Sankar Ghosh is an immunologist and biochemist, who is the Chairman and Silverstein & Hutt Family Professor of the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at Columbia University. Ghosh is best known for his research on the activation of cellular responses via NF-kB, a transcription factor that plays a critical role in regulating the expression of a large number of genes involved in the mammalian immune system. Ghosh was born in Jorhat, Assam, India, and completed his schooling in Darjeeling, India. He graduated from RKMR College in Kolkata, India with a B.Sc. in Chemistry, and obtained his M.Sc. in Biochemistry from Calcutta University, India. In 1988, he obtained a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York. His transition into immunology occurred during his postdoctoral research training with Dr. David Baltimore at Whitehead Institute, MIT, where he began his work on NF-kB. He initiated his independent research career in 1991 in the Department of Immunobiology at Yale University, and in 2007 was recruited to Columbia University as the Chairman of the Department of Microbiology & Immunology.

Research Interests

Dr. Ghosh's research has primarily focused on the role of the transcription factor NF-kB in activation and function of immune cells in innate and adaptive immunity. His work helped delineate signaling pathways that lead to NF-kB activation, and helped elucidate how this transcription factor is regulated. His contributions began with the first cloning and characterization of NF-kB and IkB proteins, demonstration of the critical role of IkB phosphorylation leading to IkB degradation, and NF-kB phosphorylation leading to enhanced NF-kB transcriptional activity. He contributed to studies revealing the structures of NF-kB and IkB proteins, and defining their biological role in the regulation of apoptosis. Dr. Ghosh expanded our understanding of NF-kB function through discovering their role in lymphocyte development and function. He established a key role of NF-kB in T-regulatory cells, and demonstrated the targeting of NF-kB c-Rel as a strategy for enhancing tumor immunity. He identified new receptors of the TLR family and discovered the role of inducible ROS in pathogen clearance in TLR activated macrophages. Finally, Dr. Ghosh has also contributed to the development of pharmacological approaches to inhibiting NF-kB for therapeutic applications.

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Primary Section

Section 43: Immunology and Inflammation

Secondary Section

Section 41: Medical Genetics, Hematology, and Oncology