University of Nebraska Medical Center

Dr. Yelamanchili's Laboratory

Photo of a latex glove covered hand holding a test tube

Sowmya Yelamanchili, PhD, aims to understand the role of regulatory molecules such as genes, proteins, and microRNAs in the pathogenesis of neurological disorders and drug addiction.

Methamphetamine and related amphetamine compounds, which are potent psychostimulants, are among the most commonly used illicit drugs. With more than 35 million users worldwide, meth abuse poses significant health and economic threats globally. Acute and chronic doses of meth have been shown to produce long-term damage in many brain regions. However, the mechanisms underlying meth neurotoxicity are still not known. An important and emerging player is extracellular vesicles and their role in chronic meth abuse.

Extracellular vesicles have been garnering increasing interest for their role in several neurological disorders and understanding their role in the brain during drug abuse is just beginning to emerge. EVs can release their cargo into target cells and trigger downstream signaling pathways.

Our studies have revealed that EV-associated microRNA cargo can be responsible for neuronal injury. However, EV miRNA cargo and their involvement in meth-associated neurotoxicity are poorly understood, thus warranting further studies in this direction. We are particularly interested in understanding the effect of such EV-carried miRNAs on neurons. We have successfully used various model systems including human biospecimens, rhesus macaques, rodent models and in vitro work to study the pathogenesis in the brain.

Present work in my laboratory focuses on investigating the role of extracellular vesicles and their microRNA cargo in chronic methamphetamine abuse and during HIV infection.

Apart from the projects highlighted above, my laboratory is also interested in studying the long-term effects of prescription drugs (pain medications and anesthetics) on the brain. To study these effects, we are developing both animal and in vitro models in the laboratory.

Lab Personnel

Sowmya Yelamanchili, PhD

Associate Professor
Research Faculty


Sowmya Yelamanchili, PhD, headshot
Adrian Domene Rubio, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Adrian Domene Rubio, PhD, headshot
Jessica Ware

Research Technologist I

Jessica Ware, headshot
Jina Yi

Graduate Research Assistant

Jina Yi, headshot

Lab Alumni

Austin Gowen

Graduate Student

Katherine Odegaard

Graduate Research Assistant

Mason Savine

Research Technologist

Farah Shahjin

Graduate Research Assistant

Sydney Wheeler

SURP, Summer 2020 Intern

Research Interests
  • Amphetamine/Opioids
  • Addiction
  • Chronic Inflammation
  • Stem cells and brain organoids
  • MicroRNAs and HIV/HAND
  • Extracellular Vesicles
Lab Techniques
  • Tissue-Derived Extracellular Vesicles
  • Immunostaining and In-Situ Hybridization
  • Small Rna Sequencing
  • High Throughput Qrt-Pcr Assays
  • In Vitro Primary Cultures: Neuronal, Glial, Microglia, and Macrophage
  • Reprogramming Fibroblasts to Neuronal Stem Cells
  • Brain Organoid Cultures
  • Behavioral Models of Pain And Addiction


Cerebral Organoid and IPSC Derived Microglia: Modeling of HIV and Methamphetamine Co-morbidity
Study Period: Sept. 2022 - July 2023
PI: Yelamanchili

Role of extracellular vesicles in methamphetamine-induced neurotoxicity
Study Period: Sept. 2016 - June 2021
PI: Yelamanchili
NIH/NIDA- R01 DA042379

Sex specific brain derived EVs as potential markers for nicotine addiction
Study Period: July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022
PI: Yelamanchili
Source: NE DHHS - LB506

Subash Chand, PhD, Jina Yi, Jessica Ware, Sowmya Yelamanchili, PhD, Austin Gowen


Jina Yi


Subash Chand, PhD


Austin Gowen


Sowmya Yelamanchili, PhD