Sivaraman Natarajan, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Associate

Conducts research focused on determining the role of the Hippo signaling pathway and Notch1 during cortex and cerebellar development.

I am interested in studying the signaling pathway and its regulation in brain tumors. As a postdoctoral associate in the Kyuson lab, my research focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms, signaling pathways and role of cancer stem cells in brain cancers such as medulloblastoma and glioblastoma. Currently my research is focused on determining the role of the Hippo pathway and Notch1 during cortex and cerebellar development. Activation of the Notch pathway has been observed in many human cancers, but the role of Notch1 was unknown. Interestingly, we found that Notch1 induces medulloblastoma in a p53-dependent manner. We discovered the oncogenic role of Notch1 in a mouse model of medulloblastoma. Our lab recently showed that Notch1 directly activates a transcriptional effector of the Hippo pathway, namely Yap1, in neural stem cells in vivo (Li et al., 2012), linking the two important signaling pathways in stem cells in the brain. Yap1 functions as a major downstream effector of the Hippo pathway. The Yap gene locus is known to be amplified in human cancers, including oral squamous cell carcinomas and medulloblastoma. Using various mouse models of medulloblastoma and conditional knockout, I am trying to decipher the function of Yap1 in brain development and medulloblastomas.

Grants, awards and accomplishments

2011 - Best Poster Prize award for the poster titled “Synaptic Ribbons and Ca2+ Binding Proteins” at International Joint meeting 2011 Calcium signaling: Molecular Mechanism and Integrative Functions, October 27-28th 2011, Homburg, Germany. 

2011 - “Calogero- Pagliarello- Student Prize 2011” Award for my thesis titled “A Bipolar Cell Culture of the Mouse Retina to Study Ribbon Synapse “ , University of Saarland, Germany. 

2006 - Ph.D Scholarship – International Graduate School Programme 2006 “ Ca 2+ signaling and Cellular nanodomain”, School of Medicine, University of Saarland, Germany. 

Selected for “Earn while learn programme” Center for Excellence in Genomic Sciences, School of Biological Science, Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai.