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Rene Anand


Department of Pharmacology
1008 Biomedical Research Tower
460 W. 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
Phone: (614) 292-1380
Fax: (614) 292-7232


BS, University of Madras (Loyola College), India
MS Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India
PhD, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Postdoctoral Training, Salk Institute, San Diego, CA and University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Research Interests

Stem Cells Applications in Translational and Regenerative Medicine

Neurological Disorders: We are interested in studying how genes and the environment interact to increase susceptibility to neurodevelopmental, neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. We are currently developing human induced pluripotent stem cell derived neurons and brain organoids to use as in vitro models of the human brain. These human brain organoid models will allow us to study 1) how exposure to drugs of abuse in utero, such as in pregnant nicotine users, alters the early brain development of the fetus; and 2) how human gene variants contribute to neurological disorder susceptibility. We are currently interested in developing brain organoids to study autism, drug addiction and Parkinson's disease.

Development of Therapeutics: The drug targets for a number of diseases including cancer, heart disease and neurological diseases are cell surface membrane proteins such as receptor tyrosine kinases, ion channels and G-protein coupled receptors. The greatest challenge for in silico design of drugs is the significant lack of high-resolution structures for most of these membrane proteins of therapeutic value because structural studies such as X-ray crystallography and high-resolution NMR need significant amounts of protein which are very challenging to produce in vitro.

​Funded by a EUREKA grant from NIGMS, we are taking a high-risk, high payoff approach to making membrane proteins for structural studies. The electric fish, Electrophorus Electricus, as well as other electric fish, have evolved electric organs for electrogenic communication. The electrolytes of the electric organ express very high levels of membrane proteins that are involved in their electrogenic functions. We are part of a consortium of investigators using genomic and transcriptomic strategies to first understand how these electric organs evolved from myogenic stem cell precursors in electric fish. My laboratory then intends to understand the transcriptional and posttranscriptional mechanisms that regulate the expression of electrogenic membrane proteins in the electric organ. Our long-term goals are to neofunctionalize cells to express human​ membrane proteins of therapeutic importance based on our understanding of the regulatory mechanisms operational in electrocytes. This project is synergistic with our current interest to harness the power of stem cell biology to understand and treat human disorders.


Traeger LL, Volkening JD, Moffett H, Gallant JR, Chen PH, Novina CD, Phillips GN Jr, Anand R, Wells GB, Pinch M, Güth R, Unguez GA, Albert JS, Zakon H, Sussman MR, Samanta MP.Unique patterns of transcript and miRNA expression in the South American strong voltage electric eel (Electrophorus electricus).  BMC Genomics. 2015 Mar 26;16:243. doi: 10.1186/s12864-015-1288-8.
Gallant JR, Traeger LL, Volkening JD, Moffett H, Chen PH, Novina CD, Phillips GN Jr, Anand R, Wells GB, Pinch M, Güth R, Unguez GA, Albert JS, Zakon HH, Samanta MP, Sussman MR.Nonhuman genetics. Genomic basis for the convergent evolution of electric organs.  Science. 2014 Jun 27;344(6191):1522-5. doi:10.1126/science.1254432. *Received extensive press coverage
Anand, R. COPI polices nicotine-mediated up-regulation of nicotinic receptors. J Gen Physiol. 2014;143 :49-50. doi: 10.1085/jgp.201311136. 
Anand, R. COPI polices nicotine-mediated up-regulation of nicotinic receptors. J Gen Physiol. 2014;143 :49-50. doi: 10.1085/jgp.201311136.
Arnold LE, Anand R, Aman M. (2013) Varenicline in autistic disorder: hypothesis and case report of single-patient crossover. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol 23:61-614.
Amici SA, McKay SB, Wells GB, Robson JI, Nasire M, Ponath G, Anand R. (2012) A highly conserved cytoplasmic cysteine residue in the alpha4 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor is palmitoylated and regulates protein expression. J Biol Chem 287:23119-23127.
Arnold LE, Aman MG, Holloway J, Hurt E, Bates B, Li X, Farmer C, Anand R, Thompson S, Ramadan Y, Williams C. (2012) Placebo-controlled pilot trial of mecamylamine for treatment of autism spectrum disorders. J Child Adolesc Pyschopharmacol 22:198-205.
Mukherjee J, Kuryatov A, Moss SJ, Lindstrom JM, Anand R. (2009) Mutations of cytosolic loop residues impair assembly and maturation of alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. J Neurochem 110:1885-1894.
Cheng SB, Amici SA, Ren XA, McKay SB, Treuil MW, Lindstrom JM, Rao J, Anand R. (2009) Presynaptic targeting of alpha4beta 2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors is regulated by neurexin-1beta. J Biol Chem 284:23251-23259.
Zhao C, Anand R, Braunewell KH. (2009) Nicotine-induced Ca2+-myristoyl switch of neuronal Ca2+ sensor VILIP-1 in hippocampal neurons: a possible crosstalk mechanism for nicotinic receptors. Cell Mol Neurobiol 29:273-286.
Ruskin DN, Anand R, LaHoste GJ. (2008) Chronic menthol attenuates the effects of nicotine in adolescent but not adult rats. Nicotine Tob Res 10:1753-1759.
Ruskin DN, Anand R, LaHoste GJ. (2007) Menthol and nicotine oppositely modulate body temperature in the rat. Eur J Pharmacol 559:161-164.
nand R, Braunewell KH. (2005) Neuronal Ca++ sensor protein VILIP-1 affects cGMP signalling by regulating receptor recycling of guanylyl cyclase B in hippocampal neurons. J Cell Science 118:24895-2505.
Anand R. (2005) Structural determinants of alpha4beta2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor trafficking. J Neurosci 25:6676-6686.
Anand R. (2002) Functional analysis of calcium-binding EF-hand of Visinin-like protein-1. Biochem Biophy Res Comm 296:827-832.
L, Jeanclos EM, Magdalen T, Braunewell KH, Gundelfinger ED, Anand R. (2002) The calcium sensor proteing VILIP-1 modulates the surface expression and agonist-sensitivity of the nicotinic alpha4beta2 acetylcholine receptor. J Biol Chem 277:41872-41878.