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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 Basic 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 studies, identifies key properties of nanomaterials influencing their biological activities, and elucidates the cellular and molecular mechanisms. Dr. Rojanasakul is Principal Investigator of several NIH-funded projects. He is Robert C. Byrd Professor and Benedum Distinguished Scholar at West Virginia University. He is also a Fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.


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 Chemoresistance
Nanosafety and Nanomedicine
Free Radical Biology
Molecular Therapeutics

Professional Experience:

Professor, West Virginia University, 2000-
Acting Chair, Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2009
Faculty Member, WVNano Initiative, 2009-
Faculty Member, Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, 2005-
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:

Mechanisms of Death Receptor-Mediated Apoptosis (NIH)
Carbon Nanotube-Induced Fibrosis (NIH)
Nanotechnology and Biomimetics (NSF)
Carcinogenesis and Fibrogenesis Mechanisms (NIH/NORA)

Recent Publications:

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. (doi: 10.1021/nl2011214), 2011.


Song Y, Li X, Wang L, Rojanasakul Y, Castranova V, Li H, and Ma J. Nanomaterials in humans: identification, characteristics, and potential damage. Tox Pathol. (doi: 10.1177/0192623311413787), 2011.

Luanpitpong S, Chanvorachote P, Leonard SS, Pongrakhananon V, Wang L, Nimmannit U, and Rojanasakul Y. Hydroxyl radical mediates cisplatin-induced apoptosis in human hair follicle dermal papilla cells and keratinocytes through Bcl-2-dependent mechanism. Apoptosis PMID: 21573972, 2011.

Wang HY, Rojanasakul Y, and O’Doherty GA. Synthesis and evaluation of α-D-/α-L-rhamnosyl and amicetosyl digitoxigenin oligomers as antitumor agents. ACS Med Chem Lett. 2:264-269, 2011.

Wang HY, Wu BL, Zhang Q, Kang SW, Rojanasakul Y, O'Doherty GA. C5'-alkyl substitution effects on digitoxigenin α-L-glycoside cancer cytatoxicity. ACS Med Chem Lett. 2:259-263, 2011.

Wang HY, Xin W, Zhou, M, Stueckle TA, Rojanasakul Y, and O’Doherty GA. Stereochemical survey of digitoxin monosaccharides. ACS Med Chem Lett. 2:73-78, 2011.

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.

Azad N, Iyer AKV, Vallyathan V, Wang L, Castranova V, Stehlik C, and Rojanasakul Y. Role of oxidative/nitrosative stress-mediated Bcl-2 regulation in apoptosis and malignant transformation. Ann NY Acad Sci. 1203:1-6, 2010.

Azad N, Iyer AKV, Wang L, Lu Y, Medan D, Castranova V, and Rojanasakul Y. Nitric oxide-mediated Bcl-2 stabilization potentiates Cr(VI)-induced malignant transformation of human lung epithelial cells. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 42:578-585, 2010.

Wang L, Castranova V, Mishra A, Chen B, Mercer RR, Schwegler-Berry D, and Rojanasakul Y. Dispersion of single-walled carbon nanotubes by a natural lung surfactant for pulmonary in vitro and in vivo toxicity studies. Part Fibre Toxicol. 7:31, 2010.

Wang L, Rojanasakul Y, Castranova V, Qiu A, Lu Y, Scabilloni J, Wu N, and Mercer RR. Direct fibrogenic effects of dispersed single-walled carbon nanotubes on human lung fibroblasts. J Tox Envir Health A 73:410-422, 2010.

Lu Y, Azad N, Wang L, Iyer AKV, Castranova V, Jiang BH, and Rojanasakul Y. Phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/Akt regulates bleomycin-induced fibroblast proliferation and collagen expression. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 42:432-441, 2010.

Luanpitpong S, Talbott SJ, Rojanasakul Y, Nimmannit U, Pongrakhananon V, Wang L, and Chanvorachote P. Regulation of lung cancer cell migration and invasion by reactive oxygen species and caveolin-1. J Biol Chem. 285:38832-40, 2010.

Deeb D, Gao X, Jiang H, Janic B, Arbab AS, Rojanasakul Y, Dulchavsky SA, and Gautam SC. Oleanane triterpenoid CDDO-Me inhibits growth and induce apoptosis in prostate cancer cells through a ROS-dependent mechanism. Biochem Pharmacol. 79:350-360, 2010.

Pongrakhananon V, Nimmannit U, Luanpitpong S, Rojanasakul Y, and Chanvorachote P. Curcumin sensitizes non-small cell lung cancer cell anoikis through reactive oxygen species-mediated Bcl-2 downregulation. Apoptosis 15:574-585, 2010.

Bryan NB, Dorfleutner A, Kramer SJ, Yun C, Rojanasakul Y, and Stehlik C. Differential splicing of the apoptosis-associated speck like protein containing a caspase recruitment domain (ASC) regulates inflammasomes. J Inflammation 7:23, 2010.

Iyer AKV, Zhou M, Azad N, Elbaz H, Wang L, Rogalsky DK, Rojanasakul Y, O’Doherty GA and Langenhan JM. A direct comparison of the anticancer activities of digitoxin MeON-neoglycosides and O-glycosides: Oligosaccharide chain length-dependent induction of caspase-9-mediated apoptosis. ACS Med Chem Lett. 1:326-330, 2010.

Chanvorachote P, Nimmannit U, Lu Y, Talbott S, Jiang BH, and Rojanasakul Y. Nitric Oxide regulates lung carcinoma cell anoikis through inhibition of ubiquitin-proteasomal degradation of caveolin-1. J Biol Chem. 284:28476-28484, 2009.

Panyosak A, Manosroi J, Rojanasakul Y, and Manosroi A. Safety assessment of azelaic acid and its derivatives entrapped in nanovesicles. Hum Exp Toxicol. 6:387-392, 2009.

Bryan NB, Dorfleutner A, Rojanasakul Y, and Stehlik C. Activation of inflammasomes requires intracellular redistribution of the apoptotic speck-like protein containing a caspase recruitment domain. J Immunol. 182:3173-182, 2009.

Chanvorachote P, Pongrakhananon V, Wannachaiyasit S, Luanpitpong S, Rojanasakul Y, and Nimmannit U. Curcumin sensitizes lung cancer cells to cisplatin-induced apoptosis through superoxide anion mediated Bcl-2 degradation. Cancer Invest. 27:624-635, 2009.

Lu Y, Beezhold K, Chang Q, Zhang Y, Rojanasakul Y, Zhao H, Castranova V, Shi X, and Chen F. Lung cancer-associated JmjC domain protein mdig suppresses formation of tri-methyl lysine 9 of histone H3. Cell Cycle 8:2101-2109, 2009.

Iyer AKV, Azad N, Wang L, and Rojanasakul Y. S-Nitrosylation: How cancer cells say NO to cell death. Nitric Oxide 2009.

Wang L, Rojanasakul Y, Castranova V, Qiu A, Lu Y, Scabilloni J, Wu N, and Mercer RR. Direct fibrogenic effects of dispersed single-walled carbon nanotubes on human lung fibroblasts. J Tox Envir Health. 2009.

Azad N, Iyer AKV, and Rojanasakul Y. Methods to analyze S-nitrosylation of proteins involved in apoptosis. Methods Mol Biol. 559:117-130, 2009.

Wang L, Azad N, Kongkaneramit L, Lu Y, Chen F, and Rojanasakul Y. The Fas death signaling pathway connecting reactive oxygen species generation and FLICE inhibitory protein downregulation. J Immunol. 180:3072-3080, 2008.

Wang L, Chanvorachote P, Toledo D, Stehlik C, Mercer RR, Castranova V, and Rojanasakul Y. Peroxide is a key mediator of Bcl-2 downregulation and apoptosis induction by cisplatin in human lung cancer cells. Mol Pharmacol. 73:119-127, 2008.

Azad N, Rojanasakul Y, and Vallyathan V. Inflammation and lung cancer: Roles of reactive oxygen/nitrogen species. J Tox Envir Health B Crit Rev. 11:1-15, 2008.

Iyer AKV, Azad N, Wang L, and Rojanasakul Y. Role of S-nitrosylation in apoptosis resistance and carcinogenesis. Nitric Oxide 19:146-151, 2008.

Azad N, Iyer AKV, Manosroi A, Wang L, and Rojanasakul Y. Superoxide-mediated proteasomal degradation of Bcl-2 determines cell susceptibility to Cr(VI)-induced apoptosis. Carcinogenesis 29: 1538-1545, 2008.

Kongkaneramit L, Sarisuta N, Azad N, Lu Y, Iyer AKV, Wang L, and Rojanasakul Y. Dependence of reactive oxygen species and FLICE-inhibitory protein on Lipofectamine-induced apoptosis in human lung epithelial cells. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 325:969-977, 2008.

Wu-Pong S and Rojanasakul Y. Biopharmaceutical Drug Development, Humanna Press, 2008.

Dorfleutner A, Talbott SJ, Bryan NB, Funya KN, Rellick SL, Reed JC, Shi X, Rojanasakul Y, Flynn DC, and Stehlik C. A Shope fibroma virus pyrin-only protein modulates of the host immune response. Virus Genes 35:685-694, 2007.

Xia C, Meng Q, Liu L, Rojanasakul Y, and Jiang BH. Reactive oxygen species in cancer cell regulate angiogenesis through expression of vascular endothelial growth factor. Cancer Res. 67:10823-10830, 2007.

Dorfleutner A, Bryan NB, Talbott SJ, Funya KN, Rellick SL, Reed JC, Shi X, and Rojanasakul Y, Flynn DC, and Stehlik C. Cellular pyrin domain-only protein 2 is a candidate regulator of inflammasome activation. Infect Immun. 75:1484-1492, 2007.

Manosroi A, Panyosak A, Rojanasakul Y, and Manosroi J. Characteristics and anti-proliferative activity of azelaic acid and its derivatives entrapped in bilayer vesicles in cancer cell lines. J Drug Target. 15:334-341, 2007.

Azad N, Vallyathan V, Wang L, Tantishaiyakul V, Stehlik C, Leonard SS, and Rojanasakul Y. S-nitrosylation of Bcl-2 inhibits its ubiquitin-proteasomal degradation: A novel anti-apoptotic mechanism that suppresses apoptosis. J Biol Chem. 281:34124-34134, 2006.

Moungjaroen J, Nimmannit U, Callery PS, Wang L, Azad N, Lipipun V, Chanvorachote P, and Rojanasakul Y. Reactive oxygen species mediate caspase activation and apoptosis induced by lipoic acid in human lung epithelial cancer cells through Bcl-2 downregulation. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 319:1062-1069, 2006.

Lu B, Wang L, Stehlik C, Medan D, Huang C, Hu S, Chen F, Shi X, and Rojanasakul Y. Phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/Akt positively regulates Fas (CD95)-mediated apoptosis in Cl41 cells. J Immunol. 176:6785-6793, 2006.

Azad N and Rojanasakul Y. Nanobiotechnology in drug delivery. Am J Drug Deliv. 4:79-88, 2006.

Azad N and Rojanasakul Y. Vaccine delivery: Current trends and future. Curr Drug Deliv. 3:137-146, 2006.

Chanvorachote P, Nimmannit U, Stehlik C, Wang L, Jiang, BH, Ongpipatanakul B, and Rojanasakul Y. Nitric Oxide regulates cell sensitivity to cisplatin-induced apoptosis through S-nitrosylation and inhibition of Bcl-2 ubiquitination, Cancer Res. 66:6353-6360, 2006.

Chanvorachote P, Nimmannit U, Wang L, Stehlik C, Lu B, Azad N, and Rojanasakul Y. Nitric oxide negatively regulates Fas (CD95)-induced apoptosis through inhibition of ubiquitin-proteasome mediated degradation of FLIP. J Biol Chem. 280:42044-42050, 2005. 


Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
Pharmaceutical Calculations

Drug Discovery and Development
Advanced Pharmacology
Cancer Cell Biology