Sougat Misra

Sougat Misra

  • Assistant Research Professor
103A Research Building A
University Park, PA 16802

Areas of Expertise

  • Selenium in human Health and Diseases
  • Redox Biology
  • Experimental cancer chemotherapeutics
  • Development of ex vivo organotypic slice cultures of human solid tumors as experimental model systems


I am trained as a toxicologist from the Department of Biology, University of Saskatchewan, Canada from where I earned my Ph.D. in September 2011. There my research focus was to assess the toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic of different selenium compounds using primary isolated hepatocytes as a model system. Then I moved to the Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Sweden initially as a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor Mikael Björnstedt, and was recruited later as an Assistant Professor in May 2015 until April 2019. During these years, my research work was focused on deciphering the mechanistic aspects of cytopathic effects of different selenium compounds. In parallel, I along with my colleagues have developed a state-of-the-art ex vivo organotypic tissue slice culture of human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.

Current Research Interests

Cellular redox-regulatory processes play pivotal roles in human health and diseases. The central theme my research involves understanding “how ancillary redox-regulatory processes can be pharmacologically tuned in for therapeutic gain"? Selenium, an essential 'trace' element with diverse physiological functions, is at the core of my research, with specific focus on two independent but intertwined aspects.

1. Biological essentiality of a trace element is no counterargument against its cytotoxic effects. Indeed, selenium-containing molecules can be highly cytotoxic, specifically to cancer cells, depending on their metabolic transformations. In relation, a key focus of my research is to assess the efficacy of diverse selenium-containing small molecules as experimental cancer chemotherapeutics using relevant in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo models. Moving beyond the traditional advances, new strategies are devised to bolster the anti-cancer efficacy of these selenium-containing small molecules. Range of approaches include, but not limited to, genetic and endogenous and synthetic small molecules-guided manipulation of their pharmacological properties by selective functional fine-tuning of their pharmacokinetic properties.

2. Systemic and cellular redox anomalies are signatures of many human diseases and conditions. The second aspect of my research evolves around how such human disease-related dysfunctions of systemic redox processes are therapeutically tractable? Selenoproteins are extremely important for the maintenance of cellular redox homeostasis. Together with selenoproteome, an extensive network of other key regulatory biomolecules supports cellular and systemic redox homeostatic processes. The overreaching goal is pharmacological manipulations of systemic redox imbalances in a specific manner, so that oxidative stress-associated diseases or conditions can be mitigated, managed, or cured based on the contextual causal or consequential relationship between the stressors and the pathophysiological disorders.