Dr. Ponnusamy is recipient of 2018 Gilmore Award

by Elizabeth Kumru, UNMC public relations | March 05, 2018

Image with caption: Moorthy Ponnusamy, Ph.D.

Moorthy Ponnusamy, Ph.D.

Cancer is sneaky.

Anyone who has had cancer go into remission, only to have it return with a vengeance years later and spread to other organs, knows that.

Sneaky cancer stem cells are to blame and Moorthy Ponnusamy, Ph.D., assistant professor and research scientist in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology, has discovered a novel biomarker to find them in pancreatic and ovarian cancer.

For his breakthrough research, Dr. Ponnusamy will be presented the 2018 Joseph P. and Harriet K. Gilmore Distinguished New Investigator Award at a ceremony at 2:30 p.m., March 15 in the Eppley Science Hall Amphitheater. A reception will follow in the lobby.

"I am proud and honored to receive this award," he said. "Junior researchers like me are encouraged to know that hard work is recognized."

And work hard is all Dr. Ponnusamy has done since he arrived at UNMC in 2006. He was inspired by his mentor, Surinder Batra, Ph.D., chair and Stokes-Shackleford professor, biochemistry and molecular biology.

"Dr. Batra taught us that hard work never fails," Dr. Ponnusamy said. "Without him, I may not have gotten so far." Dr. Batra, in fact, set him on the path of researching pancreatic cancer.

In 2009, Dr. Ponnusamy discovered the novel role of PD2 in the maintenance of pluripotency and self-renewal of mouse embryonic stem cells. Dr. Ponnusamy is now investigating what impact PD2 has on the maintenance of drug-resistance and self-renewal of cancer stem cells in pancreatic and ovarian cancer. "I expect this marker to be present in other cancers.

"Identification of cancer stem cell specific novel maintenance marker PD2 will provide critical information for the long-term goal of developing novel targeted therapy for cancer stem cells that will help to manage this lethal disease," Dr. Ponnusamy said.

Hard work and innovation have made Dr. Ponnusamy successful and distinguished. Earlier this year he was named a UNMC New Investigator. Since his arrival at UNMC in 2006, he has received the UNMC Postdoctoral Scholar of the Year Award for 2010, Best Performance Stipends from the UNMC Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2007, 2008 and 2009, and a Chancellor's Council Silver "U" Award in 2014.

His work ethic was engrained at his father's knee where he also learned the values of honesty and sincerity. Science he learned from his mentors Dr. Devaraj Hallagowder and Dr. Niranjali Sivasithambaram in India and a devotion to research he learned from Dr. Batra. He would like to thank his students and post docs for the hard work and support. Of course, there are many people he works with in and out of the lab who have given him great support.

"I can't thank them all enough," he said.


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Chakravarthy nallathambi
March 06, 2018 at 5:04 AM

Wow, amazing. Many Congratulations sir.

Perumal Madan Kumar
March 05, 2018 at 10:21 PM

Many congratulations sir

Priyanka Vaz
March 05, 2018 at 4:56 PM

Hearty Congratulations Moorthy !

Imayavaramban Lakshmanan
March 05, 2018 at 4:35 PM

Congratulations Moorthy.

Karthikeyan chellamuthu
March 05, 2018 at 1:27 PM

Congratulations Moorthy ...

March 05, 2018 at 11:47 AM

Congratulations,wish you more success in future !!!!!!

Srijayaprakash Uppada (JP)
March 05, 2018 at 11:02 AM

Congratulations :)

Shashank Shrishrimal
March 05, 2018 at 10:18 AM

Congratulations!!! :)

Srikanth Barkeer
March 05, 2018 at 10:15 AM

Hearty Congratulations Dr. Moorthy

Dhanya Haridas
March 05, 2018 at 10:14 AM

Congratulations Moorthy!! Very well deserved!

March 05, 2018 at 9:04 AM

Congratulations Moorthy

March 05, 2018 at 8:57 AM

Hearty Congratulations Moorthy

Rama Krishna Nimmakayala
March 05, 2018 at 8:23 AM

Congratulations sir.

March 05, 2018 at 8:19 AM

Congratulations Moorthy

Ravi Dyavar
March 05, 2018 at 7:21 AM

Hearty Congratulations Ponnusamy for your achievement that is well deserved. Wish you more success in future!

Maneesh Jain
March 05, 2018 at 6:16 AM

Proud of you Moorthy!! Many more to come in future Maneesh