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Yon Rojanasakul, Ph.D.

Robert C. Byrd Distinguished Professor

Benedum Distinguished Professor

Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences
West Virginia University
P.O. Box 9530
Morgantown, WV 26506-9530

Phone: (304)293.1476
Fax: (304)293.2576
E-Mail: yrojan@hsc.wvu.edu
Link to CV
Yon Rojanasakul, PhD.


Yon Rojanasakul, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at West Virginia University. Dr. Rojanasakul’s research focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of cancer and fibroproliferative disorders. His research has led to the discovery of key molecular targets and signaling pathways involved in cancer cell death and chemoresistance. The overall goal of his research is to develop more effective strategies for the treatment and diagnosis of cancer. Another important area of Rojanasakul’s research involves nanotechnology with an emphasis on the health effects of engineered nanoparticles. His research develops exposure models and assay methods for nanosafety evaluation, identifies key properties of nanomaterials influencing their bioactivities, and elucidates the cellular and molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis. Dr. Rojanasakul is Principal Investigator of several NIH-funded projects. He is Robert C. Byrd Professor and Benedum Distinguished Scholar at the West Virginia University. He is also a Fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists and Program Leader of the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center.


Ph.D. (Pharmaceutical Sciences) University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1989
M.S. (Pharmaceutics) Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, 1984
B.S. (Pharmacy) Mahidol University, 1982

Research Interests:

Carcinogenesis and Cancer Treatment
Nanosafety and Nanomedicine
Free Radical Biology
Molecular Pharmacology

Professional Experience:

Professor, West Virginia University, 2000-
Allen Lung Cancer Program Leader, Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, 2012-
Acting Chair, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2009
Integrated Research Team Leader, WV NanoSAFE, 2010-
Visiting Professor, Burnham Institute, 2002
Associate Professor, West Virginia University, 1994-2000
Guest Scientist, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1998-
Visiting Scientist, University of Pittsburgh, 1997
Assistant Professor, West Virginia University, 1989-1994

Recent/Current Grants:

Cancer Stem Cells and Nanomaterial Carcinogenicity (NIH R01-ES022968)
Carbon Nanotube-Induced Fibrosis (NIH R01-HL095579)
Mechanisms of Death Receptor-Mediated Apoptosis (NIH R01-HL076340)
Bionanotechnology and Public Safety (NSF EPS-1003907)
IDeA Network of Research Excellence (NIH P200RR01677)

Recent Publications:

Luanpitpong S, Wang L, Manke A, Castranova V, Yang Y, Martin K, Ammer A, and Rojanasakul Y. Induction of stem-like cells with fibrogenic properties by carbon nanotubes and Its role in fibrogenesis. Nano Lett. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/nl5002026, 2014.
Talbott SJ, Luanpitpong S, Stehlik C, Wang L, Azad N, Iyer AKV, and Rojanasakul Y. S-nitrosylation of FLICE inhibitory protein determines its interaction with RIP-1 and activation of NF-κB. Cell Cycle 13: 1948-1957, 2014.
Pongrakhannon V, Stueckle TA, Wang HY, O’Doherty GA, Dinu CZ, Chanvorachote P, and Rojanasakul Y. Monosaccharide digitoxin derivatives sensitize human non-small cell lung cancer cells to anoikis through Mcl-1 proteasomal degradation. Biochem Pharmacol. 88:23-35, 2014.
Luanpitpong S, Wang L, Castranova V, and Rojanasakul Y. Induction of stem-like cells with malignant properties by chronic exposure of human lung epithelial cells to single-walled carbon nanotubes. Part Fibre Toxicol. doi: 10.1186/1743-8977-11-22. 2014.
Luanpitpong S, Wang L, Stueckle TA, Tse W, Chen YC, and Rojanasakul Y. Caveolin-1 regulates lung cancer stem-like cell induction and p53 inactivation in carbon nanotube-driven tumorigenesis. OncoTarget 5:3541-3554, 2014.
Wang L, Stueckle TA, Mishra A, Derk R, Meighan T, Castranova V, and Rojanasakul Y. Neoplastic-like transformation effect of single-walled and multi-walled carbon nanotubes compared to asbestos on human lung small airway epithelial cells. Nanotoxicol. 8:485-507, 2014.
Lohcharoenkal W, Wang L, Stueckle TA, Park J, William Tse W, Dinu CZ, and Rojanasakul Y. Role of H-Ras/ERK signaling in carbon nanotube-induced neoplastic transformation of human mesothelial cells. Front Physiol. doi:10.3389/fphys.2014.00222. 2014.
Manke A, Luanpitpong S, Dong C, Wang L, He X, Batteli L, Derk R, Stueckle T, Porter D, Sager T, Gou H, Dinu CZ, Wu N, Mercer R, and Rojanasakul Y. Effect of fiber length on carbon nanotube-induced fibrogenesis. Int J Mol Sci. 15:7444-7461, 2014.
Lohcharoenkal W, Liu Y, Wang L, Yang Y, and Rojanasakul Y. Luciferase reporter cells as a platform to detect SMAD-1 dependent collagen production. J Biosci Bioeng. doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiosc.2014.05.021. 2014.
Luanpitpong S, Wang L, and Rojanasakul Y. The effects of carbon nanotubes on lung and dermal cellular behaviors. Nanomedicine 9:895-912, 2014.
Lohcharoenkal W, Wang L, Chen YC, and Rojanasakul Y. Protein nanoparticles as drug delivery carriers for cancer therapy. BioMed Res Int. doi:10.1155/2014/180549. 2014.
Lohcharoenkal W, Wang L, Stueckle T, Dinu CZ, Castranova V, Liu Y, and Rojanasakul Y. Chronic exposure to carbon nanotubes induces invasion of human mesothelial cells through matrix metalloproteinase-2. ACS Nano 7:7711-7723, 2013.
Luanpitpong S, Chanvorachote P, Stehlik C, Tse W, Callery PS, Wang L, and Rojanasakul Y. Regulation of apoptosis by Bcl-2 cysteine oxidation in human lung epithelial cells. Mol Biol Cell. 24:858-869, 2013.
Azad N, Iyer AKV, Wang L, Liu Y, Lu Y, and Rojanasakul Y. Reactive oxygen species mediated p38 MAPK regulates carbon nanotube-induced fibrogenic and angiogenic responses. Nanotoxicol. 7:157-168, 2013.
Luanpitpong S, Chanvorachote P, Nimmannit U, Leonard SS, Stehlik C, Wang L, and Rojanasakul Y. Mitochondrial superoxide mediates doxorubicin-induced keratinocyte apoptosis through oxidative modification of ERK and Bcl-2 ubiquitination. Biochem Pharmacol. 83:1643-1654, 2012.
Luanpitpong S, Iyer AKV, Azad N, Wang L, and Rojanasakul Y. Nitrosothiol signaling in anoikis resistance and cancer metastasis. Forum Immunopathol Dis Therapeu. 3:141-154, 2012.
Medan D, Luanpitpong S, Azad N, Wang L, Lu Y, Davis ME, Jiang BH, Barnett JB, Guo L, and Rojanasakul Y. Multifunctional role of Bcl-2 in malignant transformation and tumorigenesis of Cr(VI)-transformed lung cells. PLoS One 7(5):e37045, 2012.
Stueckle TA, Lu Y, Davis ME, Wang L, Jiang BH, Holaskova I, Schafer R, Barnett JB, and Rojanasakul Y. Chronic arsenic exposure induces carcinogenic gene signaling networks and neoplastic transformation in lung epithelial cells. Toxicol App Pharmacol. 261:204-216, 2012.
Khare S, Dorfleutner A, Bryan NB, Yun C, Radian AD, de Almeida L, Rojanasakul Y, and Stehlik C. An NLRP7-containing inflammasome mediates recognition of microbial lipopeptides in human macrophages. Immunity 36:464-476, 2012.
Chunhacha P, Pongrakhananon V, Rojanasakul Y, and Chanvorachote P. Caveolin-1 regulates Mcl-1 stability and anoikis in lung carcinoma cells. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 302:C1284-1292, 2012.
Elbaz HA, Stueckle TA, Wang HY, O'Doherty GA, Lowry DT, Sargent LM, Wang L, Dinu CZ, and Rojanasakul Y. Digitoxin and a synthetic monosaccharide analog inhibit cell viability in lung cancer cells. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 258:51-60, 2012.
Kaushal N, Elliott M, Robson MJ, Iyer AK, Rojanasakul Y, Coop A, and Matsumoto RR. AC927, a sigma ligand, blocks methamphetamine-induced release of dopamine and generation of reactive oxygen species in NG108-15 cells. Mol Pharmacol. 81:299-308, 2012.
Rungtabnapa P, Nimmannit U, Halim H, Rojanasakul Y, and Chanvorachote P. Hydrogen peroxide inhibits non-small cell lung cancer cell anoikis through the inhibition of caveolin-1 degradation. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 300:C235-245, 2011.
Iyer AKV, Azad N, Talbott S, Stehlik C, Lu B, Wang L, and Rojanasakul Y. Antioxidant c-FLIP inhibits Fas ligand-induced NF-κB activation in a PI3K/AKT-dependent manner. J Immunol. 187:3256-3266, 2011.
Wang L, Luanpitpong S, Castranova V, Tse W, Lu Y, Pongrakhananon V, and Rojanasakul Y. Carbon nanotubes induce malignant transformation and tumorigenesis of human lung epithelial cells. Nano Lett. 11:2796-2803, 2011.



Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
Pharmaceutical Calculations
Drug Discovery and Development
Advanced Pharmacology
Cancer Cell Biology