Innovative Scientist Appointed to Metabolism and Aging Department

By Eric Sauter

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has appointed Anutosh Chakraborty as an assistant professor in the Department of Metabolism and Aging. Chakraborty joined the Scripps Florida faculty early this month.

Before coming to Scripps Florida, Chakraborty was affiliated with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD.

“It is my great pleasure to welcome Anutosh to the department,” said Roy Smith, chair of the Department of Metabolism and Aging. “His research at Johns Hopkins was extraordinary and led to new insights into the functions of inositol pyrophophates (IP7) and associated IP6 kinases in cancer and metabolic disorders. At Scripps, he will focus on elucidating related molecular mechanisms regulating glucose and lipid homeostasis and exploiting this information to identify therapeutic targets for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. We look forward to working with him.”

“I’m very excited to join the Scripps Florida faculty,” said Chakraborty, who lives in Jupiter with his wife, Molee, and 8-year-old daughter, Driptaa. “It’s an institute of repute having dynamic and outstanding faculty, not to mention some exceptional resources, particularly the high-throughput screening core. Not too many places have that—it was one of my real points of interest in coming here. In addition to being authorities in their respective fields, the faculty members are very welcoming and I look forward to many productive collaborations.”

Chakraborty received his bachelor’s degree in Zoology from the University of Burdwan, India, in 1995 and a master’s degree in 1997 from the same institution. He was awarded a PhD from the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology in 2005. He conducted postdoctoral work at Johns Hopkins, and then became a research instructor there.

In 1998, Chakraborty was awarded a Lectureship after qualifying in the Joint Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), India, and the University Grants Commission National Eligibility Test. He received a Merit Research Grant Award the following year. He ranked second in the nationwide Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE), conducted by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in 1999.

Chakraborty’s research is aimed at understanding the molecular details of the various signaling pathways involved in metabolic diseases, particularly the family of inositol hexakisphosphate kinases (IP6Ks), which play a role in a range of physiological activities from programmed cell death to the regulation of insulin and glucose homeostasis.

In 2008, Chakraborty was a key member of a Johns Hopkins research team that discovered a novel way to develop stronger, less-harmful anticancer drugs—showing that the action of IP6K2, which promotes cell death in response to stress such as commonly prescribed anti-cancer drugs, can be controlled when bound to a heat shock protein, HSP90. The study was published the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In 2010, he was the lead author of a study published in the journal Cell that suggested that selective inhibitors of IP6K1 could have strong therapeutic potential in treating type-2 diabetes associated with obesity and insulin resistance—with few adverse side effects. He demonstrated that mice deleted of the IP6K1 gene are protected from age and high-fat-diet-induced weight gain and insulin resistance.

“We believe strongly that IP6K1 may eventually have some therapeutic potential,” he said, “While I’m working on the mechanism by which IP6K1 regulates body weight, I am also looking for novel protein targets that we don’t know about yet that play important roles in hormonal signaling and adipogenesis. I have used chemical screening approaches to identify modulators of adipogenesis. I plan to extend the approach and I think Scripps Florida is the best place to do that kind of work.”

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Assistant Professor Anutosh Chakraborty joins Scripps Florida from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.