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Bobby Thomas PhD

Endowed Chair, SmartState COEE Endowed Chair in Pediatric Neurotherapeutics

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  • Professor
  • College of Medicine
  • Pediatrics
Academic Focus
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neurotherapeutics
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Dr. Thomas received his Master’s in Zoology from Banaras Hindu University in India and his PhD from the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology Kolkata, India, where he studied the role of nitric oxide and hydroxyl radicals in neurodegeneration as it relates to Parkinson’s disease. Subsequently he joined the laboratory of Dr. Ted Dawson at Johns Hopkins University as a postdoctoral fellow in 2002, where he investigated the biology and pathophysiology of gene products associated with inherited Parkinson's disease. Prior to joining the Medical University of South Carolina, Dr. Thomas was an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology and Neuroscience at Weill Medical College of Cornell University New York from 2008-2012 and an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University from 2012-2018.


Education & Training:


St. Berchman’s College, India, 1994, B.S. in Zoology
Banaras Hindu University, India, 1996, M.S. in Zoology
Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, India, 2002, Ph.D. in Neuroscience
Johns Hopkins University, USA 2005, Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests:

The Thomas laboratory is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of both age-related and childhood neurodegenerative disorders, with special emphasis on mitochondrial dysfunction and stress signaling cascades involving oxidative stress and neuroinflammation. The overall goal is to utilize this mechanistic knowledge to develop tangible neuroprotective therapies.

Highlighted Publications:


1.    Thomas B., Muralikrishnan D., Mohanakumar K. P. In vivo hydroxyl radical generation in the striatum following systemic administration of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine in mice. Brain Res. 852: 221-224 (2000) PMID: 10661517.

2.    Mohanakumar K. P., Muralikrishnan D., Thomas B. Neuroprotection by sodium salicylate against 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine-induced neurotoxicity. Brain Res. 864: 281-290, (2000) PMID: 10802035.

3.    Thomas B., Mohanakumar K. P. Melatonin protects against oxidative stress caused by 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine in the mouse nigrostriatum. J Pineal Res. 36: 25-32 (2004) PMID: 14675127.

4.    Chung K. K. K., Thomas B., Li X., Pletnikova O., Troncoso J. C., Marsh L., Dawson V. L., Dawson T. M. S-nitrosylation of parkin regulates ubiquitination and compromises parkin’s protective function.  Science 304:1328-1331 (2004) PMID: 15105460.

5.    von Coelln R., Thomas B., Savitt J. M., Lim K. L., Sasaki M., Hess E. J., Dawson V. L., Dawson T. M. Loss of locus coeruleus neurons and reduced startle in parkin null mice. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 101: 10744-10749 (2004) PMID: 15249681.

6.    *von Coelln R., *Thomas B., Andrabi S. A., Lim K. L., Savitt J. M., Saffary R., Andrabi S. A., Stirling W., Bruno K., Hess E. J., Lee M. K., Dawson V. L., Dawson T. M. Inclusion body formation and neurodegeneration are parkin independent in a mouse model of a- synucleinopathy. J Neurosci. 26:3685-3695 (2006) PMID: 16597723 *Equal contribution (Co-first authors of the article).

7.    Thomas B., von Coelln R., Mandir A.S., Trinkaus D.L., Farah M., Lim K. L., Beal M.F., Dawson V. L., Dawson T. M. MPTP and DSP-4 susceptibility of substanta nigra and locus coeruleus catecholaminergic neurons in mice is independent of parkin activity. Neurobiol. Dis. 26: 312-322 (2007) PMID: 17336077.

8.    Thomas B., Banerjee R., Starkova N., Zhang S., Calingasan N. Y., Yang L., Beal M. F., Starkov A. A. Mitochondrial permeability transition pore component cyclophilin D distinguishes nigrostriatal dopaminergic death paradigms in the MPTP model of Parkinson’s disease. Antioxid Redox Signal. 16(9):855-68 (2012) PMCID: PMC3292750.

9.    Ammal Kaidery N., Banerjee R., Yang L., Smirnova N.A., Huspulian D.M., Liby K.T., Williams C.W., Yamamoto M., Kensler T.W., Ratan R., Sporn M.B., Beal F., Gazaryan I.G., Thomas B. Targeting Nrf2-mediated gene transcription by extremely potent synthetic triterpenoids attenuate dopaminergic neurotoxicity in the MPTP- mouse model of Parkinson’s disease. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 18(2): 139-57. (2013) PMID: 22746536. PMCID: PMC3514006.

10. Ahuja M., Ammal Kaidery N., Yang L., Calingasan N., Smirnova N., Gaisin A., Gaisina I., Gazaryan I., Hushpulian D.M., Kaddour-Djebbar I., Bollag W.B., Morgan J.C., Ratan R.R., Starkov A., Beal M.F., Thomas B. Distinct Nrf2 signaling mechanisms of fumaric acid esters and their role in neuroprotection against 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine-induced experimental Parkinson’s-like disease. J Neurosci. 36: 6332-6351 (2016). PMID: 27277809.

11. Kaidery N.A., Ahuja M., Thomas B. Crosstalk between Nrf2 signaling and mitochondrial function in Parkinson’s disease. Mol Cell Neurosci. 103413. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2019.103413. (2019) PMID: 31644952.

12. Hushpulian D.M., Ammal Kaidery N., Ahuja M., Poloznikov A. A., Sharma S.M., Gazaryan I.G., Thomas B. Challenges and Limitations of Targeting the Keap1-Nrf2 pathway for Neurotherapeutics: Bach1 Derepression to the Rescue. Front. Aging Neurosci. 13: 673205 (2021). PMID: 33897412.

13. Gaisina I.N., Hushpulian D.M., Gaisin A.M., Kazakov E.H., Ammal Kaidery N., Ahuja M., Poloznikov A.A., Gazaryan I.G., Thatcher G.R.J., Thomas B. Identification of a potent Nrf2 displacement activator among aspirin-containing prodrugs. Neurochem. Intl. 149: 105148. (2021). PMID: 34329734.

14. Ahuja M., Ammal Kaidery N., Attucks O.C., McDade E., Hushpulian D.M., Gaisin A., Gaisina I., Ahn Y.H., Nikulin S., Poloznikov A., Gazaryan I., Yamamoto M., Matsumoto M., Igarashi K., Sharma S.M., Thomas B. Bach1 derepression is neuroprotective in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 118 (45) e2111643118 (2021). PMID: 34737234.

15. Ahuja M., Ammal Kaidery N., Dutta D., Attucks O.C., Kazakov E.H., Gazaryan I., Matsumoto M., Igarashi K., Sharma S.M., Thomas B. Harnessing the therapeutic potential of Nrf2/Bach1 signaling pathway in Parkinson’s disease. Antioxidants 11(9): 1780 (2022). PMID: 36139853.

16. Hushpulian D.M., Ammal Kaidery N., Dutta D., Sharma S.M., Gazaryan I.G., Thomas B. Emerging small molecule inhibitors of Bach1 as therapeutic agents: rationale, recent advances, and future perspectives. BioEssays Nov 2: e2300176. doi: 10.1002/bies.202300176. (2023). PMID: 37919861.