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Bassel E. Sawaya, PhDBassel E. Sawaya, PhD


Professor, Neurology

Professor, Pharmacology

Professor, Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology

Telephone:  215-204-0607

Fax:  215-204-0679

Email: sawaya@temple.edu


Department of Neurology

Department of Pharmacology

Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology


Educational Background:


PhD, Molecular Biology - 1994

Rene Descartes University

Paris, France


Postdoctoral Fellowship, Molecular Biology - 1995


Strasbourg, France

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Research Interests:


Even in the HAART era where the viral load is below detection levels, the prevalence of HIV-1 associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) remains high due to many reasons such as latent virus reactivation and drugs' inability to efficiently cross the blood brain barrier (BBB). Therefore, it is important to understand the mechanisms leading to neuronal deregulation in HIV-1-infected patients in the HAART era. The lack of productive infection of neurons by HIV-1 suggests that viral and cellular proteins with neurotoxic activities that are released from HIV-1 infected target cells, or reservoirs cells for latent active virus, cause this neuronal deregulation. The viral proteins Tat, Vpr and gp120 have been shown to alter the expression of various important cytokines and inflammatory proteins in infected and uninfected cells. The mechanisms and the cellular factors used by these proteins to cause neuronal damage remain unclear. Therefore, research in the Molecular Studies of Neurodegenerative Diseases (MSND) lab mainly focuses on the identification of these mechanisms utilizing molecular, virological, and cellular approaches to determine the cellular factors used by the viral proteins as well as their interplay with microRNAs to cause neuronal dysfunction.

The outcome of these studies will advance the understanding of HIV-1 pathogenesis and will decipher the mechanisms used by HIV-1 Tat, Vpr and gp120 proteins that lead to neuronal degeneration.


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Recent Medically Related Publications, Obtained from PubMed (Click on PubMed ID to view abstract)

24872081. Bagashev A, Mukerjee R, Santerre M, Del Carpio-Cano FE, Shrestha J, Wang Y, He JJ, Sawaya BE, Involvement of miR-196a in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. Apoptosis 19:8(1202-14)2014 Aug

24286015. Del Carpio-Cano FE, Dela Cadena RA, Sawaya BE, HIV and Bone Disease: A Perspective of the Role of microRNAs in Bone Biology upon HIV Infection. J Osteoporos 2013:(571418)2013

23603988. Bagashev A, Fan S, Mukerjee R, Claudio PP, Chabrashvili T, Leng RP, Benchimol S, Sawaya BE, Cdk9 phosphorylates Pirh2 protein and prevents degradation of p53 protein. Cell Cycle 12:10(1569-77)2013 May 15

23001849. Kogan M, Deshmane S, Sawaya BE, Gracely EJ, Khalili K, Rappaport J, Inhibition of NF-?B activity by HIV-1 Vpr is dependent on Vpr binding protein. J Cell Physiol 228:4(781-90)2013 Apr

22042001. Chang JR, Ghafouri M, Mukerjee R, Bagashev A, Chabrashvili T, Sawaya BE, Role of p53 in neurodegenerative diseases. Neurodegener Dis 9:2(68-80)2012

22023789. Deshmane SL, Amini S, Sen S, Khalili K, Sawaya BE, Regulation of the HIV-1 promoter by HIF-1a and Vpr proteins. Virol J 8:(477)2011 Oct 24

21956116. Chang JR, Mukerjee R, Bagashev A, Del Valle L, Chabrashvili T, Hawkins BJ, He JJ, Sawaya BE, HIV-1 Tat protein promotes neuronal dysfunction through disruption of microRNAs. J Biol Chem 286:47(41125-34)2011 Nov 25

21816823. Mukerjee R, Chang JR, Del Valle L, Bagashev A, Gayed MM, Lyde RB, Hawkins BJ, Brailoiu E, Cohen E, Power C, Azizi SA, Gelman BB, Sawaya BE, Deregulation of microRNAs by HIV-1 Vpr protein leads to the development of neurocognitive disorders. J Biol Chem 286:40(34976-85)2011 Oct 7

21249135. Deshmane SL, Mukerjee R, Fan S, Sawaya BE, High-performance capillary electrophoresis for determining HIV-1 Tat protein in neurons. PLoS One 6:1(e16148)2011 Jan 7

21088492. Mukerjee R, Claudio PP, Chang JR, Del Valle L, Sawaya BE, Transcriptional regulation of HIV-1 gene expression by p53. Cell Cycle 9:22(4569-78)2010 Nov 15

20890127. Rom I, Darbinyan A, White MK, Rappaport J, Sawaya BE, Amini S, Khalili K, Activation of HIV-1 LTR by Rad51 in microglial cells. Cell Cycle 9:18(3715-22)2010 Sep 15

19441883. Deshmane SL, Kremlev S, Amini S, Sawaya BE, Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1): an overview. J Interferon Cytokine Res 29:6(313-26)2009 Jun

19328187. Rom I, Deshmane SL, Mukerjee R, Khalili K, Amini S, Sawaya BE, HIV-1 Vpr deregulates calcium secretion in neural cells. Brain Res 1275:(81-6)2009 Jun 12

19204000. Deshmane SL, Mukerjee R, Fan S, Del Valle L, Michiels C, Sweet T, Rom I, Khalili K, Rappaport J, Amini S, Sawaya BE, Activation of the oxidative stress pathway by HIV-1 Vpr leads to induction of hypoxia-inducible factor 1alpha expression. J Biol Chem 284:17(11364-73)2009 Apr 24

19023660. Sawaya BE, Deshmane SL, Mukerjee R, Fan S, Khalili K, TNF alpha production in morphine-treated human neural cells is NF-kappaB-dependent. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol 4:1(140-9)2009 Mar

19014341. Abraham S, Sweet T, Khalili K, Sawaya BE, Amini S, Evidence for activation of the TGF-beta1 promoter by C/EBPbeta and its modulation by Smads. J Interferon Cytokine Res 29:1(1-7)2009 Jan

18780968. Darbinian N, Cui J, Basile A, Del Valle L, Otte J, Miklossy J, Sawaya BE, Amini S, Khalili K, Gordon J, Negative regulation of AbetaPP gene expression by pur-alpha. J Alzheimers Dis 15:1(71-82)2008 Sep

18719392. Mukerjee R, Deshmane SL, Fan S, Del Valle L, White MK, Khalili K, Amini S, Sawaya BE, Involvement of the p53 and p73 transcription factors in neuroAIDS. Cell Cycle 7:17(2682-90)2008 Sep 1

18649942. Mukerjee R, Deshmane SL, Darbinian N, Czernik M, Khalili K, Amini S, Sawaya BE, St. John's Wort protein, p27SJ, regulates the MCP-1 promoter. Mol Immunol 45:15(4028-35)2008 Sep

18353421. Romagnoli L, Sariyer IK, Tung J, Feliciano M, Sawaya BE, Del Valle L, Ferrante P, Khalili K, Safak M, White MK, Early growth response-1 protein is induced by JC virus infection and binds and regulates the JC virus promoter. Virology 375:2(331-41)2008 Jun 5

17722108. Kaminski R, Darbinian N, Sawaya BE, Slonina D, Amini S, Johnson EM, Rappaport J, Khalili K, Darbinyan A, Puralpha as a cellular co-factor of Rev/RRE-mediated expression of HIV-1 intron-containing mRNA. J Cell Biochem 103:4(1231-45)2008 Mar 1

17653096. Siddiqui K, Del Valle L, Morellet N, Cui J, Ghafouri M, Mukerjee R, Urbanska K, Fan S, Pattillo CB, Deshmane SL, Kiani MF, Ansari R, Khalili K, Roques BP, Reiss K, Bouaziz S, Amini S, Srinivasan A, Sawaya BE, Molecular mimicry in inducing DNA damage between HIV-1 Vpr and the anticancer agent, cisplatin. Oncogene 27:1(32-43)2008 Jan 3

17593555. Wang JY, Gualco E, Peruzzi F, Sawaya BE, Passiatore G, Marcinkiewicz C, Staniszewska I, Ferrante P, Amini S, Khalili K, Reiss K, Interaction between serine phosphorylated IRS-1 and beta1-integrin affects the stability of neuronal processes. J Neurosci Res 85:11(2360-73)2007 Aug 15

17251582. Mameli G, Deshmane SL, Ghafouri M, Cui J, Simbiri K, Khalili K, Mukerjee R, Dolei A, Amini S, Sawaya BE, C/EBPbeta regulates human immunodeficiency virus 1 gene expression through its association with cdk9. J Gen Virol 88:Pt 2(631-40)2007 Feb

17172832. Cui J, Tungaturthi PK, Ayyavoo V, Ghafouri M, Ariga H, Khalili K, Srinivasan A, Amini S, Sawaya BE, The role of Vpr in the regulation of HIV-1 gene expression. Cell Cycle 5:22(2626-38)2006 Nov

17031851. Mukerjee R, Sawaya BE, Khalili K, Amini S, Association of p65 and C/EBPbeta with HIV-1 LTR modulates transcription of the viral promoter. J Cell Biochem 100:5(1210-6)2007 Apr 1

16750572. Eldeen MB, Deshmane SL, Simbiri K, Khalili K, Amini S, Sawaya BE, MH2 domain of Smad3 reduces HIV-1 Tat-induction of cytokine secretion. J Neuroimmunol 176:1-2(174-80)2006 Jul

16741955. Claudio PP, Cui J, Ghafouri M, Mariano C, White MK, Safak M, Sheffield JB, Giordano A, Khalili K, Amini S, Sawaya BE, Cdk9 phosphorylates p53 on serine 392 independently of CKII. J Cell Physiol 208:3(602-12)2006 Sep

16712719. Ghafouri M, Amini S, Khalili K, Sawaya BE, HIV-1 associated dementia: symptoms and causes. Retrovirology 3:(28)2006 May 19

16690926. Rossi A, Mukerjee R, Ferrante P, Khalili K, Amini S, Sawaya BE, Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 Tat prevents dephosphorylation of Sp1 by TCF-4 in astrocytes. J Gen Virol 87:Pt 6(1613-23)2006 Jun

16690919. Gorrill T, Feliciano M, Mukerjee R, Sawaya BE, Khalili K, White MK, Activation of early gene transcription in polyomavirus BK by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 Tat. J Gen Virol 87:Pt 6(1557-66)2006 Jun

16611822. Aprea S, Del Valle L, Mameli G, Sawaya BE, Khalili K, Peruzzi F, Tubulin-mediated binding of human immunodeficiency virus-1 Tat to the cytoskeleton causes proteasomal-dependent degradation of microtubule-associated protein 2 and neuronal damage. J Neurosci 26:15(4054-62)2006 Apr 12

16595370. Brailoiu E, Brailoiu GC, Mameli G, Dolei A, Sawaya BE, Dun NJ, Acute exposure to ethanol potentiates human immunodeficiency virus type 1 Tat-induced Ca(2+) overload and neuronal death in cultured rat cortical neurons. J Neurovirol 12:1(17-24)2006 Feb

16511829. Chipitsyna G, Sawaya BE, Khalili K, Amini S, Cooperativity between Rad51 and C/EBP family transcription factors modulates basal and Tat-induced activation of the HIV-1 LTR in astrocytes. J Cell Physiol 207:3(605-13)2006 Jun

16251997. Darbinian-Sarkissian N, Darbinyan A, Otte J, Radhakrishnan S, Sawaya BE, Arzumanyan A, Chipitsyna G, Popov Y, Rappaport J, Amini S, Khalili K, p27(SJ), a novel protein in St John's Wort, that suppresses expression of HIV-1 genome. Gene Ther 13:4(288-95)2006 Feb

16235026. Saunders M, Eldeen MB, Del Valle L, Reiss K, Peruzzi F, Mameli G, Gelman BB, Khalili K, Amini S, Sawaya BE, p73 modulates HIV-1 Tat transcriptional and apoptotic activities in human astrocytes. Apoptosis 10:6(1419-31)2005 Dec

16135803. Amini S, Mameli G, Del Valle L, Skowronska A, Reiss K, Gelman BB, White MK, Khalili K, Sawaya BE, p73 Interacts with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 Tat in astrocytic cells and prevents its acetylation on lysine 28. Mol Cell Biol 25:18(8126-38)2005 Sep

15936090. Peruzzi F, Bergonzini V, Aprea S, Reiss K, Sawaya BE, Rappaport J, Amini S, Khalili K, Cross talk between growth factors and viral and cellular factors alters neuronal signaling pathways: implication for HIV-associated dementia. Brain Res Brain Res Rev 50:1(114-25)2005 Dec 1

15887232. Sweet T, Sawaya BE, Khalili K, Amini S, Interplay between NFBP and NF-kappaB modulates tat activation of the LTR. J Cell Physiol 204:2(375-80)2005 Aug

15710476. Abraham S, Sweet T, Sawaya BE, Rappaport J, Khalili K, Amini S, Cooperative interaction of C/EBP beta and Tat modulates MCP-1 gene transcription in astrocytes. J Neuroimmunol 160:1-2(219-27)2005 Mar

15302882. Amini S, Saunders M, Kelley K, Khalili K, Sawaya BE, Interplay between HIV-1 Vpr and Sp1 modulates p21(WAF1) gene expression in human astrocytes. J Biol Chem 279:44(46046-56)2004 Oct 29

15142382. Amini S, Khalili K, Sawaya BE, Effect of HIV-1 Vpr on cell cycle regulators. DNA Cell Biol 23:4(249-60)2004 Apr

14755242. Chipitsyna G, Slonina D, Siddiqui K, Peruzzi F, Skorski T, Reiss K, Sawaya BE, Khalili K, Amini S, HIV-1 Tat increases cell survival in response to cisplatin by stimulating Rad51 gene expression. Oncogene 23:15(2664-71)2004 Apr 8

14624448. Sweet T, Khalili K, Sawaya BE, Amini S, Identification of a novel protein from glial cells based on its ability to interact with NF-kappaB subunits. J Cell Biochem 90:5(884-91)2003 Dec 1

12758167. Abraham S, Sawaya BE, Safak M, Batuman O, Khalili K, Amini S, Regulation of MCP-1 gene transcription by Smads and HIV-1 Tat in human glial cells. Virology 309:2(196-202)2003 May 10

12368361. Wortman B, Darbinian N, Sawaya BE, Khalili K, Amini S, Evidence for regulation of long terminal repeat transcription by Wnt transcription factor TCF-4 in human astrocytic cells. J Virol 76:21(11159-65)2002 Nov

12202226. Coyle-Rink J, Sweet T, Abraham S, Sawaya B, Batuman O, Khalili K, Amini S, Interaction between TGFbeta signaling proteins and C/EBP controls basal and Tat-mediated transcription of HIV-1 LTR in astrocytes. Virology 299:2(240-7)2002 Aug 1

12173051. Amini S, Clavo A, Nadraga Y, Giordano A, Khalili K, Sawaya BE, Interplay between cdk9 and NF-kappaB factors determines the level of HIV-1 gene transcription in astrocytic cells. Oncogene 21:37(5797-803)2002 Aug 22

11730934. Darbinian N, Sawaya BE, Khalili K, Jaffe N, Wortman B, Giordano A, Amini S, Functional interaction between cyclin T1/cdk9 and Puralpha determines the level of TNFalpha promoter activation by Tat in glial cells. J Neuroimmunol 121:1-2(3-11)2001 Dec 3

10931842. Sawaya BE, Khalili K, Gordon J, Taube R, Amini S, Cooperative interaction between HIV-1 regulatory proteins Tat and Vpr modulates transcription of the viral genome. J Biol Chem 275:45(35209-14)2000 Nov 10

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