Dr Mahadev Rao


Date of Joining: 03.04.2017

Department of Pharmacy Practice



    Mahadev Rao, Professor and Head at Department of Pharmacy Practice, Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, joined Manipal Academy of Higher Education on April 04, 2017. Dr. Rao completed his PhD in pharmaceutical sciences at Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, studying free radical-induced nephrotoxicity of cisplatin and its protection by selenium compounds. His PhD research work won him the Simon Wolf Charitable Foundation award (Cambridge, UK) in 1998. Determined to pursue a career in research, Mahadev moved to National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD as a Fogarty International Postdoctoral Fellow where he worked for two years in basic cancer genetics. In 2003, Dr Rao moved to Lombardi Cancer Center, Georgetown University to purse signal transduction mechanisms of cyclins in breast and prostate cancer. In 2006, Dr. Rao joined Surgery/thoracic gastro-intestinal branch at NCI where he rose from a position of Postdoctoral Scientist to that of a Staff Scientist at National Cancer Institute. Dr. Rao has worked extensively on basic, translational and clinical research at NCI. His major expertise include repurposing  old antitumor agents, personalized medicine in thoracic cancers (lung, malignant pleural mesothelioma, esophageal and gastric), genetic mechanisms for tobacco mediated cancers, induction of cancer testis antigens in thoracic cancer by epigenetic drugs for adoptive immunotherapy and the metabolome. Dr. Rao has numerous papers in peer reviewed journals such as Nature, Nature immunology, Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research, Journal of immunology, Journal of immunotherapy, Molecular Cell, MCB, JBC, PNAS, Cell metabolism, Cell cycle, Molecular Cancer, etc. 

    He teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students; and guide doctoral students.


    • Approved PhD guide (Field:Cancer/ TB) in Manipal Academy of Higher Education.
    • Supervises the department's daily activities.
    • Mentors student's disserations and projects.
    • Plans and conducts clinical pharmacy workshops and training programs.
    • Establishes research collaborations at national and international levels.
    • Member of Pharmacy and Therapeutic Committee of Kasturba Hospital, Manipal.
    • Member of Institutional Ethics Committee (IEC) of KMC&KH
    • Heads research committee of the department.
    • Coordinator of  Global TB Portal Consortium of the National Institute of Health (NIH), USA in India
    • Founding faculty of Global Cancer Consortium
    • Coordinator of Centre for Translational Research
    • Coordinator of Certificate Course in Translational Research



Subject Semester / Year
Pharmacotherapeutics-III Fourth Year Pharm.D
Pharmacotherapeutics- I & II First Year Pharm.D (PB)
Clinical Research Fifth Year Pharm.D
Pharmacotherapeutics-I First Semester M.Pharm
Clinical Research First Semester M.Pharm
Pharmacotherapeutics-II Second Semester M.Pharm


Degree Specialisation Institute Year of passing
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) Pharmaceutical Sciences Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences / Mangalore University 2000
MPharm (Master of Pharmacy) Pharmacology Government College of Pharmacy, Bangalore University, Bangalore 1995
BPharm (Bachelor of Pharmacy) Pharmacy NGSM Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Mangalore University, Mangalore 1992
DPharm (Diploma of Pharmacy) Pharmacy SSS College of Pharmacy, Kadandale 1986


Institution / Organisation Designation Role Tenure
Department of Pharmacy Practice, MCOPS, Manipal Professor & Head Teaching & Research 2017-onwards
Surgery/Thoracic and GI Oncology Branch, NCI/NIH, Bethesda, MD Staff Scientist Research 2012-2016
Surgery Branch, NCI/NIH, Bethesda, MD Research fellow Research 2007-2012
Department of Oncology, Georgetown University, Washington DC Postdoc Fellow Research 2003-2007
Division of Basic Sciences, NIH, Bethesda, MD Forgaty International Postdoc Fellow Research 2000-2002
NGSM Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Mangalore, India Assistant Professor & Head, Dept. of Pharmacology Teaching UG and PG students and Research 1999-2000

Sixteen years research experience in government research laboratories.

Dr Mahadev Rao

Major areas of expertise are preclinical and clinical cancer biology and immunology, epigenetics, human iPSCs, molecular biology and signal transduction.

Dr Mahadev Rao

Developed epigenetic drugs as antitumor agents for lung, malignant mesothelioma cancer therapy.

Dr Mahadev Rao

Managed independent line of research in oncology, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, cancer progression, drug discovery and development, cancer biomarkers, and epigenetics.

Dr Mahadev Rao

Oversee/ Coordinated/ Developed Therapeutic vaccine development against thoracic cancers.

Dr Mahadev Rao

Guided, designed, developed and implemented strategies to evaluate PK/PD.

Dr Mahadev Rao

Managed three of the FDA approved clinical trials as associate investigator in Phase I and Phase II.

Dr Mahadev Rao

Responsible for development of novel epigenetic drugs for its antitumor activity against thoracic cancers.

Dr Mahadev Rao

Lead translational oncology projects that generated proof-of-concept for novel therapeutic strategies from drug discovery to preclinical animal models.

Dr Mahadev Rao

Discovered tobacco mediated carcinogen effects in lung cancers and its epigenetic mechanism.

Dr Mahadev Rao

Managed multicenter teams for pre-clinical studies on tobacco induced carcinogenesis, oncogenes, tumor suppressor genes, and novel epigenetic small molecule inhibitors.

Dr Mahadev Rao

Developed human iPSCs from Small Airway Epithelial Cells.

Dr Mahadev Rao

Authored 51 publications in top international scientific journals (notably Nature, Nature Immunology, Cell Metabolism, Cell Stem Cell, Molecular Cell, Cancer Research, PNAS and Clinical Cancer Research) 45 presentations at international scientific meetings.

Dr Mahadev Rao

Peer-reviewed research articles for Anticancer Research, Cancer Research, Carcinogenesis, Clinical epigenetics and inflammation.

Dr Mahadev Rao

Strong record of building successful collaborative relationships with industry key scientific researchers and opinion leaders.

Dr Mahadev Rao

Experience in supervising 12 clinical surgeons to obtain training in thoracic oncology.

Dr Mahadev Rao

Experience in translational, clinical and basic research (signal transduction, genetics, molecular biology and epigenetics (RNAseq, ChIP-seq, MeDIPseq, DNA methylation etc).

Dr Mahadev Rao

Coordinated interactions between NIH and outside organizations including foundations, biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms, academic institutions, and a host of government and non-government agencies.

Dr Mahadev Rao

Created and implemented strategies and tactics to find funds to magnify the impact of the program and optimize and leverage all available resources.

Dr Mahadev Rao

Ensure lab compliance with NIH-mandated safety requirements and procedures – coordinate with NIH Office of Safety on violations and associated corrective actions.

Dr Mahadev Rao


Area of Interest

Developing tumor tissue collection bank from various histologies as well as will generate in-house tumor cell lines and eventually those tumor samples will be subjected to exome or transcriptome profiling. Generation of this genomic databank at Manipal University will be used for intramural as well as extramural prospective studies, basic, translational and clinical research. Also Dr Rao would like to establish the repurposing old anticancer drugs as well as to establish the personalized treatment of cancers based on genetic makeup in Manipal University.

Area of Expertise

Repurposing old antitumor agents, personalized medicine in thoracic cancers (lung, malignant pleural mesothelioma, esophageal and gastric), genetic mechanisms for tobacco mediated cancers, induction of cancer testis antigens in thoracic cancer by epigenetic drugs for adoptive immunotherapy and the metabolome. Dr. Rao had involved in several preclinical and FDA approved clinical trials in repurposing the old drugs and in personalized lung cancer and mesothelioma patients.

Area of Research

Discovery and development of anti-cancer drugs that exploit our knowledge of the cancer genome and cancer biology. His passion is personalized medicine and repurposing of old drugs.

Professional Affiliations & Contributions

  • Member of American Association for Cancer Research
  • Member of Registered Pharmacist, Karnataka State Pharmacy Council
  • Life Member of Indian Pharmaceutical Association


  • Department of Human & Health Services best employee performance award from 2008-2015
  • Fogarty International postdoctoral fellowship award at NIH (2000-2002)
  • Simon Wolf Charitable foundation award (Cambridge, UK) for contribution in Free Radical Biology
  • Senior Research Fellowship for Ph.D. from Department of Atomic Energy, India
  • Junior Research Fellowship for M.Pharm. from University Grants Commission, India


  • Dr. Narayanan Rajendran, University of Kentucky, USA
  • Dr. Ganesha Rai Bantukallu, NCATS, NIH, Shadygrove, USA
  • Dr. Vivek Shukla, TGBI, NCI, NIH, Bethesda, USA


  • Member of Pharmacy and Therapeutic Committee of Kasturba Hospital, Manipal

Full Publications list

Dr Mahadev Rao

Tobacco smoke induces polycomb- mediated repression of DKK1 in lung cancer cells

Hussain M Rao M Humphries A et al

Cancer Research, 2009 Apr 15;69(8):3570-8

Epigenomic alterations and gene expression profiles in respiratory epithelia exposed to cigarette smoke condensate

Liu F Killian JK Yang M et al

Oncogene, 2010; 29(25):3650-64

A TCR targeting the HLA- A*0201-restricted Epitope of MAGE-A3 Recognizes Multiple Epitopes of the MAGE-A Antigen Superfamily in Several Types of Cancer

Chinnasamy S Wargo JA Yu Z et al

Journal of Immunology,2011;186(2):685-696

Inhibition of Histone Lysine Methylation Facilitates De-repression of Cancer-Testis Genes in Lung Cancer Cells: Implications for Adoptive Immunotherapy of Cancer.

Rao M Chinnasamy S Hong JA et al

Cancer Research, 2011; 71(12):4192-4204

Cigarette Smoke Induces Expression of the Putative Stem Cell Marker ABCG2 in Cultured Esophageal Adenocarcinoma Cells

Zhang M Mathur A Zhang Y et al

Cancer Research, 2012 Aug 15;72(16):4178-4192

Depletion of Polycomb Repressor Complex-2 Inhibits the Malignant Phenotype of Pleural Mesothelioma Cells in vitro and in vivo

Kemp CD Rao M Hong JA et al

Clinical Cancer Research, 2012 Jan 1;18(1):77-90

Aryl hydrocarbon receptor-induced adrenomedullin mediates cigarette smoke carcinogenicity in humans and mice

Portal S Shankavaram U Rao M et al

Cancer Research, 2012 Nov 15;72(22):5790-5800.

A rapid ultra HPLC-MS/MS method for the quantitation and pharmacokinetic analysis of 3-deazaneplanocin A in mice

Peer CJ Rao M et al

J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2013 May 15;927:142-6

MicroRNA-24 regulates XIAP to reduce the apoptosis threshold in cancer cells

Xie Y Tobin LA Camps J et al

Oncogene, 2013 May 9;32(19):2442-51

BACH2 represses effector programs to stabilize T(reg)-mediated immune homeostasis

Roychoudhuri R Hirahara K Mousavi K et al

Nature, 2013 Jun 27;498(7455):506-10

Frequency and Potential Clinical Relevance of Telomerase Complex Mutations in Esophageal Cancer

Zhang Y Calado R Cabrera-Pérez J et al

PLoS One, 2014 Jul 1;9(7):e101010

A Novel Murine T Cell Receptor Targeting NY- ESO-1

Rosati SF Parkhurst M Hong Y et al

Journal of Immunotherapy, 2014 Apr; 37(3):135-46

Mithramycin Depletes Specificity Protein 1 and Activates p53 to Mediate Senescence and Apoptosis of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Cells

Rao M Atay S Shukla V et al

Clinical Cancer Research, 2016 Mar 1;22(5):1197-210

Metabolic-sorting of cells with enhanced stem-like properties for cell therapy

Sukumar M Liu J Mehta GU et al

Cell Metabolism, 2016 Jan 12; 23(1):63-76