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Vel Murugan

Research Scientist (FSC)
Academic Professional, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 6401

Dr. Vel Murugan is a trained molecular cell biologist with extensive experience in studying cell cycle regulation, cancer biology, vaccine discovery and development. Dr. Murugan brings with him a wealth of experience from his time in both industry as well as academic institutions.  Dr. Murugan earned his PhD from the Tata Institute of Fundamental research and completed his post-doctoral work at The University of Texas at Austin and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Prior to joining ASU, he worked on the development of attenuated vaccine against Malaria at Sanaria, Inc. He has contributed more than 30 original research publications, reviews and book chapters. At the Center for Personalized Diagnostics, he led a team that developed a high throughput diagnostic test to detect and quantify radiation exposure in humans. His laboratory studies epigenetic changes in response to environmental exposures and develops epigenetic-biomarker based diagnostic tests to detect exposures to toxic chemicals, pathogens, explosives and radiological agents.


B.Sc: Madurai Kamaraj University, India

M.Sc: Madurai Kamaraj University, India

Ph.D: Tata Inst. of Fundamental Research

Postdoc: The University of Texas at Austin

Fellowship: Harvard Medical School

MBA: Northeastern University


Peer-reviewed Research Publications:

  1. Naetar, N*., Velmurugan, S*., Litovchick, L., Goguen, KL., Sablina, A, Bowman-Colin, B., Sicinski, P., Hahn, WC., DeCaprio, J., and Livingston, DL PP2A-Mediated Regulation of Ras Signaling in G2 Is Essential for Stable Quiescence and Normal G1 Length. Mol. Cell (2014) 54; 1-14. *Authors contributed equally to this work.
  2. Seder, R. A., L. J. Chang, M. E. Enama, K. L. Zephir, U. N. Sarwar, I. J. Gordon, L. A. Holman, E. R. James, P. F. Billingsley, A. Gunasekera, A. Richman, S. Chakravarty, A. Manoj, S. Velmurugan, M. Li, A. J. Ruben, T. Li, A. G. Eappen, R. E. Stafford, S. H. Plummer, C. S. Hendel, L. Novik, P. J. Costner, F. H. Mendoza, J. G. Saunders, M. C. Nason, J. H. Richardson, J. Murphy, S. A. Davidson, T. L. Richie, M. Sedegah, A. Sutamihardja, G. A. Fahle, K. E. Lyke, M. B. Laurens, M. Roederer, K. Tewari, J. E. Epstein, B. K. Sim, J. E. Ledgerwood, B. S. Graham, S. L. Hoffman, and V. R. C. Study Team the. "Protection against Malaria by Intravenous Immunization with a Nonreplicating Sporozoite Vaccine." Science,  (2013).
  3. March, S., S. Ng, S. Velmurugan, A. Galstian, J. Shan, D. J. Logan, A. E. Carpenter, D. Thomas, B. K. Sim, M. M. Mota, S. L. Hoffman, and S. N. Bhatia. "A Microscale Human Liver Platform That Supports the Hepatic Stages of Plasmodium Falciparum and Vivax." Cell Host Microbe 14, no. 1 (2013): 104-15.
  4. Roestenberg, M., E. M. Bijker, B. K. Sim, P. F. Billingsley, E. R. James, G. J. Bastiaens, A. C. Teirlinck, A. Scholzen, K. Teelen, T. Arens, A. J. van der Ven, A. Gunasekera, S. Chakravarty, S. Velmurugan, C. C. Hermsen, R. W. Sauerwein, and S. L. Hoffman. "Controlled Human Malaria Infections by Intradermal Injection of Cryopreserved Plasmodium Falciparum Sporozoites." Am J Trop Med Hyg 88, no. 1 (2013): 5-13.
  5. Fine, D.A., Rosen, R., Padi, M., Korkhin. A., James, R.L., Adelmant, G., Yoon, R., Guo, L., Berrios, C., Zhang, Y., Calderwood, M.A., Velmurugan, S., Cheng, J., Marto, J.A., Hill, D.E., Cusick, M.E., Vidal, M., Florens, L., Washburn, M.P., Litovchick, L., and DeCaprio. J.A. (2012) Identification of FAM111A as an SV40 host range restriction factor. PLoS Pathog 8(10): e1002949. doi:10.1371/ journal.ppat.1002949
  6. Hoffman, S.A., Aravind, L and Velmurugan, S. (2012). Female Anopheles gambiae antennae: increased transcript accumulation of the mosquito-specific odorant-binding-protein OBP2. Parasites and Vectors 5:27 (doi:10.1186/1756-3305-5-27)
  7. Epstein, J.E., Tewari, K., Lyke, K.E., Sim, B.K.L., Billingsley, P.F., Laurens, M.B., Gunasekera, A., Chakravarty, S., James, E.R., Sedegah, M., Richman, A., Velmurugan, S., Reyes, S., Li, M., Tucker, K., Ahumada, A., Ruben, A.J., Li, T., Stafford, R., Eappen, A.G., Tamminga, C., Bennett, J.W., Ockenhouse, C.F., Murphy, J.R., Komisar, J., Thomas, N., Loyevsky, M., Birkett, A., Plowe, C.V., Loucq, C., Edelman, R., Richie, T.L., Seder, R.A., Hoffman, S.L. (2011) Live Attenuated Malaria Vaccine Designed to Protect through Hepatic CD8+ T Cell Immunity. Science (DOI: 10.1126/science.1211548)
  8. Chattopadhyay,R., Velmurugan, S., Chakiath, C., Andrews Donkor, L., Milhous, W., Barnwell, J.W., Collins, W.E.,  and Hoffman, S.L (2010) Establishment of an In Vitro Assay for Assessing the Effects of Drugs on the Liver Stages of Plasmodium vivax malaria. PloSONE 5: e14275
  9. Tewari, K., Flynn, B.J., Boscardin, S.BKastenmueller, K., Salazar, A.M., Anderson, C.A., Velmurugan, S., Ahumada, A., Keler, T., Hoffman, S.L., Nussenzweig, M.C., Steinman, R.M., and Seder, R.A. (2010) Poly(I:C) is an effective adjuvant for antibody and multi-functional CD4+ T cell responses to Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein (CSP) and αDEC-CSP in non-human primates. Vaccine 45: 7256-7266
  10. Litovchick, L., Sadasivam, S., Florens, L., Zhu, X., Swanson, S.K., Velmurugan, S., Washburn, M.K., Liu, X.S. and DeCaprio J.A. (2007) Evolutionally conserved multi-subunit RBL2/p130 and E2F4 protein complex represses human cell cycle-dependent genes in quiescence. Mol. Cell. 26: 539-551.
  11. Silver, D.P., Dimitrov, S., Feunteun, J., Gelman, R., Mar, J., Drapkin, R., Lu, D., Shestakova, E., Velmurugan, S., DeNunzio, N., Dragomir, S., Liu, X., Rottenberg , S., Jonkers, J., Ganesan, S and Livingston, D.M. (2007) Further Evidence for BRCA1 Communication with the Inactive X Chromosome. Cell  128: 991-1002
  12. Dobson, M.J., Pickett, A.J., Velmurugan, S., Pinder, J.B., Barrett, L.A., Jayaram, M and Chew, J.S. (2005) The 2 micron plasmid causes cell death in Saccharomyces cerevisiae with a mutation in Ulp1 protease. Mol. Cell. Biol. 25: 4299-4310.
  13. Mehta, S., Yang, X., Jayaram, M., and Velmurugan. S. (2005) A novel role for the mitotic spindle during DNA segregation in yeast: promoting 2 micron plasmid-cohesin association. Mol. Cell. Biol. 25: 4283-4298.
  14. Yang, X., Mehta, S., Uzri, D., Jayaram, M., and Velmurugan, S. (2004) Mutations in a partitioning protein and altered chromatin structure at the partitioning locus prevent cohesin recruitment by the yeast plasmid and cause its missegregation. Mol. Cell. Biol. 24: 5290-5303.
  15. Mehta, S., Yang, X., Chan, C. S. M., Dobson, M. M., Jayaram, M., and Velmurugan. S. (2002). Coupling between 2-micron plasmid partitioning and chromosome segregation in yeast: the plasmid stability system purloins the yeast cohesin complex? J. Cell Biol. 158, 625-637.
  16. Kang J. S., Cheeseman, I. M., Kallstrom, G., Velmurugan, S., Barnes, G., and Chan, C. S. (2001). Functional cooperation of Dam1, Ipl1, and the inner centromere protein (INCENP)-related protein Sli15 during chromosome segregation. J. Cell Biol. 155, 763-774.
  17. Lisby, M., Olesen, J. R., Skouboe, C., Krogh, B. O., Straub, T., Boege, F., Velmurugan, S., Martensen, P. M., Andersen, A. H., Jayaram, M., and Knudsen, B. R. (2001). Residues within the N-terminal domain of human topoisomerase I play a direct role in relaxation. J. Biol. Chem. 276, 20220-20227.
  18. Velmurugan, S., Yang, X. M., Chan, C. S., Dobson, M., and Jayaram, M. (2000). Partitioning of the 2-micron circle plasmid of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Functional coordination with chromosome segregation and plasmid-encoded rep protein distribution. J. Cell Biol. 149, 553-566.
  19. Velmurugan, S., Ahn, Y. T., Yang, X. M., Wu, X. L., and Jayaram, M. (1998). The 2 micron plasmid stability system: analyses of the interactions among plasmid- and host-encoded components. Mol. Cell Biol. 18, 7466-7477.
  20. Mehta, S., Velmurugan, S., and Lobo, Z. (1998). Repression of enzymes of the pentose phosphate pathway by glucose in fission yeast. FEBS Lett. 440, 430-433.
  21. Mehta, S. V., Patil, V. B., Velmurugan, S., Lobo, Z., and Maitra, P. K. (1998). Std1, a gene involved in glucose transport in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. J. Bacteriol. 180, 674-679.
  22. Velmurugan, S., Lobo, Z., and Maitra, P. K. (1997). Suppression of pdc2 regulating pyruvate decarboxylase synthesis in yeast. Genetics 145, 587-594.
  23. Ahn, Y. T., Wu, X. L., Biswal, S., Velmurugan, S., Volkert, F. C., and Jayaram, M. (1997). The 2 µm-plasmid-encoded Rep1 and Rep2 proteins interact with each other and colocalize to the Saccharomyces cerevisiae nucleus. J. Bacteriol. 179, 7497-7506.
  24. Gunasekaran, P., Mukundan, G., Kannan, T. R., Velmurugan, S., Ait-Abdelkader, N., and Baratti, J. (1995). The SacB and SacC genes encoding levansucrase and sucrase form a gene cluster in Zymomonas mobilis. Biotechnol. letters 17, 635-642


  1. Jayaram, M., Mehta, S., Uzri, D., Voziyanov, Y., and Velmurugan, S. (2004). Site-specific Recombination and Partitioning Systems in the Stable High Copy Propagation of the 2 Micron Yeast Plasmid. In Prog. Nucleic Acid Res. Mol. Biol. 77: 127-172
  2. Jayaram, M., Mehta, S., Uzri, D., and S. Velmurugan. (2004) Segregation of the Yeast Plasmid: Similarities and Contrasts with Bacterial Plasmid Partitioning. Plasmid. 51: 162-178.
  3. Velmurugan, S., Mehta, S., and Jayaram, M. (2003). Selfishness in moderation: evolutionary success of the yeast plasmid. Curr. Topics Dev. Biol. 56, 1-24.
  4. Jayaram, M., Mehta, S., Uzri, D., and S. Velmurugan. (2003) Stable propagation of 'selfish' genetic elements. J. Biosci. 5, 623-636.
  5. Mehta, S., Jayaram, M and Velmurugan, S. (2003). Yeast plasmids: models for the evolutionary persistence of selfish extrachromosomal elements. In Recent Research Developments in Molecular and Cellular Biology 4, 249-271.


Book Chapter:

Jayaram, M., Yang, X., Mehta, S., Voziyanov, Y., and Velmurugan, S. (2004). The 2 micron plasmid of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In Plasmid Biology. Eds Funnell, B. E., and Philips, G. J., ASM Press, Washington DC.

Industry Positions
  • 10/2012-12/2012           Visiting Scientist, NIH-NCATS, Rockville, MD
  • 10/2008-12/2012           Senior Scientist and Director, Sanaria Inc, Rockville, MD