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Paul Pown Raj Iyyanar, Ph.D. candidate

Trainee spotlight: Paul Pown Raj Iyyanar

Paul’s research program focuses on investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in cleft palate pathogenesis.

Bio

Paul Pown Raj Iyyanar is a Ph.D. candidate at the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition. He obtained his M.Sc. in Biotechnology from University of Madras, India in 2009. After his Masters, he worked as a Junior Research Fellow in India until August 2011. He was inspired by the research in Dr. Adil Nazarali’s Laboratory of Molecular Cell Biology and joined his lab in September 2011 as a graduate student. He later transferred to the Ph.D. program in September 2013. Paul is currently supervised by Dr. Jane Alcorn. 

Research

Paul’s research program focuses on investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in cleft palate pathogenesis. In particular, he is studying the involvement of bone differentiation in normal and cleft palate manifestation using Hoxa2 null mice. His research aims to advance the existing knowledge in mechanisms of palate development for future prevention and therapy for cleft palate.

During his graduate program, Paul has won several presentation awards, including one of the best student poster awards at the Society for Craniofacial Genetics and Developmental Biology annual meeting in Baltimore, MD, USA in 2015 and a National level best graduate student poster award at the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada annual meeting in 2015. For three years in a row from 2015-2017, he has won the best poster award in Cell Biology stream at Life and Health Sciences Research Day, at U of S. During his program, Paul was awarded several scholarships, namely Apotex Graduate Award in Pharmacy (2014), Graduate Research Fellowship (2012 and 2015), Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunity Scholarship (2012 and 2014) and a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (2013) and Graduate Service Award (2015 and 2016).

With the help and encouragement of his mentor Dr. Nazarali, Paul recently wrote a successful grant and was awarded a 2017 Subtelny Orthodontic Clinical Research Grant by American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association, NC, USA, with a grant of US$ 5,000 to support his research on cleft palate pathogenesis. Paul is currently working on publishing his manuscripts from the Ph.D. program before moving to future endeavours.

Journal articles

  1. Tara M. Smith, Scott Lozanoff, Paul P.R. Iyyanar and Adil J. Nazarali (2012). Molecular signaling along the anterior-posterior axis of early palate development. Frontiers in Physiology, 3:488.
  2. Paul P.R. Iyyanar and Adil J. Nazarali. Hoxa2 inhibits bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling during osteogenic differentiation of the palatal mesenchyme. Manuscript to be submitted to Frontiers in Physiology.
  3. Paul P.R. Iyyanar and Adil J. Nazarali. Htra1 is a direct downstream target of Hoxa2 during osteoblast differentiation. Manuscript to be submitted to Journal of Molecular Cell Biology.
  4. Dennis O. Okello, Paul P.R. Iyyanar, William M. Kulyk, Tara M. Smith, Shaoping Ji, Scott Lozanoff and Adil J. Nazarali. Six2 plays an intrinsic role in regulating proliferation of mesenchymal cells in the developing palate. Manuscript to be submitted to Frontiers in Physiology.

Conference Presentations

  1. Iyyanar, P., Nazarali, A.J. Htra1 is a direct target of Runx2 during osteoblast differentiation. Presented at 40th Annual meeting of the Society of Craniofacial Genetics and Developmental Biology at Minneapolis, MN, USA on July 12th, 2017.
  1. Iyyanar, P., Nazarali, A.J. Htra1 is a direct downstream target of Runx2 during osteoblast differentiation. Presented at the Life and Health Sciences Research Expo, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon SK, May 4th -5th, 2017 and Won the Best Poster Presentation Award in Cell Biology stream.
  1. Iyyanar, P., Nazarali, A.J.  Hoxa2 inhibits mesenchymal cell proliferation and osteoblast differentiation in the developing palate by regulating Bmp signaling. Presented at the 23rd Annual Life and Health Science Research Day, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon SK, March 11th, 2016 and Won the Best Poster Presentation Award in Cell Biology stream. 
  1. Iyyanar, P., Nazarali, A.J. Hoxa2 regulates osteoblast differentiation in the palatal mesenchyme by modulating Bmp signaling in the developing palate. Presented at 38th Annual meeting of the Society of Craniofacial Genetics and Developmental Biology at Baltimore MD, USA on August 4th, 2015 and Won 2015 SCGDB Annual Meeting Student Poster Presentation Award.
  1. Iyyanar, P., Nazarali, A.J. Role of Hoxa2 in regulating osteoblast differentiation during palate development. Presented at Canadian Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences meeting 2015 at Toronto on May 26th-28th 2015 and Won National Level Best Poster Award.
  1. Iyyanar, P., Nazarali, A.J. Hoxa2 regulates osteoblast differentiation during palate development. Presented at the 22nd Annual Life and Health Science Research Day, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon SK, March 13th, 2015 and Won the Best Poster Presentation Award in Cell Biology stream.
  1. Okello, D., Iyyanar, P., Smith, TM., Nazarali, A.J. Six2 gene expression along the Anterior-Posterior axis of the developing murine secondary palate. Presented at 37th Annual meeting of the Society of Craniofacial Genetic and Developmental Biology at San Diego, CA, USA on October 18th, 2014.
  1. Okello, D., Iyyanar, P., Smith, TM., Nazarali, A.J. Six2 gene is differentially expressed in the epithelia and mesenchyme of the developing secondary palatePresented at the annual meeting of Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada (AFPC) 2014, Saskatoon SK.
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