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Ajit Verma

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Ajit Verma




    Phone: (608) 263-9136

    Mailing Address:
    7103 Wi Institute Medical Research
    1111 Highland Ave
    Madison, WI 53705

Verma Lab Page

Verma Lab


  • B.Sc. (Biochemistry) Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, India.
  • M.Sc. (Honors) (Biochemistry) Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, India.
  • Ph.D. (Biochemistry) Flinders University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.


The major goals of my laboratory research are to define the in vivo link of protein kinase C (PKC) and its associated signaling components to the development of two major human cancers, skin and prostate. PKC represents a family of at least 12 lipid-dependent serine/threonine kinases, which are differentially expressed in various tissues and play distinct roles in several signal transduction pathways which regulate a wide variety of cellular stimuli. PKC is the major receptor for the tumor promotering phorbol esters and is also activated by a variety of stress factors including ultraviolet radiation. To determine the functional specificity of PKC isoforms in mouse skin carcinogenesis, we used both PKC knockout (KO) and PKC overexpressing transgenic mice. Over a decade of research, we have found that PKCe is the key PKC isoform linked to the induction of squamous cell carcinoma, a non-melanoma human skin cancer, which can be metastatic. Also, PKCe levels correlate with the aggressiveness of several human cancers including breast, brain and prostate. We and others have shown, using both in vivo experimental animal models and human cancer-derived cell lines, that PKCe-mediated oncogenic activity correlates to its ability to promote cell survival. However, the mechanisms by which PKCe signals cell survival remain elusive. We found that Stat3, which is constitutively activated in a wide variety of human cancers, is a PKCe protein partner. PKC regulates Stat3. Our current research is aimed at defining the PKCe-Stat3 signaling complex and its link to induction and progression of human cancers with primary focus on skin and prostate models.


  • 1962-67 Government of India National Merit Scholarship.
  • 1966 Gold Medal for ranking first in B.Sc.
  • 1967-68 Punjab Agricultural University Merit Scholarship.
  • 1968 Certificate of Honor for ranking first in M.Sc.
  • 1972-76 The Flinders University of South Australia Merit Scholarship during Ph.D. studies.

Recent Publications

P-Y Kuo, V V Leshchenko, M J Fazzari, D Perumal, T Gellen, T He, J Iqbal, S Baumgartner-Wennerholm, L Nygren, F Zhang, W Zhang, K S Suh, A Goy, D T Yang, W-C Chan, B S Kahl, A K Verma, R D Gascoyne, E Kimby, B Sander, B H Ye, A M Melnick, S Parekh
High-resolution chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) sequencing reveals novel binding targets and prognostic role for SOX11 in mantle cell lymphoma.
Oncogene: 2014;

Bilal Bin Hafeez, Ala Mustafa, Joseph W Fischer, Ashok Singh, Weixiong Zhong, Mohammad Ozair Sheikhani, Louise Meske, Thomas Havighurst, Kyungmann Kim, Ajit K Verma
α-Mangostin, a dietary antioxidant derived from pericarp of Garcinia mangostana L. inhibits pancreatic tumor growth in a xenograft mouse model.
Antioxid. Redox Signal.: 2013;

Deric L Wheeler, Ajit K Verma, Mitchell F Denning
Mouse models of the skin: models to define mechanisms of skin carcinogenesis.
J Skin Cancer: 2013, 2013();971495

Ashok Singh, Anupama Singh, Jordan M Sand, Erika Heninger, Bilal Bin Hafeez, Ajit K Verma
Protein Kinase C ε , Which Is Linked to Ultraviolet Radiation-Induced Development of Squamous Cell Carcinomas, Stimulates Rapid Turnover of Adult Hair Follicle Stem Cells.
J Skin Cancer: 2013, 2013();452425

Bilal Bin Hafeez, Weixiong Zhong, Joseph W Fischer, Ala Mustafa, Xudong Shi, Louise Meske, Hao Hong, Weibo Cai, Thomas Havighurst, Kyungmann Kim, Ajit K Verma
Plumbagin, a medicinal plant (Plumbago zeylanica)-derived 1,4-naphthoquinone, inhibits growth and metastasis of human prostate cancer PC-3M-luciferase cells in an orthotopic xenograft mouse model.
Mol Oncol: 2012;