Sudhanshu Shekhar

Sudhanshu Shekhar Profile Picture
Training Group:

Chromatin and Regulation of Gene Expression

Mentor / Lab:

Dr. Andrea Kasinski

Specific Research Area / Project:

Identifying functional circular RNAs (circRNAs) that modulate tumor progression

Lab / Personal work-related websites:


Research Profile:

Multiple layers of regulation orchestrate error-free expression of coding and non-coding genes in healthy cells to prevent diseases. Focused research on understanding cancer biology have elucidated multiple mechanisms as drivers of tumor progression, including alternative splicing. Alternative splicing is a salient feature of eukaryotic genomes that drives diversification of protein-coding genes. With recent advancements in next generation sequencing (NGS) platforms, deep sequencing methods and bioinformatic pipelines, novel non-linear spliced isoforms, termed circular RNAs (circRNAs), have been characterized. In contrast to canonical splicing, circRNAs are formed by a non-canonical splicing mechanism, called “backsplicing”, wherein the upstream splice acceptor (3' splice site) is joined to a downstream splice donor (5' splice site) to yield a non-polyadenylated, covalently closed, circular transcript. As circRNAs are recently discovered and their expression is being cataloged in normal and diseased states, there exists a significant knowledge gap in circRNA mediated pathways and mechanisms, and thus necessitates further investigation.

Evidence from recent studies indicate that circRNAs function as a novel layer of regulation for gene expression and processing. Therefore, the overall goal of my research is to identify critical circRNAs that regulate cellular processes associated with tumor progression. To accomplish our research objectives, we utilize a combination of sequencing, molecular, biochemical and bioinformatic approaches. We envision that this knowledge will be foundational for developing oligonucleotide-based therapeutics that can be used to modulate alternative splicing patterns of critical genes involved in cancer progression.

About Me:

Through my research experiences during undergraduate and masters degree, I was determined to pursue a career in academic research. The genetic and epigenetic underpinnings of human diseases motivated me to join the Chromatin and Regulation of Gene Expression training group in Purdue's Interdisciplinary Life Science (PULSe) program.

The PULSe program provides an unique advantage to rotate in laboratories from different departments at Purdue. I had the opportunity to rotate and gain experience in laboratories working in distinct fields such as epigenetics, neuroscience, bioinformatics and cancer biology affiliated with three different departments. Each of these experiences were unique and fabulous; allowing me to determine the best fit for pursuing research and training.

In the long run, I envision myself pursuing a career as an academic researcher.


  • PULSe Graduate Fellowship award by Purdue University, USA (2017 - 2018)
  • Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) award by CSIR-UGC, India (2017) - Not availed
  • Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) award by GATE, India (2016 & 2017) - Not availed
  • Summer Research Fellowship award by Indian Academy of Sciences (IAS), India (2016) - Not availed
  • Excellence in Diligence award by SRM University, India (2015)
  • International Travel Grant by SRM University, India (2014)


  • Hall, H.*, Ma, J.*, Shekhar, S., Leon-Salas, W.D., Weake, VM, (2018) Blue light induces a neuroprotective gene expression program in Drosophila photoreceptors. BMC Neuroscience. 20;19(1):43. (* Represents co-first authors)
  • Sood, S., Shekhar, S., Santosh, W., (2017) Dimorphic placental stress: A repercussion of interaction between endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and fetal sex. Medical Hypotheses. 99:73-75.
  • Shekhar, S., Sood, S., Showkat, S., Lite, C., Chandrasekhar, A., Vairamani, M., S, B., Santosh, W., (2017) Detection of phenolic endocrine disrupting chemicals from maternal blood plasma and amniotic fluid in Indian population. General and Comparative Endocrinology. 15;241:100-107.


  • Shekhar, S., Kasinski, A. (2019). Circular RNA (circRNA) mediated competitive endogenous networks in cancer. Biological Sciences Department Retreat, Purdue University, USA. (Poster)
  • Shekhar, S., Kasinski, A. (2019). Circular RNA (circRNA) mediated competitive endogenous networks in cancer. Biological Sciences Recruitment, Purdue University, USA. (Poster)
  • Shekhar, S., Hall, H., Weake, V. (2018). Kinetics of transcriptional response to blue light in Drosophila eye. Interdisciplinary Life Sciences (PULSe) Spring reception, Purdue University, USA. (Poster)
  • Shekhar, S., Hall, H., Weake, V. (2018) Kinetics of transcriptional response to blue light in Drosophila eye. Office of Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs (OIGP) Spring reception, Purdue University, USA. (Poster)


  • Reviewer for Grant Review Allocation Committee (GRAC), PGSC, Purdue University (2017 – Present)
  • Mentor for incoming PULSe students, Purdue University (2018 – Present)
  • Judge for Lafayette Regional Science and Engineering Fair, Purdue University (2019)

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