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Molecular Medicine

Molecular Medicine

Ashutosh Dharap, Ph.D.

Ashutosh Dharap, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, College of Medicine Molecular Medicine

Contact Info 4001 E. Fletcher Avenue
Tampa FL 33613

Academic Email:

View My Lab Site


  • PhD, Neuroscience, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2011

Interdisciplinary and Emerging Signature Programs

  • Cardiovascular Sciences
  • Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Neuroscience

Research Interests

  • The Dharap lab studies the pathophysiology of cerebral ischemia (stroke). Our goal is to enhance our knowledge of the early molecular processes that drive subsequent cellular changes, brain damage and neurological dysfunction, so that we may harness this information to develop new treatments against stroke. On this front, our research is focused on the noncoding genome, and particularly on the roles of neural noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) that show specific and robust responses to the stroke injury and participate in gene regulation. We are studying how the interplay between ncRNAs, regulatory proteins and DNA drives the gene regulatory networks that underlie the development of the post-stroke pathophysiology. We hope to discover new druggable targets that can be further researched and developed for preclinical and clinical applications against ischemic stroke.
  • Learn more at


  • Member (International Society for Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, 2022 - Present)
  • Member (American Society for Neurochemistry, 2022 - Present)
  • Member (International Society for Neurochemistry, 2016 - Present)
  • Member (American Heart Association, 2009 - Present)

Recent Publications

  • Ruiz D, Bhattarai S, Dharap A. Sex-based eRNA expression and function in ischemic stroke. Neurochemistry international. 150: 105149, 2021.
  • Bhattarai S, Akella A, Gandhi A, Dharap A. Modulation of Brain Pathology by Enhancer RNAs in Cerebral Ischemia. Molecular neurobiology. 58(4) : 1482-1490, 2021.
  • Akella A, Bhattarai S, Dharap A. Long Noncoding RNAs in the Pathophysiology of Ischemic Stroke. Neuromolecular medicine. 21(4) : 474-483, 2019.
  • Bhattarai S, Aly A, Garcia K, Ruiz D, Pontarelli F, Dharap A. Deep Sequencing Reveals Uncharted Isoform Heterogeneity of the Protein-Coding Transcriptome in Cerebral Ischemia. Molecular neurobiology. 56(2) : 1035-1043, 2019.
  • Bhattarai S, Pontarelli F, Prendergast E, Dharap A. Discovery of novel stroke-responsive lncRNAs in the mouse cortex using genome-wide RNA-seq. Neurobiology of disease. 108: 204-212, 2017.
  • Dharap A, Pokrzywa C, Murali S, Kaimal B, Vemuganti R. Mutual induction of transcription factor PPARĪ³ and microRNAs miR-145 and miR-329. Journal of neurochemistry. 135(1) : 139-46, 2015.
  • Mehta SL, Dharap A, Vemuganti R. Expression of transcribed ultraconserved regions of genome in rat cerebral cortex. Neurochemistry international. 77: 86-93, 2014.
  • Dharap A, Pokrzywa C, Vemuganti R. Increased binding of stroke-induced long non-coding RNAs to the transcriptional corepressors Sin3A and coREST. ASN neuro. 5(4) : 283-9, 2013.
  • Novikova IV, Dharap A, Hennelly SP, Sanbonmatsu KY. 3S: shotgun secondary structure determination of long non-coding RNAs. Methods (San Diego, Calif.). 63(2) : 170-7, 2013.
  • Dharap A, Pokrzywa C, Murali S, Pandi G, Vemuganti R. MicroRNA miR-324-3p induces promoter-mediated expression of RelA gene. PloS one. 8(11) : e79467, 2013.
  • Pandi G, Nakka VP, Dharap A, Roopra A, Vemuganti R. MicroRNA miR-29c down-regulation leading to de-repression of its target DNA methyltransferase 3a promotes ischemic brain damage. PloS one. 8(3) : e58039, 2013.
  • Dharap A, Nakka VP, Vemuganti R. Effect of focal ischemia on long noncoding RNAs. Stroke. 43(10) : 2800-2, 2012.
  • Dharap A, Nakka VP, Vemuganti R. Altered expression of PIWI RNA in the rat brain after transient focal ischemia. Stroke. 42(4) : 1105-9, 2011.
  • Dharap A, Vemuganti R. Ischemic pre-conditioning alters cerebral microRNAs that are upstream to neuroprotective signaling pathways. Journal of neurochemistry. 113(6) : 1685-91, 2010.
  • Dharap A, Bowen K, Place R, Li LC, Vemuganti R. Transient focal ischemia induces extensive temporal changes in rat cerebral microRNAome. Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism : official journal of the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism. 29(4) : 675-87, 2009.


  • Abstract Selected, 2017 SfN Hot Topics Book (Society for Neuroscience - 2017)
  • Vilas Travel Award (University of Wisconsin-Madison - 2010)
  • AHA Pre-Doctoral Fellowship (American Heart Association - 2009)
  • B.Sc. with Distinction (Fergussion College, Pune University - 2004)