Suren S. Ambegaokar

David O. Robbins Assistant Professor of Neuroscience & Microbiology


B.A., University of California, Berkeley

Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

NIH Post-doctoral Fellowship (Neurovirology), University of Pennsylvania


Suren Ambegaokar studies neurodegenerative disorders, infectious diseases of the nervous system, and the intersection of the two. He uses genetic models of human diseases in Drosophila (fruit flies) for use in identifying molecular mechanisms of pathology and to test pharmacological and genetic modifiers of disease. His current projects focus on the molecular pathology of Alzheimer disease - specifically the protein MAP Tau - and the role of RNA interference in regulating Rhabdovirus infections in neurons and non-neuronal cells. 

A native of southern California, Suren Ambegaokar graduated with a B.A. from UC Berkeley with a double-major in Molecular & Cell Biology (Neurobiology) and Film Studies. After college, he worked as a research associate in the lab of Greg Cole at UCLA studying molecular mechanisms of Alzheimer disease in transgenic mouse models and human brain tissue. He later enrolled in the Neuroscience Ph.D. program at UCLA under the mentorship of George Jackson. His dissertation work focused on human genetics and Drosophila models of neurodegeneration, specifically as related to the protein, Tau. Dr. Ambegaokar continued this research as a post-doctoral fellow after Dr. Jackson was recruited as the director of the Mitchell Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, TX. As studies into inflammation and immunology in the brain were providing many needed insights into neurodegenerative diseases, Dr. Ambegaokar studied HIV infection in the brain under a NIH postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA, under the mentorship of Dennis Kolson. In 2014, Dr. Ambegaokar started as an assistant professor of Neuroscience and Microbiology at Ohio Wesleyan University, serving in both the Department of Botany and Microbiology and the David O. Robbins Program in Neuroscience.

Professor Ambegaokar loves to travel, and you can stop by his office to borrow travel books on Chile, Scotland, India, Pakistan, China, and Guatemala (among others), or stop by for any other discussions on classic and foreign films. He lives with his wife and their 4 amazing cats in Lewis Center, OH.

Areas of Interest/Expertise

  • RNA biology & RNA-binding proteins
  • Cell signaling pathways
  • Tauopathies:  Alzheimer disease, Frontotemporal Dementia, ALS
  • Innate immunity of the brain
  • Rhabdoviridae (VSV, Sigma, Rabies) & HIV-1 (Lentiviridae)
  • Autophagy


Molecular Biology of Viruses

Medical & Medicinal Mycology

Introduction to Neuroscience

Molecular & Cellular Neuroscience

Genomics & Genetic Diseases


Seminar: HIV in the Antiretroviral Era

Seminar: Neuroimmunology

Seminar: Circadian Rhythms

Selected Publications

Kovacsics CE, Gill AJ, Ambegaokar SS, Gelman BB, Kolson DL (2017). "Degradation of heme oxygenase-1 by the immunoproteaosome in astrocytes: A potential interferon-gamma dependent mechanism contributing to HIV pathogenesis." Glia, 65(8): 1264-1277.

Ambegaokar SS and Kolson DL (2014). “Heme oxygenase-1 dysregulation in the brain: implications for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders.” Current HIV Research, 12(3): 174-88.

Choksi D, Roy B, Chatterjee S, Yuseff T, Bakhoum M, Sengupta U, Ambegaokar SS, Kayed R, Jackson GR (2013). “TDP-43 Phosphorylation by Casein Kinase Iε Promotes Oligomerization and Enhances Toxicity In Vivo.” Human Molecular Genetics, 23(4): 1025-35; doi:10.1093/hmg/ddt498.

Ambegaokar SS and Jackson GR (2012). “The downward spiral of tau and autolysosomes: a new hypothesis in neurodegeneration.” Autophagy, 8(7): 1144-5; doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddr432.

Ambegaokar SS and Jackson GR (2011). “Functional Genomic Screen and Network Analysis Reveal Novel Modifiers of Tauopathy Dissociated from Tau Phosphorylation.” Human Molecular Genetics, 20(24): 4947-77; doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddr432.

Ambegaokar SS and Jackson GR (2011). “Double vision: Pigment genes do more than just color.” Fly, 5(3): 206-9.

Ambegaokar SS and Jackson GR (2010). “Interaction between eye pigment genes and tau-induced neurodegeneration in Drosophila melanogaster.” Genetics, 186(1): 435-42.

Ambegaokar SS, Roy B, Jackson GR (2010). “Neurodegenerative models in Drosophila: polyglutamine Disorders, Parkinson Disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.” Neurobiol Disease, 40(1): 29-39.

Zhao L, Ma QL, Calon F, Harris-White ME, Yang F, Lim GP, Morihara T, Ubeda OJ, Ambegaokar S, Hansen JE, Weisbart RH, Teter B, Frautschy SA, Cole GM (2006). “Role of p21-activated kinase pathway defects in the cognitive deficits of Alzheimer disease.” Nature Neurosci, 9(2): 234-42.

Ma Q, Lim G, Harris-White M, Yang F, Ambegaokar S, Ubeda O, Glabe C, Teter B, Frautschy S, Cole G (2006). “Antibodies against beta-amyloid reduce Abeta oligomers, glycogen synthase kinase-3beta activation and tau phosphorylation in vivo and in vitro.” J Neurosci Res, 83(3): 374-384.

Yang F, Lim GP, Begum AN, Ubeda OJ, Simmons MR, Ambegaokar SS, Chen PP, Kayed R, Glabe CG, Frautschy SA, Cole GM (2005). “Curcumin inhibits formation of amyloid beta oligomers and fibrils, binds plaques, and reduces amyloid in vivo.” J Biological Chemistry, 280(7): 5892-901.

Zhao L, Teter B, Morihara T, Lim GP, Ambegaokar SS, Ubeda OJ, Frautschy SA, Cole GM (2004). “Insulin-degrading enzyme as a downstream target of insulin receptor signaling cascade: implications for Alzheimer's disease intervention.” J Neuroscience, 24(49): 11120-6.

Contact Info


Schimmel/Conrades Science Center #341
Ohio Wesleyan University
Delaware, OH 43015
P 740-368-3915