Daniel R. Premkumar, PhD

  • Research Assistant Professor

Prior to joining the faculty of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh in 2008, Daniel R. Premkumar, PhD, was a senior scientist at a biotechnology company. He graduated from Madurai Kamaraj University in India where he earned his masters and doctorate degrees. Dr. Premkumar then completed his post-doctoral training at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Dr. Premkumar has published more than 50 papers in refereed journals and has been awarded patents to characterize protein-protein interaction biosensors for cellular systems biology profiling. He is currently examining the efficacy of promising various receptor inhibitors, for inhibiting glioma proliferation in vitro, using genotypically diverse panel of malignant glioma cell lines to identify potential genotype-response associations.

Dr. Premkumar's publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine's publication database.

Specialized Areas of Interest

Major research emphasis is directed towards understanding the molecular mechanisms of receptor tyrosine kinase inhibition and signaling in malignant human glioma cell lines.

Professional Organization Membership

American Association for Cancer Research
American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

Education & Training

  • BS, Biology, Madura College, 1982
  • MS, Animal Sciences, Madurai Kamaraji University, 1984
  • PhD, Entomology, Madurai Kamaraji University, 1990

Research Activities

Malignant gliomas are the most common, highly infiltrative, rapidly growing tumors of the central nervous system (CNS) in both children and adults with no cure and few treatment options. Recent studies have demonstrated the existence of multiple tumor subgroups within the broad category of high-grade gliomas, which differ in terms of their molecular characteristics and demographic features. Increased activation of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), among others have been well-characterized in GBM. Although many novel small molecules that target the “survival nodes” of gliomas are now in clinical trials, it appears that even those tumors that respond initially exhibit a tendency to acquire resistance and recur. Using established cell lines, Dr. Premkumar is evaluating combination therapy of clinically validated drug compounds, that were recently shown to be efficacious. His research group is also focused on the identification and characterization of resistance to the combination therapy with the goal of leveraging the mechanistic insights gained to optimize therapeutic strategies involving this promising combination for glioma and extend knowledge on the regulation of different factors that contribute GBM malignancy.