald C, Longworth M, Ramakrishnan P*, Hatzoglou M (2020).  PACT-mediated PKR activation acts as a hyperosmotic stress intensity sensor weakening osmoadaptation and enhancing inflammation. Elife. 2020 Mar 16;9. pii: e52241. doi: 10.7554/eLife.52241. PMID: 32175843; PMCID: PMC7145421.  *Co-corresponding author

Basavarajappa SC, Ramakrishnan P (2020). Regulation of B-cell function by NF-kappaB c-Rel in health and disease.  Cell Mol Life Sci.  2020 Mar 4. doi: 10.1007/s00018-020-03488-w.  [Epub ahead of print] Review.  PMID: 32130429

de Jesùs TJ, Ramakrishnan P (2020). NF-kB c-Rel dictates the inflammatory threshold by acting as a transcriptional repressor. iScience.  2020 Mar 27;23(3):100876. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2020.100876. Epub 2020 Feb 1.  PMID: 32062419; PMCID: PMC7031323

de Jesùs TJ , Centore JT, Ramakrishnan P (2019). Differential regulation of basal expression of inflammatory genes by NF-κB family subunits.  Cell Mol Immunol. 2019 Aug;16(8):720-723. doi: 10.1038/s41423-019-0242-0. Epub 2019 May 29.  PMID:31142799;  PMCID: PMC6804592

Asthana A, Ramakrishnan P, Vicioso Y, Zhang K, Parameswaran R (2018). Hexosamine biosynthetic pathway inhibition leads to AML cell differentiation and cell death.  Mol Cancer Ther. 2018 Oct;17(10):2226-2237. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-18-0426. Epub 2018 Aug 6.  PMID: 30082471; PMCID: PMC6168390

de Jesùs T, Shukla S, Ramakrishnan P (2018). Too sweet to resist: Control of immune cell function by O-GlcNAcylation. Cell Immunol.  2018 Nov;333:85-92. doi: 10.1016/j.cellimm.2018.05.010. Epub 2018 Jun 2. Review.  PMID: 29887419; PMCID: PMC6275141. 

Farabaugh KT, Majumder M, Guan BJ, Jobava R, Wu J, Krokowski D, Gao XH, Schuster A, Longworth M, Chan ED, Bianchi M, Dey M, Koromilas AE, Ramakrishnan P*, Hatzoglou M  (2017). Protein kinase R mediates the inflammatory response induced by hyperosmotic stress.  Mol Cell Biol. 2017 Feb 1;37(4). pii: e00521-16. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00521-16. Print 2017 Feb 15.  PMID: 27920257; PMCID: PMC5288580.  *Co-corresponding author

Tomalka J, de Jesùs TJ, Ramakrishnan P*. (2016). Sam68 is a Regulator of Toll Like Receptor Signaling. Cell Mol Immunol. Cell Mol Immunol. 2017 Jan;14(1):107-117. doi: 10.1038/cmi.2016.32. Epub 2016 Jul 4. PMID: 27374795.

Ramakrishnan P*, Yui M, Tomalka J, Majumdar D, Parameswara R, Baltimore D (2016). Deficiency of NF-kappaB c-Rel accelerates the development of autoimmune diabetes in non obese diabetic mice. Diabetes. 2016 Aug;65(8):2367-79. doi: 10.2337/db15-1607. Epub 2016 May 23. PMID: 27217485.  *Co-corresponding author.

Parameswaran R, Ramakrishnan P, De Lima M, Lee DA, Moreton S and Wald DN. Repression of GSK3 restores NK cell cytotoxicity in AML patients. Nature Communications. Nat Commun. 2016 Apr 4;7:11154. doi: 10.1038/ncomms11154, PMID: 27040177; PMCID: PMC4822012

de Jesùs TJ and Ramakrishnan P* (2015). Sugar-Coating the Skin. Austin Journal of Clinical Pathology. 2015 Nov; 2(3): 1035.

So AY, Chaudhuri A, Sookram R, Minisandram A, Cheng D, Xie C, Lim L, Garcia Flores Y, Jiang S, Keown C, Ramakrishnan P, Baltimore D (2014). Dual mechanisms by which mir-125b represses IRF4 to cause myeloid and B-cell Leukemia. Blood. 2014 Aug 28;124(9):1502-12. doi: 10.1182/blood-2014-02-553842. Epub 2014 Jul 8.  PMID: 25006123; PMCID: PMC4148772 

Ramakrishnan P, Clark PM, Mason DE, Peters ED, Hsieh-Wilson LC and Baltimore D (2013). Activation of the Transcriptional Function of the NF-κB Protein c-Rel by O-GlcNAc Glycosylation. Science Signaling, August 27. Vol 6 Issue 290 ra75.

Yang L, Boldi MP, Yu Y, Liu CS, Ea CK, Ramakrishnan P, Taganov KD, Zhao JL and Baltimore D (2012). miR-146a control of the resolution of T cell responses in mice. J Exp Med. Aug 27;209(9):1655-70.

Raskatov JA, Meier JL, Puckett JW, Yang F, Ramakrishnan P, and Dervan PB (2012). Modulation of NF-κB Dependent Gene Transcription Using Programmable DNA Minor Groove Binders. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Jan 24;109(4):1023-8.

Ramakrishnan P, Baltimore D (2011). Sam68 is Required for both NF-κB Activation and Apoptosis Signaling by the TNF receptor. Molecular Cell, Jul 22;43(2):167-79.

Ramakrishnan P, Kahn D, Baltimore D (2011). Anti-apoptotic effect of hyperglycemia can allow survival of potentially autoreactive T cells. Cell Death and Differentiation, April;18(4):690-9.

Citri A, Harari D, Shohat G, Ramakrishnan P, Gan J, Lavi S, Eisenstein M, Kimchi A, Wallach D, Pietrokovski S, Yarden Y (2006). Hsp90 recognizes a common surface on client kinases. J Biol Chem. May 19;281(20):14361-9.

Sanchez-Valdepenas C, Martin AG, Ramakrishnan P, Wallach D, Fresno M (2006). NF-κB-inducing kinase is involved in the activation of the CD28 responsive element through phosphorylation of c-Rel and regulation of its transactivating activity. J Immunol. Apr 15;176(8):4666-74.

Hauer J, Puschner S, Ramakrishnan P, Simon U, Bongers M, Federle C, Engelmann H (2005). TNF receptor (TNFR)-associated factor (TRAF) 3 serves as an inhibitor of TRAF2/5-mediated activation of the noncanonical NF-κB pathway by TRAF-binding TNFRs. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 102, 2874-2879.

Ramakrishnan P, Wang W, Wallach D (2004). Receptor-specific signaling for both the alternative and the canonical NF-κB activation pathways by NF-κB-inducing kinase. Immunity 21, 477-489.

Kang TB, Ben-Moshe T, Varfolomeev EE, Pewzner-Jung Y, Yogev N, Jurewicz A, Waisman A, Brenner O, Haffner R, Gustafsson E, Ramakrishnan P, Lapidot T, Wallach D (2004). Caspase-8 serves both apoptotic and nonapoptotic roles. J Immunol 173, 2976-2984.