Santhi Gorantla, PhD

Assistant Professor
Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience
University of Nebraska Medical Center
985880, Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha NE 68198-5880
Phone: 402-559-8574
Fax: 402-559-3744
Email: sgorantla@unmc.edu

Research Interests

Our laboratory has been involved in developing small animal models (rodent) for HIV research. The specificity of HIV-1 for human cells precludes virus infection in most mammalian species and limits the utility of small animal models for the studies of disease pathogenesis, therapy, and vaccine development. To this end, a humanized mouse with long-term reconstitution of human functional lymphoid tissues was recently achieved by transplanting human hematopoietic stem cells into immunodeficient mice.

My research interests are to utilize the humanized mouse model to study

  1. the efficacy of HIV vaccine candidates to induce protective immune responses,
  2. immune-based therapeutics to enhance HIV immune response,
  3. novel therapies based on HIV cell entry.

Critical evaluation of these various therapeutic approaches for the prevention of HIV infection is essential. Humanized mouse model offers a unique environment to test these approaches and provide a proof-of concept for human use.


Selected Recent Publications

  • Gorantla, S., Liu, J.,Wang, T.,Holguin, A., Sneller, H., Dou, H., Kipnis, J., Poluektova, L., Gendelman, H.E.Modulation of innate immunity by copolymer-1 leads to neuroprotection in murine HIV-1 encephalitis. Glia. 2008 Jan 15;56(2):223-32.
    Gorantla, S., Liu, J.,Sneller, H., Dou, H., Ikezu, T., Holguin, A., Poluektova, L., Gendelman, H.E. Copolymer -1 immunization modulates glial function and protects neurons in a murine model of HIV-1 encephalitis. J.Immunology. 2007 Oct; 179(7):4345-56.
    Gorantla, S., Sneller, H., Walters, L., Sharp, G., Pirruccello, S.J., West, J., Wood, C., Dewhurst, S., Gendelman, H.E., Poluektova, L. Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 pathobiology studied in humanized BALB/c -Rag2-/- {gamma}c-/- mice. J. Virology. 2007 Mar;81(6):2700-12.

  • Haorah, J., Knipe, B., Gorantla, S., Zheng, J. and Persidsky, Y. Alcohol-induced blood-brain barrier dysfunction is mediated via inositol 1,4,5-  triphosphate receptor (IP3R)-gated intracellular calcium release. J. Neurochem. 2007 Jan;100(2):324-36.

  • Peng, H., Erdmann, N., Whitney, N., Dou, H., Gorantla, S., Gendelman, H.E., Ghorpade, A., Zheng, J. HIV-1-infected and/or immune activated macrophages regulate astrocyte SDF-1 production through IL-1beta. Glia. 2006 Nov;54(6):619-29.
    Gorantla, S., Dou, H., Boska, M., Distache, C.,  Nelson, J., Rabinow, B., Gendelman, H.E. and Mosley, R.L. Quantitative magnetic resonance and SPECT imaging for macrophage tissue migration and nanoformulated drug delivery. J. Leukocyte Biology. 2006 Nov;80(5):1165-74.

  • Dou, H., Destache, C., Morehead, J., Mosley, R.L., Boska, M., Kingsley, J., Gorantla, S., Poluektova, L., Nelson, J., Chaubal, M., Werling, J., Kipp, J., Rabinow, B., and Gendelman, H.E. Development of a macrophage-based nanoparticle platform for antiretroviral drug delivery. Blood. 2006 Oct;108(8):2827-35.

  • Dou, H., Morehead, M., Bradley, J., Gorantla, S., Ellison, B., Kingsley, J., Chao, W., Bentsman, G., Volsky, D.J., and Gendelman, H.E. Neuropathologic and neuroinflammatory responses of HIV-1 infected human astrocytes in murine brain. Glia. 2006 Aug;54(2):81-93.

  • Gorantla, S., Santos, K., Meyer, V., Dewhurst, S., Bowers, W.J., Federoff, H.J., Gendelman, H.E., Poluektova, L. Human dendritic cells transduced with Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) amplicons encoding HIV-1gp120 elicit adaptive immune responses from human cells engrafted into NOD/SCID mice and confer partial protection against HIV-1 challenge. J. Virology. 2005 Feb;79(4):2124-32.

  • Benner, E., Mosley, R. L., Destache, C.J., Lewis, T.B., Jackson-Lewis, V., Gorantla, S., Nemachek, C., Green, S.R., Przedborski, S., and Gendelman, H.E. Therapeutic Immunization Protects Dopaminergic Neurons in a Mouse Model of Parkinson’s Disease. Proc, Natl. Acad. Sci., USA 2004 Jun;101(25):9435-40.

  • Poluektova, L., Gorantla, S., Faraci, J., Birusingh, K., Gendelman, H.E. Neuroregulaotry events follow adaptive immune-mediated elmination of HIV-1-infected macrophages;  studies in a murine model of viral encephalitis. J. Immunology. 2004 Jun;172(12):7610-17.

  • Dou, H., Birusingh, K., Faraci, J., Gorantla, S., Poluektova, L., Maggirwar, S. B., Dewhurst, S., Gelbard, H., and Gendelman, H.E. Neuroprotective Activities of Sodium Valproate in a Murine Model of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 Encelphalitis.  J. Neurosci. 2003 Oct;23(27):9162-70.


Education

1982-1985
BS (Zoology, Physics, Chemistry) - Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati, India.

1985-1987
MS (Biochemistry) - Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati, India.

1987-1994
Ph.D. (Immunology) - Central University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India.



Professional Positions

2008-present
Assisitant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska. “Humanized mouse model for HIV pathogenesis, vaccine research and immune based therapies for HIV encephalopathy”.

2006-2008
Instructor in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska. “Humanized mouse model for HIV pathogenesis, vaccine research and immune based therapies for HIV encephalopathy”.

2005-2006 
Research Associate in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska. “Testing small animal models in HIV vaccine research and Immune based therapies for HIV encephalopathy”.

2002-2005
Postdoctoral fellow on “Testing small animal model in HIV vaccine research and HIV encephalopathy”, at Center for Neurovirology and Neurodegenerative Diseases, Department of Pathology and Microbiology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska.
Mentor: Dr. H.E. Gendelman, M.D.

2003-2004
Postdoctoral fellow on NINDS “Training Program in Neurovirology.” Mentor: Dr. H.E. Gendelman, M.D.

1997-1999
Postdoctoral fellow on “Gene therapy for AIDS using pseudotyped retroviral vectors in SCID-hu mouse model”, in Department of Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.
Mentor: Dr. Ramesh Akkina, M.V.Sc., Ph.D.

Honors and Awards

1985
Best outgoing student in BS.

1987
Top Distinction in MS.

1987-1992
Council of Industrial and Scientific Research (CSIR- New Delhi) Fellowship during Ph.D.

2003-2004
NIH Training grant in Program in Neurovirology during Postdoctoral fellowship.

2005
Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience Department Annual Performance Award.

2005
Received travel award to attend 11thSociety on Neuroimmune Pharmacology Meeting.

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