Krishnan Prabhakaran

Krishnan  Prabhakaran

Assistant Professor, Natural Sciences
331  Pharmacy Building
Campus Box 930
Phone: (252)335-4780
Fax: (252)335-3697



Expertise / Research Area:

My research focus is on environmental, chemically induced neurodegenerative processes capable of producing CNS disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzhimer’s Disease, and the development of novel therapeutic agents to treat neurodegenerative conditions. I have made several fundamental advances in signal transduction mechanisms associated with cell death processes in chemically induced neurodegeneration. The primary focus of my research is on selective vulnerability of the nervous system to neurotoxic chemicals such as Cyanide, Manganese and Particulate Matter including Nano Materials. These neurotoxicants produce selective lesions in the brain. We are now addressing why select brain areas are vulnerable to these agents leading to neuronal apoptosis. By understanding these toxic responses in detail, insight to the causes of neurodegenerative diseases will be gained and the potential etiologic role of environmental exposure to chemicals in neurodegeneration can be determined.


• Postdoctoral training: Medicinal Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.

• Ph.D., Physiology, University of Madras, India.

• M.Phil., Physiology, University of Madras, India.

• M.S., Biology, Bharathiar University, India

Representative Publications:

1. Ramakrishnan R, Raghavendra HL, Prabhakaran K, Kanthasamy AG, Upashe SP and Beyen F. Na-K-Cl Cotransporter-1 as a Regulator od Manganese-induced Astrocyte Swelling. Science Technology and Arts Research Journal 2(4): 14-19, 2013.

2. Krishnan Prabhakaran, Gail D. Chapman, and Palur G. Gunasekar. a-Synuclein Overexpression Enhances Manganese-Induced Neurotoxicity through the NF-?B Mediated Pathway. Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods, 21(6):435-43, 2011.

3. Krishnan Prabhakaran, Gail D. Chapman, and Palur G. Gunasekar. BNIP3 up-regulation and mitochondrial dysfunction in manganese induced neurotoxicity. NeuroToxicology. 30:414-422, 2009.

4. K. Prabhakaran, D. Ghosh, G.D. Chapman, and P.G. Gunasekar. Molecular Mechanism of Manganese Exposure-Induced Dopaminergic Toxicity. Brain Res. Bulletin 76(4):361-367, 2008.

5. Krishnan Prabhakaran, Li Li, Lucy Zhang, Joseph L. Borowitz and Gary E. Isom. Upregulation of BNIP3 and translocation to mitochondria mediates cyanide-induced apoptosis in cortical cells. Neuroscience, 150 (1): 159-167, 2007.

6. Krishnan Prabhakaran, Li Li, Joseph L. Borowitz and Gary E. Isom. Inducible Nitric Oxide Synthase Up-regulation and Mitochondrial Glutathione Depletion Mediate Cyanide-induced Necrosis in Mesencephalic Cells. Journal of Neuroscience Research, 84 (5): 1003-1011, 2006.

7. Krishnan Prabhakaran, Li Li, Edward M. Mills, Joseph L. Borowitz and Gary E. Isom. Up-regulation of UCP-2 by Cyanide is linked with enhanced cytotoxicity in Mesencephalic cells. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 314 (3): 1338-1345, 2005.

8. Shou Y, Li L, Prabhakaran K, Borowitz JL, Isom GE. Calcineurin-mediated BAD translocation regulates cyanide-induced neuronal apoptosis. Biochem J. 379(3): 805-813, 2004.

9. Krishnan Prabhakaran, Li Li, Joseph L. Borowitz, and Gary E. Isom. Caspase inhibition switches the mode of cell death induced by cyanide by enhancing reactive oxygen species generation and PARP-1 activation. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 195: 194-202, 2004

10. Prabhakaran K, Li L, Borowitz JL, Isom GE. Cyanide induces different modes of death in cortical and mesencephalon cells. The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 303(2): 510-9, Nov 2002