Jairam K.P. Vanamala, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor of Food Science
  • Faculty Member, The Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute
  • Faculty Member, Center for Molecular Immunology and Infectious Disease (CMIID)
Jairam  K.P. Vanamala, Ph.D.
326 Rodney A. Erickson Food Science Building
University Park, PA 16802
Work Phone: 814-865-6842
Fax: 814-863-6132

Areas of Expertise

  • Food-based approach to chronic disease prevention
  • Foodomics and Metabolomics
  • Proteomics


  1. MS, Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi, India
  2. Ph.D., Texas A&M University (TAMU), College Station, TX
  3. Post-doc, American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) Fellowship, TAMU

Founding Chair, Food System for Gut Health Conference, 2015 (abstract book .pdf)
This conference will gather the foremost scientists and clinicians in the field of gut health to highlight recent progress in food crop genetics, storage, and processing effects on anti-inflammatory compounds, and pre-clinical and clinical studies on food components and gastrointestinal health.

Research Interests:

1. Food processing effects on anti-inflammatory/anti-cancer properties of foods

2. Obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cancer prevention

3. Metabolomics and Proteomics 

4. Interaction of food, gut bacteria and host in health and disease

He uses both in vitro and in vivo models and employs ‘omics’ approaches in conjunction with cellular and molecular techniques to determine ‘polypharmacology’ of whole foods and complex mixtures, and of individual plant bioactive compounds. Dr. Vanamala’s long-term research goal is to improve the health profiles of food products to counter the growing epidemic of chronic diseases such as cancer and type 2 diabetes.


Our research is or has been funded by:

  • The American Institute for Cancer Research
  • USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture 
  • The California Table Grape Commission
  • Voelcker Foundation
  • Great Valley Energy LLC

Selected Publications:

*Corresponding author

Charepalli V, Reddivari L, Radhakrishnan S, Eriksson E, Xiao X, Kim SW, Shen F, Matam VK, Li Q, Bhat VB, Knight R, Vanamala JKP*. 2017. Pigs, unlike mice, have two distinct colonic stem cell populations similar to humans that respond to high-calorie diet prior to insulin resistance. Cancer Prevention Research (Phila) Journal, American Association for Cancer Research, 10(8):442-450. Research Highlighted on the Cover of August 2017 Issue. 

Reddivari L*, Veeramachaneni DNR, Walters WA, Lozupone C, Palmer J, Karunathilake E, Bhatnagar R, Amir A, Knight R, and Vanamala J*. 2017. Peri- and postnatal bisphenol A-induced inflammation is associated with alterations in fecal microbiome and gut and liver metabolome. mSystems. In Press. Research Highlighted as Editors Pick and Cover of September/October 2017 issue. 

Reddivari L, Sapkota BR, Rudraraju A, Liang Y, Ralhan S, Wander GS, Sidorov E, Aston CE, Vanamala J*, and Sanghera DK*. 2017. Metabolite signatures of diabetes and cerebral ischemia: a pilot investigation. Metabolomics. Accepted.

Sido A, Radhakrishnan S, Kim SW, Eriksson E, Shen F, Li Q, Bhat V, Reddivari L and Vanamala J*. 2017. A food-based approach that targets IL-6, a key regulator of chronic intestinal inflammation and colon carcinogenesis. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 43:11-17. PMID: 28193578.

Farook VS, Reddivari L, Mummidi S, Puppala S, Arya R, Lopez-Alvarenga JC, Fowler SP, Chittoor G, Resendez RG, Kumar BM, Comuzzie AG, Curran JE, Lehman DM, Jenkinson CP, Lynch JL, DeFronzo RA, Blangero J, Hale DE, Duggirala R*, Vanamala J*. 2017. Genetics of serum carotenoid levels and their correlation with obesity-related traits in Mexican American children. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 106(1):52-58.

Bitzer Z, Wopperer A, Tao L, Cooper T, Vanamala J, Elias R, Lambert J. 2017. Dietary soy (Glycine max) protein concentrate suppresses colonic inflammation and loss of gut barrier function In vitro and in mice. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 40:201-208. 

Indugu N, Vecchiarelli B, Baker LD, Ferguson JD, Vanamala J, Pitta WD. 2017. Comparison of rumen bacterial communities in dairy herds of different production. BMC Microbiology, 17(1):190. 

Vanamala J*, Massey AR, Pinnamaneni SR, Reddivari, L., and Kenneth, R. (2017) Grain and sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) serves as a novel source of bioactive compounds for human health. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. [Link].

Reddivari, L., V. Charepalli, S. Radhakrishnan, R. Vadde, R. Elias, J. Lambert, and Vanamala J.* Dietary grape compounds suppress oncogenic stem cells in a mouse model of chemically-induced colon cancer. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2016, 16:278.

Das UN, Dain A, Repossi G, Diaz-Gerevini G, Vanamala J, Eynard A. Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) and nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA) modulate metabolic and inflammatory markers in a spontaneous type 2 diabetes mellitus model (Stillman Salgado rats). Lipids in Health and Disease 2016. Accepted.

Yeoh, BS, Saha P, Singh V, Xiao X, Ying Y, Vanamala J, Kennett MJ, Harvatine KJ, Joe B, Vijay-Kumar M. Deficiency of Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase-1 Aggravates Colitogenic Potential of Adoptively Transferred Effector T cells. American Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 2016 DOI: 10.1152/ajpgi.00174.2016

Massey A.R., Reddivari L., Radhakrishnan S, Charepalli V., Karunathilake E., and Vanamala J*. Pro-apoptotic activity against human cancer stem cells differs between different parts of sweet sorghum, a feedstock for biorefining. Journal of Functional Foods. 2016, 23, 601–613.

Vadde R, Radhakrishnan S, Karunathilake E, Reddivari L and Vanamala, J.* Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) suppresses cell proliferation and induces apoptosis in human colon cancer stem cells independent of p53 status via suppression of c-Myc and cyclin D1. Journal of Functional Foods. 2016, 23:601-613.

Charepalli V, Reddivari L, Vadde R, Walia S, Radhakrishnan S, Vanamala J.*  Eugenia jambolana (Java Plum) Fruit Extract Exhibits Anti-Cancer Activity against Early Stage Human HCT-116 Colon Cancer Cells and Colon Cancer Stem Cells. Cancers. 2016, 8(3), 29.

Charepalli V., Reddivari L., Radhakrishnan S., Vadde R., Agarwal R., Vanamala J.*, Anthocyanin-containing purple-fleshed potatoes suppress colon tumorigenesis via elimination of colon cancer stem cells. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 2015, 26, 1641-1649.

Vanamala J., Knight S., Timothy D. Can Your Microbiome Tell You What to Eat? Cell Metabolism, 2015, 22 960-961.

Vadde R., Radhakrishnan S., Reddivari L., and Vanamala J.* Triphala Extract Suppresses Proliferation and Induces Apoptosis in Human Colon Cancer Stem Cells via Suppressing c-Myc/Cyclin D1 and Elevation of Bax/Bcl-2 Ratio. BioMed Research International. 2015, doi:10.1155/2015/649263.

Guard B., Barr J., Reddivari L., Klemashevich C., Jayaraman A., Steiner J., Vanamala J., Suchodolski J. Characterization of Microbial Dysbiosis and Metabolomic Changes in Dogs with Acute Diarrhea. Plos One, 2015, 10(5):e0127259.

Howard K., Jati K.R., Baier S., Friemel T., Markham L., Vanamala J.*, Zempleni J.* Loss of MiRNAs During Processing and Storage of Cow’s (Bos taurus) Milk. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2015, doi: 10.1021/jf505526w

Farook V.S., Reddivari L., Chittoor G., Puppala S., Arya R., Fowler S. P., Hunt K. J., Curran J. E., Comuzzie A. G., Lehman D. M., Jenkinson C. P., Lynch J. L., DeFronzo R. A., Blangero J., Hale D. E., Duggirala R.  and Vanamala J.* Metabolites as novel biomarkers for childhood obesity-related traits in Mexican American children. Pediatric Obesity, 2015, 10(4):320-327 doi: 10.1111/ijpo.270.

Ursell L.K., Haiser H.J., Van Treuren W., Garg N., Reddivari L., Vanamala J., Dorrestein P.C., Turnbaugh P.J., Knight R. The Intestinal Metabolome: An Intersection Between Microbiota and Host. Gastroenterology, 2014, 146(6): 1470-1476.

Maria K., Radhakrishnan S., Reddivari L., Veeramacheneni D.N.R., Vanamala J.* Colon Carcinogenesis: Influence of Western Diet-induced Obesity and Targeting Stem Cells Using Dietary Bioactive Compounds. Nutrition, 2014, 30:1242-1256.

Massey A.R., Reddivari L., Vanamala J.* The Dermal Layer of Sweet Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) Stalk, a Byproduct of Biofuel Production and Source of Unique 3-Deoxyanthocyanidins, has more Anti-proliferative and Pro-apoptotic Activity than Pith in p53 Variants of HCT116 and Colon Cancer Stem Cells. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 2014, 62:3150-3159.

Henley T., Reddivari L., Broeckling C., Bunning M., Miller J., Avens J., Stone M., Prenni J., Vanamala J.* American India Pale Ale matrix rich in xanthohumol is potent in suppressing proliferation and elevating apoptosis of human colon. International Journal of Food Science and Technology, 2014, 49:2464-2471. 49: 2464–2471.

Amer F.S., Reddivari L., Madiwale G.P., Stone M., Holm D. G. and Vanamala J.* Effect of genotype and storage on glycoalkaloid and acrylamide content and sensory attributes of potato chips. American Journal of Potato Research, 2014,  doi: 10.1007/s12230-014-9393-9

Gaurav, M., L. Reddivari, D. Holm and Vanamala J.* Combined effects of storage and processing on the bioactive compounds and pro-apoptotic properties of color-fleshed potatoes in human colon cancer cells. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 2012, 60(44):11088-96.

Vanamala, J.*, K. Andy, H. Adam, and L. Reddivari. Mitigation of obesity-promoted diseases by Nigella sativa and thymoquinone. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 2012, 67(2):111-9.

Gaurav M., Reddivari L., Holm D., and Vanamala J.* Post-harvest storage of colored potatoes elevates phenolic content and anti-oxidant activity but suppresses anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic properties against human colon cancer cell lines. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 2011, 59(15):8155-66.

Vanamala, J.*., L. Reddivari, R. Sridhar and P. Andy. Functional proteomics of resveratrol-elevated human colon cancer cell apoptosis: identification of novel signaling pathways. Proteomics Science, 9:49. 2011. Received “Highly Accessed” Status. Top (#1)

Radhakrishnan S., Reddivari L., and Vanamala J.*. Resveratrol potentiates grape seed extract induced human cancer cell apoptosis via activation of p53-dependent signaling pathways. Frontiers in Bioscience E3, 2011, 1509-1523.

Vanamala, J.*., Reddivari L., Radhakrishnan S., and Tarver C. Resveratrol suppresses IGF-1 induced human colon cancer cell proliferation and elevates apoptosis via activation of p53 and suppression of IGF-1R/Wnt signaling pathways. BMC Cancer, 2010, 10(1):238-246. Received “Highly Accessed” Status.

Leonardi T., Vanamala J., Taddeo S.S., Davidson L.A., Murphy M.E., Patil B.S., Wang N., Carroll R.S.R.J., Chapkin L., and Turner N.D. Apigenin and naringenin suppress colon carcinogenesis through the aberrant crypt stage in azoxymethane-treated rats. Experimental Biology and Medicine, 2010, 235(6):710-7.

Reddivari L., Vanamala J., Safe S.H., and Miller Jr, J.C. The bioactive compounds a - chaconine and gallic acid in potato extracts decrease survival and induce apoptosis in LNCaP and PC3 prostate cancer cells. Nutrition and Cancer, 2010, 62(5):601-10.

Allred K.F., Yackley K., Vanamala J., and Allred C. D. Trigonelline is a novel phytoestrogen in coffee beans. The Journal of Nutrition, 2009, 139(10):1833-1838. 

Vanamala J.*, Tarver C.C., and Murano P.S. Obesity-enhanced colon cancer: functional food compounds and their mechanisms of action. Current Cancer Drug Targets, 2008, 8: 611-633. 

Vanamala J., Glagolenko A., Yang P., Carroll R.J., Murphy M.E., Newman R.A., Ford J.R., Braby L.A., Chapkin R.S., Turner N.D., Lupton J.R. Dietary fish oil and pectin enhance colonocyte apoptosis in part through suppression of PPAR{delta}/PGE2 and elevation of PGE3. Carcinogenesis, 2008, 29 (4):790-796.

Reddivari L., Vanamala J., Chintharlapalli S., Safe S.H., and Miller Jr J.C. Anthocyanin fraction from potato extracts is cytotoxic to prostate cancer cells through activation of caspase-dependent and caspase- independent pathways. Carcinogenesis, 2007, 28 (10):2227–2235.

Vanamala J., Cobb G., Loaiza J., Yoo K.S., Pike L.M., and Patil B.S. Radiation and marketing simulation effects on phenylalanine ammonialyase, bioactive compounds and quality of “Rio Red’ grapefruit (Citrus paradise cv Rio Red). Food Chemistry, 2007, 105: 1404-1411.

Teaching Responsibilities:

  • FDSC 497 Food for Gut Health
  • FDSC 410 Food Analysis 
  • FDSC 422 Communicating Scientific Research