Dinesh S Rao

Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of California Los Angeles

Dinesh S. Rao is a physician scientist with interests in the molecular basis of hematologic malignancies. He received a B.S. summa cum laude in Biochemistry and an M.D. from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, USA. During this time he developed a deep interest in the pathogenesis of cancer, completing several projects in cancer research during medical school, and went on to a research fellowship at the University of Michigan. There, he made a seminal discovery implicating clathrin mediated trafficking of growth factor receptor tyrosine kinases in oncogenic transformation. He then combined clinical training in the pathology of hematologic diseases with further research training in the laboratory of Nobel laureate David Baltimore at Caltech, making and contributing to important discoveries on microRNAs in the immune system. The Rao lab at UCLA, established in 2010, has been interested in studying the mechanisms of post-transcriptional gene regulation in hematopoietic development, the immune system and in hematologic malignancy. His research work has highlighted startling new mechanisms involving RNA binding proteins and non-coding RNA in oncogenesis, and the lab is focused on molecular biological underpinnings of post-transcriptional gene regulation and translational work to develop novel therapeutic approaches. In addition to running a vibrant research laboratory, he manages a busy diagnostic service in leukemia and lymphoma molecular pathology.


  1. Takano KA, Wong AAL, Brown R, Situ K, Chua BA, Abu AE, Pham TT, Reyes GC, Ramachandran S, Kamata M, Li MMH, Wu TT, Rao DS, Arumugaswami V, Dorshkind K, Cole S, Morizono K. Envelope protein-specific B cell receptors direct lentiviral vector tropism in vivo.. Molecular therapy : the journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy, 2024.
  2. Jaiswal AK, Thaxton ML, Scherer GM, Sorrentino JP, Garg NK, Rao DS. Small molecule inhibition of RNA binding proteins in haematologic cancer.. RNA biology, 2024.
  3. Lin TL, Jaiswal AK, Ritter AJ, Reppas J, Tran TM, Neeb ZT, Katzman S, Thaxton ML, Cohen A, Sanford JR, Rao DS. Targeting IGF2BP3 enhances antileukemic effects of menin-MLL inhibition in MLL-AF4 leukemia.. Blood advances, 2024.
  4. Klingbeil KD, Tang JP, Graham DS, Lofftus SY, Jaiswal AK, Lin TL, Frias C, Chen LY, Nakasaki M, Dry SM, Crompton JG, Eilber FC, Rao DS, Kalbasi A, Kadera BE. IGF2BP3 as a Prognostic Biomarker in Well-Differentiated/Dedifferentiated Liposarcoma.. Cancers, 2023.
  5. Sharma G, Tran TM, Bansal I, Beg MS, Bhardwaj R, Bassi J, Tan Y, Jaiswal AK, Tso C, Jain A, Singh J, Chattopadhyay P, Singh A, Chopra A, Bakhshi S, Casero D, Rao DS, Palanichamy JK. RNA binding protein IGF2BP1 synergizes with ETV6-RUNX1 to drive oncogenic signaling in B-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.. Journal of experimental & clinical cancer research : CR, 2023.
  6. Palanichamy JK, Tran TM, King JK, Katzman S, Ritter AJ, Sharma G, Tso C, Contreras JR, Fernando TR, Sanford JR, Rao DS. Distinct oncogenic phenotypes in hematopoietic specific deletions of Trp53.. Scientific reports, 2023.
  7. Ghazaryan A, Wallace JA, Tang WW, Barba C, Lee SH, Bauer KM, Nelson MC, Kim CN, Stubben C, Voth WP, Rao DS, O'Connell RM. miRNA-1 promotes acute myeloid leukemia cell pathogenesis through metabolic regulation.. Frontiers in genetics, 2023.
  8. Pollyea DA, Altman JK, Assi R, Bixby D, Fathi AT, Foran JM, Gojo I, Hall AC, Jonas BA, Kishtagari A, Lancet J, Maness L, Mangan J, Mannis G, Marcucci G, Mims A, Moriarty K, Mustafa Ali M, Neff J, Nejati R, Olin R, Percival ME, Perl A, Przespolewski A, Rao D, Ravandi F, Shallis R, Shami PJ, Stein E, Stone RM, Sweet K, Thota S, Uy G, Vachhani P, Cassara CJ, Freedman-Cass DA, Stehman K. Acute Myeloid Leukemia, Version 3.2023, NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology.. Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network : JNCCN, 2023.
  9. Tran TM, Rao DS. RNA binding proteins in MLL-rearranged leukemia.. Experimental hematology & oncology, 2022.
  10. King JK, Tran TM, Paing MH, Yin Y, Jaiswal AK, Tso CH, Roy K, Casero D, Rao DS. Regulation of T-independent B-cell responses by microRNA-146a.. Frontiers in immunology, 2022.
  11. Jumniensuk C, Nobori A, Lee T, Senaratne TN, Rao D, Pullarkat S. Concordance of Peripheral Blood and Bone Marrow Next-Generation Sequencing in Hematologic Neoplasms.. Advances in hematology, 2022.
  12. Porcù E, Benetton M, Bisio V, Da Ros A, Tregnago C, Borella G, Zanon C, Bordi M, Germano G, Manni S, Campello S, Rao DS, Locatelli F, Pigazzi M. The long non-coding RNA CDK6-AS1 overexpression impacts on acute myeloid leukemia differentiation and mitochondrial dynamics.. iScience, 2021.
  13. Tran TM, Philipp J, Bassi JS, Nibber N, Draper JM, Lin TL, Palanichamy JK, Jaiswal AK, Silva O, Paing M, King J, Katzman S, Sanford JR, Rao DS. The RNA-binding protein IGF2BP3 is critical for MLL-AF4-mediated leukemogenesis.. Leukemia, 2021.
  14. Rathore K, Rao D, Kumar P, Masih U. Evaluation of a specially-designed educational and interventional programme on institutionalized visually impaired children: A prospective interventional study.. Special care in dentistry : official publication of the American Association of Hospital Dentists, the Academy of Dentistry for the Handicapped, and the American Society for Geriatric Dentistry, 2021.
  15. Jaiswal AK, Truong H, Tran TM, Lin TL, Casero D, Alberti MO, Rao DS. Focused CRISPR-Cas9 genetic screening reveals USO1 as a vulnerability in B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.. Scientific reports, 2021.
  16. Pollyea DA, Bixby D, Perl A, Bhatt VR, Altman JK, Appelbaum FR, de Lima M, Fathi AT, Foran JM, Gojo I, Hall AC, Jacoby M, Lancet J, Mannis G, Marcucci G, Martin MG, Mims A, Neff J, Nejati R, Olin R, Percival ME, Prebet T, Przespolewski A, Rao D, Ravandi-Kashani F, Shami PJ, Stone RM, Strickland SA, Sweet K, Vachhani P, Wieduwilt M, Gregory KM, Ogba N, Tallman MS. NCCN Guidelines Insights: Acute Myeloid Leukemia, Version 2.2021.. Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network : JNCCN, 2021.
  17. O'Connell RM, Rao DS. Microsized inflammaging protects stem cells.. Blood, 2020.
  18. Ekiz HA, Ramstead AG, Lee SH, Nelson MC, Bauer KM, Wallace JA, Hu R, Round JL, Rutter J, Drummond MJ, Rao DS, O'Connell RM. T Cell-Expressed microRNA-155 Reduces Lifespan in a Mouse Model of Age-Related Chronic Inflammation.. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), 2020.
  19. Sasine JP, Himburg HA, Termini CM, Roos M, Tran E, Zhao L, Kan J, Li M, Zhang Y, de Barros SC, Rao DS, Counter CM, Chute JP. Wild-type Kras expands and exhausts hematopoietic stem cells.. JCI insight, 2018.
  20. Li B, Wang X, Choi IY, Wang YC, Liu S, Pham AT, Moon H, Smith DJ, Rao DS, Boldin MP, Yang L. miR-146a modulates autoreactive Th17 cell differentiation and regulates organ-specific autoimmunity.. The Journal of clinical investigation, 2017.
  21. Fernando TR, Contreras JR, Zampini M, Rodriguez-Malave NI, Alberti MO, Anguiano J, Tran TM, Palanichamy JK, Gajeton J, Ung NM, Aros CJ, Waters EV, Casero D, Basso G, Pigazzi M, Rao DS. The lncRNA CASC15 regulates SOX4 expression in RUNX1-rearranged acute leukemia.. Molecular cancer, 2017.
  22. Wallace JA, Kagele DA, Eiring AM, Kim CN, Hu R, Runtsch MC, Alexander M, Huffaker TB, Lee SH, Patel AB, Mosbruger TL, Voth WP, Rao DS, Miles RR, Round JL, Deininger MW, O'Connell RM. miR-155 promotes FLT3-ITD-induced myeloproliferative disease through inhibition of the interferon response.. Blood, 2017.
  23. King JK, Ung NM, Paing MH, Contreras JR, Alberti MO, Fernando TR, Zhang K, Pellegrini M, Rao DS. Regulation of Marginal Zone B-Cell Differentiation by MicroRNA-146a.. Frontiers in immunology, 2017.
  24. Wallace J, Hu R, Mosbruger TL, Dahlem TJ, Stephens WZ, Rao DS, Round JL, O'Connell RM. Genome-Wide CRISPR-Cas9 Screen Identifies MicroRNAs That Regulate Myeloid Leukemia Cell Growth.. PloS one, 2016.
  25. Palanichamy JK, Tran TM, Howard JM, Contreras JR, Fernando TR, Sterne-Weiler T, Katzman S, Toloue M, Yan W, Basso G, Pigazzi M, Sanford JR, Rao DS. RNA-binding protein IGF2BP3 targeting of oncogenic transcripts promotes hematopoietic progenitor proliferation.. The Journal of clinical investigation, 2016.
  26. Rodríguez-Malavé NI, Fernando TR, Patel PC, Contreras JR, Palanichamy JK, Tran TM, Anguiano J, Davoren MJ, Alberti MO, Pioli KT, Sandoval S, Crooks GM, Rao DS. BALR-6 regulates cell growth and cell survival in B-lymphoblastic leukemia.. Molecular cancer, 2015.
  27. Rodríguez-Malavé NI, Rao DS. Long noncoding RNAs in hematopoietic malignancies.. Briefings in functional genomics, 2015.
  28. Contreras JR, Palanichamy JK, Tran TM, Fernando TR, Rodriguez-Malave NI, Goswami N, Arboleda VA, Casero D, Rao DS. MicroRNA-146a modulates B-cell oncogenesis by regulating Egr1.. Oncotarget, 2015.
  29. Fernando TR, Rodriguez-Malave NI, Waters EV, Yan W, Casero D, Basso G, Pigazzi M, Rao DS. LncRNA Expression Discriminates Karyotype and Predicts Survival in B-Lymphoblastic Leukemia.. Molecular cancer research : MCR, 2015.
  30. Hu R, Kagele DA, Huffaker TB, Runtsch MC, Alexander M, Liu J, Bake E, Su W, Williams MA, Rao DS, Möller T, Garden GA, Round JL, O'Connell RM. miR-155 promotes T follicular helper cell accumulation during chronic, low-grade inflammation.. Immunity, 2014.
  31. Fang J, Barker B, Bolanos L, Liu X, Jerez A, Makishima H, Christie S, Chen X, Rao DS, Grimes HL, Komurov K, Weirauch MT, Cancelas JA, Maciejewski JP, Starczynowski DT. Myeloid malignancies with chromosome 5q deletions acquire a dependency on an intrachromosomal NF-κB gene network.. Cell reports, 2014.
  32. Palanichamy JK, Rao DS. miRNA dysregulation in cancer: towards a mechanistic understanding.. Frontiers in genetics, 2014.
  33. Balazs AB, Ouyang Y, Hong CM, Chen J, Nguyen SM, Rao DS, An DS, Baltimore D. Vectored immunoprophylaxis protects humanized mice from mucosal HIV transmission.. Nature medicine, 2014.
  34. Tirado CA, Shabsovich D, DeNicola M, Rao D, Yang L, Garcia R, Rao N. A case of pediatric B-Lymphoblastic leukemia presenting with a t(9;12)(p24;q11.2) involving JAK2 and concomitant MLL rearrangement with apparent insertion at 6q27.. Biomarker research, 2013.
  35. Basak SK, Veena MS, Oh S, Lai C, Vangala S, Elashoff D, Fishbein MC, Sharma S, Rao NP, Rao D, Phan R, Srivatsan ES, Batra RK. The CD44(high) tumorigenic subsets in lung cancer biospecimens are enriched for low miR-34a expression.. PloS one, 2013.
  36. Balazs AB, Bloom JD, Hong CM, Rao DS, Baltimore D. Broad protection against influenza infection by vectored immunoprophylaxis in mice.. Nature biotechnology, 2013.
  37. Zhao JL, Rao DS, O'Connell RM, Garcia-Flores Y, Baltimore D. MicroRNA-146a acts as a guardian of the quality and longevity of hematopoietic stem cells in mice.. eLife, 2013.
  38. Pigazzi M, Manara E, Bresolin S, Tregnago C, Beghin A, Baron E, Giarin E, Cho EC, Masetti R, Rao DS, Sakamoto KM, Basso G. MicroRNA-34b promoter hypermethylation induces CREB overexpression and contributes to myeloid transformation.. Haematologica, 2012.
  39. Hur EM, Patel SN, Shimizu S, Rao DS, Gnanapragasam PN, An DS, Yang L, Baltimore D. Inhibitory effect of HIV-specific neutralizing IgA on mucosal transmission of HIV in humanized mice.. Blood, 2012.
  40. Fernando TR, Rodriguez-Malave NI, Rao DS. MicroRNAs in B cell development and malignancy.. Journal of hematology & oncology, 2012.
  41. Chaudhuri AA, So AY, Mehta A, Minisandram A, Sinha N, Jonsson VD, Rao DS, O'Connell RM, Baltimore D. Oncomir miR-125b regulates hematopoiesis by targeting the gene Lin28A.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2012.
  42. O'Connell RM, Rao DS, Baltimore D. microRNA regulation of inflammatory responses.. Annual review of immunology, 2012.
  43. Contreras J, Rao DS. MicroRNAs in inflammation and immune responses.. Leukemia, 2011.
  44. Balazs AB, Chen J, Hong CM, Rao DS, Yang L, Baltimore D. Antibody-based protection against HIV infection by vectored immunoprophylaxis.. Nature, 2011.
  45. O'Connell RM, Zhao JL, Rao DS. MicroRNA function in myeloid biology.. Blood, 2011.
  46. Zhao JL, Rao DS, Boldin MP, Taganov KD, O'Connell RM, Baltimore D. NF-kappaB dysregulation in microRNA-146a-deficient mice drives the development of myeloid malignancies.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2011.
  47. Boldin MP, Taganov KD, Rao DS, Yang L, Zhao JL, Kalwani M, Garcia-Flores Y, Luong M, Devrekanli A, Xu J, Sun G, Tay J, Linsley PS, Baltimore D. miR-146a is a significant brake on autoimmunity, myeloproliferation, and cancer in mice.. The Journal of experimental medicine, 2011.
  48. O'Connell RM, Kahn D, Gibson WS, Round JL, Scholz RL, Chaudhuri AA, Kahn ME, Rao DS, Baltimore D. MicroRNA-155 promotes autoimmune inflammation by enhancing inflammatory T cell development.. Immunity, 2010.
  49. O'Connell RM, Balazs AB, Rao DS, Kivork C, Yang L, Baltimore D. Lentiviral vector delivery of human interleukin-7 (hIL-7) to human immune system (HIS) mice expands T lymphocyte populations.. PloS one, 2010.
  50. O'Connell RM, Chaudhuri AA, Rao DS, Gibson WS, Balazs AB, Baltimore D. MicroRNAs enriched in hematopoietic stem cells differentially regulate long-term hematopoietic output.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2010.
  51. Rao DS, O'Connell RM, Chaudhuri AA, Garcia-Flores Y, Geiger TL, Baltimore D. MicroRNA-34a perturbs B lymphocyte development by repressing the forkhead box transcription factor Foxp1.. Immunity, 2010.
  52. O'Connell RM, Rao DS, Chaudhuri AA, Baltimore D. Physiological and pathological roles for microRNAs in the immune system.. Nature reviews. Immunology, 2010.
  53. O'Connell RM, Chaudhuri AA, Rao DS, Baltimore D. Inositol phosphatase SHIP1 is a primary target of miR-155.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2009.
  54. Baltimore D, Boldin MP, O'Connell RM, Rao DS, Taganov KD. MicroRNAs: new regulators of immune cell development and function.. Nature immunology, 2008.
  55. Pullarkat ST, Vardiman JW, Slovak ML, Rao DS, Rao NP, Bedell V, Said JW. Megakaryocytic blast crisis as a presenting manifestation of chronic myeloid leukemia.. Leukemia research, 2008.
  56. O'Connell RM, Rao DS, Chaudhuri AA, Boldin MP, Taganov KD, Nicoll J, Paquette RL, Baltimore D. Sustained expression of microRNA-155 in hematopoietic stem cells causes a myeloproliferative disorder.. The Journal of experimental medicine, 2008.
  57. Rao DS, Said JW. Small lymphoid proliferations in extranodal locations.. Archives of pathology & laboratory medicine, 2007.
  58. Rao DS, Gui D, Koski ME, Popoviciu LM, Wang H, Reiter RE, Said JW. An inverse relation between COX-2 and E-cadherin expression correlates with aggressive histologic features in prostate cancer.. Applied immunohistochemistry & molecular morphology : AIMM, 2006.
  59. Pham PH, Rao DS, Vasunilashorn F, Fishbein MC, Goldin JG. Computed tomography calcium quantification as a measure of atherosclerotic plaque morphology and stability.. Investigative radiology, 2006.
  60. Kaluza V, Rao DS, Said JW, de Vos S. Primary extranodal nasal-type natural killer/T-cell lymphoma of the brain: a case report.. Human pathology, 2006.
  61. Rao DS, Infeld MD, Stern RC, Chelimsky TC. Cough-induced hemiplegic migraine with impaired consciousness in cystic fibrosis.. Pediatric pulmonology, 2006.
  62. Rao DS, Goldin JG, Fishbein MC. Determinants of plaque instability in atherosclerotic vascular disease.. Cardiovascular pathology : the official journal of the Society for Cardiovascular Pathology, 2005.
  63. Oravecz-Wilson KI, Kiel MJ, Li L, Rao DS, Saint-Dic D, Kumar PD, Provot MM, Hankenson KD, Reddy VN, Lieberman AP, Morrison SJ, Ross TS. Huntingtin Interacting Protein 1 mutations lead to abnormal hematopoiesis, spinal defects and cataracts.. Human molecular genetics, 2004.
  64. Hyun TS, Rao DS, Saint-Dic D, Michael LE, Kumar PD, Bradley SV, Mizukami IF, Oravecz-Wilson KI, Ross TS. HIP1 and HIP1r stabilize receptor tyrosine kinases and bind 3-phosphoinositides via epsin N-terminal homology domains.. The Journal of biological chemistry, 2004.
  65. Rao DS, Bradley SV, Kumar PD, Hyun TS, Saint-Dic D, Oravecz-Wilson K, Kleer CG, Ross TS. Altered receptor trafficking in Huntingtin Interacting Protein 1-transformed cells.. Cancer cell, 2003.
  66. Rao DS, Hyun TS, Kumar PD, Mizukami IF, Rubin MA, Lucas PC, Sanda MG, Ross TS. Huntingtin-interacting protein 1 is overexpressed in prostate and colon cancer and is critical for cellular survival.. The Journal of clinical investigation, 2002.
  67. Rao DS, Chang JC, Kumar PD, Mizukami I, Smithson GM, Bradley SV, Parlow AF, Ross TS. Huntingtin interacting protein 1 Is a clathrin coat binding protein required for differentiation of late spermatogenic progenitors.. Molecular and cellular biology, 2001.