Antony MichealRaj, PhD

  • Assistant Professor

Antony MichealRaj, PhD, joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurological Surgery in September of 2021.  

Dr. MichealRaj graduated from the Madurai Kamaraj University in 2004 with a bachelor of science degree in zoology. He then earned his master of science degree in biotechnology in 2007 from the University of Madras and PhD in genetics in 2014 from the University of Delhi where he functionally characterized the rare and common variants of dopaminergic pathway genes associated with schizophrenia. He subsequently completed his postdoctoral training at the Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumor Research Centre at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. While at SickKids, Dr. MichealRaj established patient derived disease models and unraveled the underlying disease mechanism, metabolic pathways that rewire the epigenetic landscape of lethal infantile ependymomas.

Dr. MichealRaj laboratory research goals are to use the cutting edge next-generation sequencing methods, molecular biology, and metabolomics to gain a fundamental understanding of brain tumor biology, with a primary focus on pediatric gliomas, ependymomas, and atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (ATRT). Specific aims are:

  1. Use next-generation multi-Omics profiling strategies to identify and validate novel molecular mechanisms in rare brain tumors and mechanisms of treatment resistance, 
  2. Advance our understanding of cancer metabolism by identifying the nutrient demands of the brain tumors, in order to uncover druggable metabolic targets, and
  3. Unravel the genetic, epigenetic, and metabolic vulnerabilities of childhood and adult brain tumors using advanced functional genomics approaches to pinpoint the novel and specific therapeutic options.

Our research group is looking for postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduate students for exciting research projects on cancer metabolism and genomics. Interested candidates should contact directly through micheala@pitt.edu.

Specialized Areas of Interest

Functional genomics and metabolism of pediatric and adolescent central nervous system tumors.

Professional Organization Membership

American Association for Cancer Research
Children's Brain Tumor Consortium
International Society of Pediatric Oncology
Society of Neuro-Oncology

Education & Training

  • BSc, Zoology, Madurai Kamaraj University, 2004
  • MSc, Biotechnology, Loyola College, University of Madras, 2007
  • PhD, Genetics, University of Delhi, 2014
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, 2021

Honors & Awards

  • Mitacs Elevate Postdoctoral Fellowship, Government of Canada, 2018
  • Travel Grant, Department of Science and Technology, India, 2014
  • Travel Grant, Indian Council Medical Research, India, 2013
  • Senior Research Fellowship-Project, Department of Biotechnology, India, 2010
  • Junior Research Fellowship-Project, Department of Biotechnology, India, 2007
  • University Rank Holder (Top 10), Madurai Kamaraj University, India, 2014

Selected Publications

Donovan LK, Delaidelli A, Joseph SK, Bielamowicz K, Fousek K, Holgado BL, Manno A, Srikanthan D, Gad AZ, Van Ommeren R, Przelicki D, Richman C, Ramaswamy V, Daniels C, Pallota JG, Douglas T, Joynt ACM, Haapasalo J, Nor C, Vladoiu MC, Kuzan-Fischer CM, Garzia L, Mack SC, Varadharajan S, Baker ML, Hendrikse L, Ly M, Kharas K, Balin P, Wu X, Qin L, Huang N, Stucklin AG, Morrissy AS, Cavalli FMG, Luu B, Suarez R, De Antonellis P, Michealraj A, Rastan A, Hegde M, Komosa M, Sirbu O, Kumar SA, Abdullaev Z, Faria CC, Yip S, Hukin J, Tabori U, Hawkins C, Aldape K, Daugaard M, Maris JM, Sorensen PH, Ahmed N, Taylor MD. Author Correction: Locoregional delivery of CAR T cells to the cerebrospinal fluid for treatment of metastatic medulloblastoma and ependymoma. Nat Med 27(6):1117-1120, 2021. 

Michealraj KA, Kumar SA, Kim LJY, Cavalli FMG, Przelicki D, Wojcik JB, Delaidelli A, Bajic A, Saulnier O, MacLeod G, Vellanki RN, Vladoiu MC, Guilhamon P, Ong W, Lee JJY, Jiang Y, Holgado BL, Rasnitsyn A, Malik AA, Tsai R, Richman CM, Juraschka K, Haapasalo J, Wang EY, De Antonellis P, Suzuki H, Farooq H, Balin P, Kharas K, Van Ommeren R, Sirbu O, Rastan A, Krumholtz SL, Ly M, Ahmadi M, Deblois G, Srikanthan D, Luu B, Loukides J, Wu X, Garzia L, Ramaswamy V, Kanshin E, Sánchez-Osuna M, El-Hamamy I, Coutinho FJ, Prinos P, Singh S, Donovan LK, Daniels C, Schramek D, Tyers M, Weiss S, Stein LD, Lupien M, Wouters BG, Garcia BA, Arrowsmith CH, Sorensen PH, Angers S, Jabado N, Dirks PB, Mack SC, Agnihotri S, Rich JN, Taylor MD. Metabolic Regulation of the Epigenome Drives Lethal Infantile Ependymoma. Cell 181(6):1329-1345.e24, 2020. 

Vladoiu MC, El-Hamamy I, Donovan LK, Farooq H, Holgado BL, Sundaravadanam Y, Ramaswamy V, Hendrikse LD, Kumar S, Mack SC, Lee JJY, Fong V, Juraschka K, Przelicki D, Michealraj A, Skowron P, Luu B, Suzuki H, Morrissy AS, Cavalli FMG, Garzia L, Daniels C, Wu X, Qazi MA, Singh SK, Chan JA, Marra MA, Malkin D, Dirks P, Heisler L, Pugh T, Ng K, Notta F, Thompson EM, Kleinman CL, Joyner AL, Jabado N, Stein L, Taylor MD. Childhood cerebellar tumours mirror conserved fetal transcriptional programs. Nature 72(7767):67-73, 2019. 

Mack SC, Pajtler KW, Chavez L, Okonechnikov K, Bertrand KC, Wang X, Erkek S, Federation A, Song A, Lee C, Wang X, McDonald L, Morrow JJ, Saiakhova A, Sin-Chan P, Wu Q, Michaelraj KA, Miller TE, Hubert CG, Ryzhova M, Garzia L, Donovan L, Dombrowski S, Factor DC, Luu B, Valentim CLL, Gimple RC, Morton A, Kim L, Prager BC, Lee JJY, Wu X, Zuccaro J, Thompson Y, Holgado BL, Reimand J, Ke SQ, Tropper A, Lai S, Vijayarajah S, Doan S, Mahadev V, Miñan AF, Gröbner SN, Lienhard M, Zapatka M, Huang Z, Aldape KD, Carcaboso AM, Houghton PJ, Keir ST, Milde T, Witt H, Li Y, Li CJ, Bian XW, Jones DTW, Scott I, Singh SK, Huang A, Dirks PB, Bouffet E, Bradner JE, Ramaswamy V, Jabado N, Rutka JT, Northcott PA, Lupien M, Lichter P, Korshunov A, Scacheri PC, Pfister SM, Kool M, Taylor MD, Rich JN. Therapeutic targeting of ependymoma as informed by oncogenic enhancer profiling. Nature 553(7686):101-105, 2018.

Morrissy AS, Garzia L, Shih DJ, Zuyderduyn S, Huang X, Skowron P, Remke M, Cavalli FM, Ramaswamy V, Lindsay PE, Jelveh S, Donovan LK, Wang X, Luu B, Zayne K, Li Y, Mayoh C, Thiessen N, Mercier E, Mungall KL, Ma Y, Tse K, Zeng T, Shumansky K, Roth AJ, Shah S, Farooq H, Kijima N, Holgado BL, Lee JJ, Matan-Lithwick S, Liu J, Mack SC, Manno A, Michealraj KA, Nor C, Peacock J, Qin L, Reimand J, Rolider A, Thompson YY, Wu X, Pugh T, Ally A, Bilenky M, Butterfield YS, Carlsen R, Cheng Y, Chuah E, Corbett RD, Dhalla N, He A, Lee D, Li HI, Long W, Mayo M, Plettner P, Qian JQ, Schein JE, Tam A, Wong T, Birol I, Zhao Y, Faria CC, Pimentel J, Nunes S, Shalaby T, Grotzer M, Pollack IF, Hamilton RL, Li XN, Bendel AE, Fults DW, Walter AW, Kumabe T, Tominaga T, Collins VP, Cho YJ, Hoffman C, Lyden D, Wisoff JH, Garvin JH Jr, Stearns DS, Massimi L, Schüller U, Sterba J, Zitterbart K, Puget S, Ayrault O, Dunn SE, Tirapelli DP, Carlotti CG, Wheeler H, Hallahan AR, Ingram W, MacDonald TJ, Olson JJ, Van Meir EG, Lee JY, Wang KC, Kim SK, Cho BK, Pietsch T, Fleischhack G, Tippelt S, Ra YS, Bailey S, Lindsey JC, Clifford SC, Eberhart CG, Cooper MK, Packer RJ, Massimino M, Garre ML, Bartels U, Tabori U, Hawkins CE, Dirks P, Bouffet E, Rutka JT, Wechsler-Reya RJ, Weiss WA, Collier LS, Dupuy AJ, Korshunov A, Jones DT, Kool M, Northcott PA, Pfister SM, Largaespada DA, Mungall AJ, Moore RA, Jabado N, Bader GD, Jones SJ, Malkin D, Marra MA, Taylor MD. Divergent clonal selection dominates medulloblastoma at recurrence. Nature 529(7586):351-7, 2016.

Michealraj KA, Jatana N, Jafurulla, Narayanan L, Chattopadhyay A, Thelma BK. Functional characterization of rare variants in human dopamine receptor D4 gene by genotype-phenotype correlations. Neuroscience 262:176-89, 2014.

Geetha TS, Michealraj KA, Kabra M, Kaur G, Juyal RC, Thelma BK. Targeted deep resequencing identifies MID2 mutation for X-linked intellectual disability with varied disease severity in large kindred from India. Hum Mutat 35(1):41-4, 2014.

Ahmad T, Aggarwal K, Pattnaik B, Mukherjee S, Sethi T, Tiwari BK, Kumar M, Micheal A, Mabalirajan U, Ghosh B, Sinha Roy S, Agrawal A. Computational classification of mitochondrial shapes reflects stress and redox state. Cell Death Dis 4(1): e461, 2013.

A complete list of Dr. Michealraj’s publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine's publication database.