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.

A native of southern California, Suren Ambegaokar graduated with a B.A. from UC Berkeley in 2003, 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 enrolled in the Neuroscience Ph.D. program at UCLA and completed his degree in 2009, 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 his research with Dr. Jackson as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, TX for 2 years, after Dr. Jackson was recruited as the director of the Mitchell Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases at UTMB. 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, for 2 years 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-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
  • Sigma virus (Rhabdoviridae) & HIV-1 (Lentiviridae)
  • Autophagy


Molecular Biology of Viruses

Medical & Medicinal Mycology

Introduction to Neuroscience

Neurobehavioral Genetics

Molecular & Cellular Neuroscience


Seminar: HIV in the Antiretroviral Era

Selected Publications

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