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Dr Andrew Das

Andrew Das

Postdoctoral Fellow

MBChB, PhD (Otago)

Email andrew.das@otago.ac.nz 
Tel 64 3 364 0567

Research interests

Dr Andrew Das is interested in the role that metabolism and epigenetics play in the development of cancer. Together with Professor Margreet Vissers, he is currently investigating the potential use of ascorbate (vitamin C) as an epigenetic therapeutic for specific subtypes of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).

Each of us begins life as a single cell, a fertilised egg. We then embark on a journey that culminates in our birth. Over these nine months or so, an incredible process takes place, the development of all the various cells and organs that make up our body. Because every cell has the same DNA code, extra markings are required to tell each cell which part of the DNA code they should be using. In other words, these epigenetic markings help cells remember their identity. Epigenetic markings can be on the DNA itself, or on the proteins that DNA is wrapped tightly around to package it inside our cells. A similar process occurs on a daily basis, where your body produces billions of blood cells across a wide range of cell types. These cells all come from haematopoietic stem cells located in the bone marrow, with each type requiring different epigenetic markings to guide their development.

When cells acquire mutations in DNA that affect this process, they become dysfunctional and potentially cancerous. This is in fact what we see with AML. Interestingly, these mutations appear earlier in the course of the disease and drive the development of AML. Because epigenetic markings can be written or erased, the effects are potentially reversible. A prime example is mutations that affect the activity of the enzyme TET2. TET2 is involved in erasing a marking called methylation, and requires vitamin C for optimal activity. Furthermore, supplying additional vitamin C can increase the activity of TET2. These observations have led to the postulation that patients with decreased TET2 activity could benefit from treatment with vitamin C. The team are currently using a number of different approaches to investigate this hypothesis.

In the media

Dr Andrew Das was interviewed on Radio New Zealand by Kim Hill in September 2018 about his research into the role of epigenetics in cancer.

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Publications

Vissers, M. C. M., & Das, A. B. (2018). Potential mechanisms of action for vitamin C in cancer: Reviewing the evidence. Frontiers in Physiology, 9, 809. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.00809

Das, A., Morison, I., Kennedy, M., & Vissers, M. (2017, October). The potential use of ascorbate as an epigenetic drug in acute myeloid leukaemia. Poster session presented at the New Zealand Society for Oncology (NZSO) Conference, Auckland, New Zealand.

Das, A. B., Sadowska-Bartosz, I., Königstorfer, A., Kettle, A. J., & Winterbourn, C. C. (2018). Superoxide dismutase protects ribonucleotide reductase from inactivation in yeast. Free Radical Biology & Medicine, 116, 114-122. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2018.01.001

Das, A. B., Nauser, T., Koppenol, W. H., Kettle, A. J., Winterbourn, C. C., & Nagy, P. (2014). Rapid reaction of superoxide with insulin-tyrosyl radicals to generate a hydroperoxide with subsequent glutathione addition. Free Radical Biology & Medicine, 70, 86-95. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2014.02.006

Das, A. B., Nagy, P., Abbott, H. F., Winterbourn, C. C., & Kettle, A. J. (2010). Reactions of superoxide with the myoglobin tyrosyl radical. Free Radical Biology & Medicine, 48, 1540-1547. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2010.02.039

Journal - Research Article

Das, A. B., Sadowska-Bartosz, I., Königstorfer, A., Kettle, A. J., & Winterbourn, C. C. (2018). Superoxide dismutase protects ribonucleotide reductase from inactivation in yeast. Free Radical Biology & Medicine, 116, 114-122. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2018.01.001

Das, A. B., Nauser, T., Koppenol, W. H., Kettle, A. J., Winterbourn, C. C., & Nagy, P. (2014). Rapid reaction of superoxide with insulin-tyrosyl radicals to generate a hydroperoxide with subsequent glutathione addition. Free Radical Biology & Medicine, 70, 86-95. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2014.02.006

Nagy, P., Lechte, T. P., Das, A. B., & Winterbourn, C. C. (2012). Conjugation of glutathione to oxidized tyrosine residues in peptides and proteins. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 287(31), 26068-26076. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.371690

Das, A. B., Nagy, P., Abbott, H. F., Winterbourn, C. C., & Kettle, A. J. (2010). Reactions of superoxide with the myoglobin tyrosyl radical. Free Radical Biology & Medicine, 48, 1540-1547. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2010.02.039

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Journal - Research Other

Vissers, M. C. M., & Das, A. B. (2018). Potential mechanisms of action for vitamin C in cancer: Reviewing the evidence. Frontiers in Physiology, 9, 809. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.00809

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Das, A., Nagy, P., Lecthe, T., Koppenol, W. H., Winterbourn, C. C., & Kettle, A. (2013). Detection of glutathione conjugated to oxidised tyrosine residues on proteins. Free Radical Biology & Medicine, 65(Suppl. 2), (pp. S55). doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2013.10.520

Das, A. B., Nagy, P., Abbott, H., Winterbourn, C. C., & Kettle, A. J. (2009). Reactions of superoxide with the myoglobin tyrosyl radical. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 47(Suppl. 1), (pp. S74). [Abstract]

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Conference Contribution - Poster Presentation (not in published proceedings)

Das, A., Morison, I., Kennedy, M., & Vissers, M. (2017, October). The potential use of ascorbate as an epigenetic drug in acute myeloid leukaemia. Poster session presented at the New Zealand Society for Oncology (NZSO) Conference, Auckland, New Zealand.

Das, A. B., Nagy, P., Lechte, T., Winterbourn, C. C., & Kettle, A. J. (2013, August). Detection of glutathione conjugated to oxidized tyrosine residues on protein. Poster session presented at the Queenstown Molecular Biology (QMB) Meetings, Queenstown, New Zealand.

Das, A. B., Nagy, P., Abbott, H., Winterbourn, C. C., & Kettle, A. J. (2009, September). Superoxide mediated protein oxidation: A potential mechanism for superoxide toxicity. Poster session presented at the Third Annual Division of Health Sciences Research Forum, Wellington, New Zealand.

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Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Brown, C. M., Das, A., Stevens, S., Biswas, A., Gagnon, J., McKinney, C., Chen, A., & Chen, S. (2011, September). Bioinformatic approaches to discover post-transcriptional regulatory elements in human mRNAs. Verbal presentation at the Queenstown Molecular Biology (QMB) Meetings, Queenstown, New Zealand.

Das, A. (2008, November). Reactions of superoxide with the myoglobin tyrosol radical. Verbal presentation at the Society for Free Radical Research Australasia Conference, Melbourne, Australia.

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Awarded Doctoral Degree

Das, A. B. (2017). The reactions of superoxide with tyrosyl radicals on proteins (PhD). University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10523/7065

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