Kalsotra Named Prestigious CAS Fellow

Kalsotra web

Assistant Professor Auinash Kalsotra has been appointed, pending Board of Trustees approval, as a prestigious Fellow of the University of Illinois Center for Advanced Study (CAS) for the academic year 2016-2017.

Each year the CAS awards appointments as Fellows in the Center, providing one semester of release time to carry out self-initiated programs of scholarly research or professional activity. Fellows are selected in an annual competition from the faculty of all departments and colleges.

Dr. Kalsotra, an assistant professor in the College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign, the Department of Biochemistry at the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Carl R. Woese Institute of Genomic Biology plans to advance his research on interfacing RNA processing with biomedical research in the area of organ development.

Specifically, Dr. Kalsotra’s research aims to shed light on possible interventions that could ultimately help people with chronic liver disorders and improve the body’s natural ability to regenerate healthy cells—a process that is impeded in the diseased organ. “Up to 25% of Americans suffer from fatty liver disease, and the number is on the rise,” said Dr. Kalsotra. “Although the initial fat accumulation is relatively harmless, it can progress into a serious condition called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which causes the liver cells to swell and become injured. Why some individuals with extra fat in their liver develop NASH remains unknown,” he noted. “We are investigating the underlying mechanisms that may be responsible for transforming a relatively benign fatty liver into advanced cirrhosis, a condition in which the liver is permanently damaged and cannot work properly,” he said.

“Dr. Kalsotra’s work in the area of translational RNA biology, which constitutes one of the most energetic and evolving forefronts of modern biochemistry and molecular biology, has enormous potential for its impact on health and medicine. He is undoubtedly poised to make significant contributions to this field of study,” remarked Dr. Susan Martinis, Head at the Departments of Biochemistry and Medical Biochemistry.

In addition to his invaluable contributions to medical education, Dr. Kalsotra’s early work has implications for many of the diseases of the muscle and brain as well as the liver. As a result, he collaborates with other investigators, both within the U of I, and without, and the impact of his work will likely be extensive.

The CAS encourages creative achievement and scholarship by promoting intellectual vigor and diversity. For more information about CAS professorships, contact Masumi Iriye, the deputy director of the center, at 217-333-6729 or iriye@illinois.edu.

To learn more about Dr. Kalsotra’s work, visit www.life.illinois.edu/kalsotra/.

Posted January 11, 2016.