Shanthi V. Sitaraman, MD, PhD
Photo: Shanthi V. Sitaraman



Elected 2006
Dr. Sitaraman’s research focuses on understanding the pathophysiology underlying inflammatory responses in the intestine. Her research involves two interrelated areas: (i) molecular characterization and regulation of the intestinal adenosine A2b receptor (A2bR) and the mechanism by which it elicits pro-inflammatory response and (ii) the role and cellular mechanism by which metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) modulates intestinal inflammation. Studies in Dr. Sitaraman’s laboratory have shown that the level of adenosine, an endogenous primordial signaling molecule, is highly up-regulated during active intestinal inflammation in humans. In the intestine, adenosine mediates its effects in the intestine through the adenosine 2b receptor (A2b receptor), one of the four adenosine receptor subtypes and the only subtype present in human colon. Dr. Sitaraman has spent much of her independent career characterizing A2b receptor expression, its trafficking as well as the biological role of the receptor during colitis. More recently, Dr. Sitaraman has developed a complimentary area of research focusing on the role of metalloproteinases in modulating intestinal inflammation. She has demonstrated that metalloproteinase-9, a zinc-dependent protease, is absent from normal colon but is highly up-regulated in the epithelial cells during inflammation. She has also demonstrated that this protease plays an important for the development of colitis. She is currently characterizing the role, regulation, and mechanism by which this epithelial-derived protease regulates intestinal inflammation.