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Nishadi Rajapakse, Ph.D.

Gene Environment Interactions Group

Nishadi Rajapakse, Ph.D.
Nishadi Rajapakse, Ph.D.
IRTA Fellow

Tel (919) 316-4531
Fax (919) 541-7560

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Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709
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Nishadi Rajapakse, Ph.D., is an IRTA Fellow in the Gene-Environment Interactions Group in the Clinical Research Program. She is currently conducting several case-control studies to test for genotype-phenotype associations between various ZFP36 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and autoimmune (rheumatoid arthritis, sepsis) and cardiovascular diseases. ZFP36 (Zinc Finger Protein-36) codes for a protein that regulates tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) by binding and destabilizing TNF-α message.

As a Salem scholar, Rajapakse obtained her B.S. (Honors) in chemistry and mathematics from Salem College, Winston Salem, North Carolina. As an undergraduate, she conducted research in asthma and inflammatory diseases, involving the isolation and characterization of various isoforms of phospholipase A2 (sPLA2, cPLA2), key protein in the immune response.

Rajapakse received her Ph.D. in molecular medicine from Wake Forest University School of Medicine, where she examined the role of mitochondria in brain injury following ischemia/reperfusion in a neonatal rat model of hypoxia-ischemia. These studies lead to targeting brain mitochondria as a novel approach to neuroprotection, using pharmacological approaches (i.e. mitochondrial ATP-sensitive potassium channel opener-diazoxide and SOD mimetic-M40401) in brain injury models.

She is listed as an author in 25 research articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and one book chapter. She is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, American Chemical Society and Beta Beta Beta (Biology National Honor Society). Department of Health & Human Services National Institutes of Health
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