Faculty Highlight: Rangaiah Shashidharamurthy, PhD
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Faculty Highlight: Rangaiah Shashidharamurthy, PhD

July 16, 2018

Professional photograph of Rangaiah Shashidharamurthy, PhDThis month's faculty highlight features Rangaiah Shashidharamurthy, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Why did you choose a career in pharmacy education?

My education background in bachelor, masters and graduate degree in biochemistry made me to learn about many pharmacological interventions of the pathways to target a disease.

Following graduation, my postdoctoral experience in immunology at Vanderbilt University and Emory University motivated me to integrate knowledge of biochemistry and immunology in developing my career in molecular immunology as my research field. These experiences made me to pursue my career in pharmacy education and I am very grateful of this opportunity.

My initial interest in teaching started during training towards obtaining a PhD degree. Upon entering the PhD program, the most influential of my mentors were those who successfully achieved a career by combining teaching with research. As a graduate student, I learned to appreciate the aspects of teaching and research that an academic career could provide.

After graduating with Biochemistry degree from India, I embarked on a journey to do research in immunology. As a postdoctoral fellow and junior faculty at Emory University, Atlanta, GA, I was exposed to different styles of teaching and learning methods. I thoroughly enjoyed the change in the educational atmosphere and as a research faculty I could integrate my experiences to develop, teach and mentor graduate and undergraduate students at Emory.

I found that I immensely enjoyed teaching with cutting edge research and the sense of satisfaction that I experienced as a teacher enhanced my desire to teach and to pursue a career choice with teaching and research as a major component.

I have always believed that personal attention from the teacher goes a long way in helping disadvantaged students in the class. My experience at PCOM School of Pharmacy has been exhilarating so far and has motivated me to continue to give my best as an educator.

What is your research interest?

My lab is primarily involved in identifying novel strategies to attenuate the inflammation and bone loss during autoinflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is an extremely common type of chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease. The currently available therapies are associated with several disadvantages, therefore, there is a need for new therapeutic agents to prevent/reduces the pathogenesis of RA.

As an independent investigator at PCOM-School of Pharmacy, I discovered that the Lcn-2, an innate immune protein is one of the most upregulated genes in various model of autoimmune disorders. More recently our studies have suggested that the upregulation of Lcn2 might be necessary to reduce the ongoing inflammation and protect the severe bone degradation during immune-complex mediated arthritis condition.

In addition, I have established the role of prostaglandin-E2 receptor EP2 during the autoimmune arthritis. Thus, the main goal of my laboratory is to identify and characterizes the novel therapeutic targets to blunt the ongoing inflammation and bone erosion during autoimmune arthritis.

What advice do you have for a person considering a career in pharmacy?

I have learned so much about pharmacy in the past few years and the numerous opportunities and career paths it provides. Pharmacists work in a wide range of roles so it is important to challenge yourself to find out more and achieve them by strong commitment for education, a solid foundation and passion for creating your own path.

I strongly encourage students to have an open mind and research all the avenues of pharmacy before committing for 4 years. As a pharmaceutical sciences faculty, I encourage students to take advantage of the research opportunities on campus and feel motivated to consider the challenges it provides and help incorporate open mindedness it provides that can be helpful in future to inculcate the skills and analytical thinking in any career they chose from may it be research, community, ambulatory care, administration/management.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?