Dr. Sitaram Harihar

M.Sc., Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor

Dr. Sitaram Harihar obtained his Ph.D. from Utah State University, USA under the guidance of Prof Daryll DeWald.  He was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratories of Prof. Danny Welch at The University of Kansas Medical Center, USA and  Prof. Qi Zeng at the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB), AStar, Singapore.  He joined SRM Institute of Science and Technology as a Research Assistant Professor in mid-2016 with joint appointments in the Department of Genetic Engineering and the SRM Research Institute.



The research in my laboratory spans from genes to in vivo studies with expertise in molecular biology, imaging, biochemistry, cell culture and animal models. We aim to address questions broadly centered on understanding the biology of cancer metastasis. Specifically, we study factors contributing to a tumor cell moving from its site of origin to other distant sites in the body.  Presently, We are involved in identifying and gaining mechanistic insights into a family of genes regulating metastasis called the metastasis suppressor genes. These genes inhibit metastasis without interrupting primary tumour growth. How metastasis suppressor genes work is largely unknown. Therefore, an understanding of their mechanism of action will help develop a more realistic and less aggressive approach to control/treat cancer  instead of relying on therapies that cause drug resistance resulting in more aggressive treatment strategies and concomitant deleterious side effects.

To accomplish this broad objective our focus has centred on studying the mechanism of action of three metastasis suppressor genes  KISS1, BRMS1 and ITIH5 in different cancers.  The major tumor types studied in my lab are melanoma, breast, pancreatic, but we also have  experience in colorectal, prostate and neuroblastoma. We have also ventured into studying ultrastructural and biomechanical properties of cancer cells.                                                                                                                                                                            

Metastatic cascade and metastasis suppressor’s mechanism of action.  Metastasis suppressors arelisted under each step in the metastatic cascade at which they have been experimentally shown to suppress.  (Journal of Molecular Medicine, 2014).

Image showing BRMS1 expression specifically altering the cytoskeletal architecture in MDA-MB-435 cells (Cancer Letters, 2010).




  • Aishwarya P.G



  •  Anindita Menon
  •  Emma Elizabeth
  •  Gopika K
  •  Namitha Jacob
  •  Srijit Ray


  • DeWald DB, Ozaki S, Malaviya S, Shope JC, Manabe K, Crosby L, Neilsen P, Johnston D, Harihar S, and Prestwich GD. Cellular calcium mobilization in response to phosphoinositide delivery. Cell Calcium (2005) 38, 59-72
  • Zhang L, Huang W, Tanimura A, Morita T, Harihar S, DeWald DB, and Prestwich GD. Synthesis and Biological Activity of Metabolically Stabilized Cyclopentyl Trisphosphate Analogues of D-myo-Ins(1,4,5)P(3). ChemMedChem (2007) 10:1281-1289
  • Vaidya KS, Harihar S, Phadke PA, Stafford LJ, Hurst DR, Hicks DG, Casey G, DeWald DB, Welch DR. Breast cancer metastasis suppressor-1 differentially modulates growth factor signaling. J Biol Chem (2008) Oct 17; 283(42):28354-60
  • Wu Y, McEwen GD, Harihar S, Baker SM, DeWald DB, Zhou A. BRMS1 expression alters the ultrastructural, biomechanical and biochemical properties of MDA-MB-435 human breast carcinoma cells: an AFM and Raman Microspectroscopy Study. Cancer letters (2010) Jul 1;293(1):82-91
  • Bohl CR*, Harihar S* Denning WL*, Sharma R and Welch DR. Metastasis suppressors in breast Cancers: mechanistic insights and clinical potential J. Mol Med (2014) Jan;92(1):13-30 * equal contribution
  • Harihar S, Pounds KM, Iwakuma T, Seidah NG and Welch DR. Furin is the major proprotein convertase required for KISS1-to-kisspeptin processing PLoS One. (2014) Jan 13;9(1)
  • Xiao L, Harihar S, Welch DR and Zhou A. Imaging of epidermal growth factor receptor on single breast cancer cells using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy Anal Chim Acta (2014) Sep 16;843:73-82
  • Rangarajan P, Subramaniam D, Paul S, Kwatra D, Palaniyandi K, Islam S, Harihar S, Ramalingam S, Gutheil W, Putty S, Pradhan R, Padhye S, Welch DR, Anant S, Dhar A. Crocetinic acid inhibits hedgehog signaling to inhibit pancreatic cancer stem cells Oncotarget (2015) Sep 29;6(29):27661-73
  • Li Q, Xiao L, Harihar S, Welch DR, Vargis E and Zhou A. In vitro biophysical, microspectroscopic and cytotoxic evaluation of metastatic and non-metastatic cancer cells in responses to anti-cancer drug Analytical methods (2015) Dec, 7(24): 10162-69
  • Kurahara H, Bohl CR, Natsugoe S, Nishizono Y, Harihar S, Sharma R, Iwakuma T and Welch DR. Suppression of Pancreatic Cancer Growth and Metastasis by HMP19 Identified through In Vivo Genom-Wide shRNA Screening Intl Journal of Cancer (2016) Aug 1; 139(3): 628-38
  • Li Q, Tian X, Harihar S, Li Q, Li L, Welch DR and Zhou A. Gd2O3-doped silica @ Au Nanoparticles for In Vitro Imaging Cancer Biomarkers Using Surface-Enhanced Raman scattering Spectrochim Acta A Mol Biomol Spectrosc (2017) June 15; 181: 218-225

B.Tech Courses

  • 15GN302 Animal Cell Culture & Transgenic Technology
  • GN1109 Cell Signaling-Animal
  • GN1012 Enzyme Engineering
  • 15GN307 Stem Cell Biology
  • 15GN211 Ethics & Intellectual Property Rights
  • GN1023 Research Methodology
  • 15GN102L Molecular Techniques Laboratory
  • GN1018 Gene Expression Laboratory
  • 15GN310L Animal Cell Culture Laboratory


Thank you for your interest! For enquires related to B.Tech and M.Tech projects please email me at the address below with a cover letter and CV.

For prospective PhD students, its a big committment both from you and me and this requires that you show enthusiasm and dedication to your career goals. It also requires that I provide you the necessary support (scientific and financial) to pursue your goals.

At present, I am awaiting response to my grant applications. keep looking out for updates!!


Dr.Sitaram Harihar
Research Assistant Professor
Department of Genetic Engineering and Research Institute
SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Kattankulathur- 603203
Kanchipuram District, Tamil Nadu, INDIA