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Pranoti Mandrekar, PhD


By Merin C. MacDonald | Date published: April 19, 2023

April Researcher Spotlight: Pranoti Mandrekar

In this month’s Researcher Spotlight, we highlight the work of Pranoti Mandrekar, PhD, professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and program director of both the Translational Science Program in the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the Summer Research Program at UMass Chan Medical School.  

Dr. Mandrekar’s research focuses on investigating the mechanisms of alcohol-mediated organ damage, liver disease, and the progression to cancer. Specifically, she is dedicated to understanding signaling mechanisms in immune cells, cellular stress, immune and metabolic interactions, and end-organ injury. Her work targets proteostasis pathways including stress-mediated heat-shock proteins and molecular chaperones in liver inflammation and metabolism. She is also interested in the role of proteotoxic cellular responses in liver fibrosis.  

Dr. Mandrekar is the principal investigator on three NIH-funded projects, including two R01s and an R21. Her most recently funded project was a renewal for her R01, "Heat Shock Protein 90 (HSP90) in Alcoholic Liver Disease: Targeting Macrophage Function." This project uncovers HSP90-mediated immune cell mechanisms and fatty liver induction in alcohol-associated liver disease (AALD).  The goal is to understand epigenetic mechanisms and metabolic pathways in immune cells and hepatocytes, both facilitated by HSP90 in AALD, using mouse models and human alcoholic hepatitis patient samples in collaboration with Dr. Deepika Devuni, MD, in the Division of Gastroenterology.  

In addition to her research work, Dr. Mandrekar has dedicated much of her time to the training and mentoring of over fifty undergraduate and graduate students (MD, PhD, and MD/PhD), junior faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and research associates. Of this role, she said, “I strive to provide all learners a safe and inclusive environment while achieving scientific excellence in their outcomes. I believe that diverse viewpoints enrich the educational experience of learners and allow them to reach their full potential creating future scientific leaders.” She has served as director of the Summer Research Program at UMass Chan since 2005, mentoring and training undergraduate students, underrepresented in medicine and has received the 2012 UMass Chan Chancellor’s Award for advancing excellence in diversity. She has also served as director of the Translational Science Program in the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UMass Chan since 2012 and received the 2017 Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Award for Excellence in Curriculum Development. Since 2021, Dr. Mandrekar has served as the co-director of the UMass Chan Junior Faculty Development Program which strives to address the needs of our faculty and provide a nurturing environment for their success. 

Dr. Mandrekar earned her PhD in Cancer Biology with an emphasis on cellular signaling pathways and the development of biomarkers, from the University of Bombay in India. Following her PhD studies, she completed postdoctoral training with a focus on signaling mechanisms related to macrophage activation and pro-inflammatory cytokine production through the Worcester Foundation and at UMass Chan Medicine School in the labs of Dr. Lawrence Dangott and Dr. Gyongyi Szabo, respectively. Dr. Mandrekar joined the faculty at UMass Chan in 1998. 

Dr. Mandrekar’s breadth and depth of research and her commitment to training, mentoring, and nurturing the next generation of scientists and faculty have had a deep impact at UMass Chan. We are grateful for her ongoing contributions to our Department!  

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