Professor Chanaka Mendis  

Dr. Chanaka Mendis, Professor

B.S. Chemistry, State University of New-York/Old Westbury

Ph.D. Chemistry, Georgetown University

Emphasis in Cellular Signaling and gene Expression profiling 

Cell death markers in SEB induced human PBMC module

We have made significant contributions to properly identifying and confirming the effect of a number of signal components as possible signal blockers on the gene expression pattern of apoptosis related genes in human PBMCs induced by Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB).

Gene expression profile of Staphylococcal Enterotoxin B and Lipopolysaccaride induced human PBMCs

Our laboratory has pursued a molecular approach in comparing the host’s response to two similar toxins (SEB and LPS) on a genetic level, by identifying a set of genes to facilitate the differentiation in exposure of SEB from LPS. The multiple conformational analyses utilized in this study will not only allow us to better understand the various mechanisms and pathways induced by both SEB and LPS.

Targeting and evaluating pathway inter-connectors terminate/block complex signaling activities

Our goal in this area of study can be broadly defined as using molecular and cellular approaches to characterize molecular signaling pathways that control these fundamental biological changes using human PBMCs as a prototype cellular module. We are currently exploring how/where and extent of interactions (namely JNK, p38, 5-LO and MAPK)of similar components, utilizing SEB/LPS induced human PBMCs.

Recent Publications/Awards/Presentations and Past/Present students:

Awards and Honors

2008 &10        Judge, Undergraduate poster competition, ASBMB National Conference

2010                Representative of UW-P of an initiative to Institutionalize Undergraduate Research for State Systems and Consortia funded by Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR)

2007                Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) Award in Biochemistry      

2007                 Recognized by National Honor Society Phi Eta Sigma for the outstanding contributions made to Undergraduate teaching efforts at UWP

2006                Filed Patent application with WiSys Technology Foundation Inc., “Early Intervention By Targeting Compounds that Inter-Connect Pathways.” (T05058US) UWP, Platteville, WI

2005-08 &10   Faculty professional development award to participate at the ASBMB National Scientific Conference, UWP, Platteville, WI

2005-2008       Research Mentor, Pioneer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (PURF) Awardees for 2008/2009(1 student), 2006/2007(1 student) and 2005/2006(2 students),UWP, Platteville, WI

2006                Reader, Genes & Immunity & Molecular and Cellular Probes

2006                Scholarship to attend UW-System faculty WiCell's Introduction to Human Embryonic Stem Cell Culture Methods course,  WiSys Technology Foundation, Madison, WI

2004                US Pre-grant Abstract # 20050272055 “Method of treating lethal shock induced by toxic agents and diagnosing exposure to toxic agents by measuring distinct pattern in the levels of expression of specific genes,” WRAIR, Silver Spring, MD

2003                Reviewer, The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Proposals, WRAIR, Silver Spring, MD

2002 & 2003   Experimental module Development award, SEAP, WRAIR, Silver Spring, MD

2001 & 2002   Research Scientist Travel Award to participate at the ASBMB National conference, ASBMB, Bethesda, MD

2001                Patent #6,316,197 “Method for diagnosing of exposure to toxic agents by measuring distinct patterns in the levels of expression of specific genes”

1997-2002       Certificate of Appreciation, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology,

                        Mentorship Program

1992                Outstanding achievements in minority biomedical research support program, SUNY/College of Old Westbury, Old Westbury, NY

1992                American Institute of Chemistry Award, SUNY/College of Old Westbury, Old Westbury, NY

1991                Freshman Chemistry Achievement Award, SUNY/College of Old Westbury, Old Westbury, NY



1.      Wu, T, Abrahim, A., Mendis, C., and Oldmixon R.  (1993).  Production Mechanism of H* in the He (23S) + CH2Cl2 Reaction, Chemical and Physics Letters, 210:118-122.

2.Das, R., Mendis, C., Yan, Z., Neil, R, Boyle, T., and Jett M. (1998). Alterations in Gene Expression Show Unique Patterns in Response to Toxic Agents, 21st Army Science Conference, Proceedings 21:529-534.

3.      Das, R., Hammamieh, R., Neil, R., Ludwig, G., Mendis, C., Hoover, D., Dhokalia, A.         Cummings, C. Paranavitana, C., Yang, D.C.H., Lindler, L., Huang, X., Henchal, E. and Jett, M. (2003). Host Gene Expression Profiles In Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells:  Detection of Exposure to Biological Threat Agents, Proceedings of the 23rd Army Science Conference, KO-04
(p 1-7).

4.      Das, R., Cummings, C., Mendis, C., Neill, R., Ludwig, G., Hoover, D., Paranavitana, C., Yang, D., Lindler, L., Huang, X., Henchal, E., and Jett, M. (2002). Global Gene Analysis of Various Biological Threat and Infectious Agents Using PBMC:  Implications for Therapy and Rapid Diagnostics, In:  Dianne McQuestion (ed) Report #A029304, Proceedings, Chemical and Biological Defense Symposium.  

5.      Hammamieh, R.,   Das, R.,  Neill, R.,  Mendis, C.,  Bi, S.,  Mani S., Jett, M.  (2004). Host Gene Expression Responses to Bio-Threat and Infectious Agents: Implications for Mathematical Modeling of In Vitro Responses in NATO Medical Surveillance and Response, Research and Technology Opportunities and Options,  Human Factors in Medicine, RTO-MP-HFM-108:24-32.

  1. Mendis, C., Das, R., and Jett, M. (2003). Gene Expression Studies in Lymphoid Cells Using DD-PCR (Section I, Chapter 3): Perspectives in Gene Expression Krishnarao Appasani (ed).   Eaton Publications, Westboro, MA.  
  2. Jett, M., Das, R., Cummings, C., Mendis, C., Neill, R., Hoover, D., Lindler, L., Paranavitana, C., Huang, X., Ludwig, G., Henchal, E., Yang, D. (2001). Identification of Changes In Gene Expression Induced By Toxic Agents: Implications for Therapy and Rapid Diagnosis In: Human Factors in Medicine Wade (ed).,  NATO Conference: Operational Medical Issues in Chemical and Biological Defense, RTO-MP-075 19-1 to 19-8.2002.
  3. Hammamieh, R., Bi, S., Mani, S., Chakraborty, N., Mendis, C., Das, R., and Jett, M. (2003). Genetic Variation in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells in Piglets Used as an Animal Model for Staphylococcal Enterotoxins Exposures, Omics, 7 (4) 401-409.
  4. Mendis, C. Das R., Royaee, A., Hammamieh, R., Peel, S., Yang D and Jett, M. Transcriptional Response Signature of Human Lymphoid Cells to Staphyloccocus Aureous Enterotoxin B. (2005). Genes & Immunity, 6, 84-94.
  5. Hiner, M.*, Lehr, R.*, Chakraborthy, N., Jett, M. and Mendis, C.  (2005-2006). Genetic Comparison of SEB to LPS for Rapid Diagnostics, Big M Online Journal, Vol II, 49-64.
  6. Royaee, A., Hammamieh, R., Mendis, C., Das, R., Jett, M., and Yang D. (2006).  Induction of   Immunomodulator Transcriptional Responses by Cholera ToxinMol Immunol. March 43(7): 1020-8.
  7. Royaee, A. R., Jong, L., Mendis, C., Das, R., Jett, M. and Yang, D. C. H., (2006). Cholera Toxin Induced Novel Genes in Human Lymphocytes and Monocytess.  Mol Immunol. March 43(8): 1267-74.
  8. Royaee, A. R., Mendis, C., Das R.,  Jett, M., and Yang, D.C., (2006). Cholera Toxin Induced Gene Expression Alterations. Mol Immunol. February 43(6): 702-9.
  1. Das, R., Hammamieh, R., Neill, R., Ludwig, G. V., Lincoln, E. S., Ramamoorthy, P., Dhokalia, A.,  Mani, S.,  Mendis, C., Cummings, C., Kearney, B., Royaee, A., Huang, X.Z. Paranavitana, C., Smith, L., Peel, S., Kanesa-Thasan, N., Hoover, D., Lindler, L.E., Yang, D., Henchal, E. and Jett, M., (2008).  Early Indicators of Exposure to Biological Threat Agents Using Host Gene Profiles in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells.  Bio Med Central (BMC) Infectious Diseases. 8:104.
  2. Mendis, C., Campbell, K.*, Das, R., Yang, D. and Jett, M., (2008).   Effect of 5-Lipoxygenase Inhibitor MK591 on Early Molecular and Signaling Events Induced by Staphylococcal Enterotoxin B (SEB) in Human Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMCs). FEBS Journal, 275 3088-3098.
  3. Evaluating Multiple Signaling Activities in LPS Induced Human Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells, Kristin Zindel*, Sarah Whiteman*, Suzanne Stapleton*, Marti Jett, Chanaka Mendis, (under preparation)
  4. Differentiating Gene Expression profile of Staphylococcal Enterotoxin B and Lipopolysaccharide induced human PBMCs, Megan Linebach1, Meghan Murphy1Mark Hiner1, Rachel Staab1, Marti Jett2 and Chanaka Mendis1, 1 University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Platteville, WI, USA, 2Division of Pathology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, MD 20910 , AJMB Journal (Under preparation)



Research Support

Pioneer Academic Center for Community Engagement (PACCE) - Mendis (PI), Further Evaluate Pathway Inter-Connectors  2010/11,

Equipment Grant - Mendis (PI), Rapid Diagnostics of SEB and Investigation of Apoptotic Markers, Army Research Office in Frederick MD, 08/01/05-07/31/14,

SAIF-A- Mendis (PI), UWP, Manipulating signaling activities to better understand cell death and toxic shock, 07/10-06/11

UWP Grant writing Opportunity- , Mendis (PI), UWP, Novel family of Targets to treat breast cancer, 2010/11

UW system-Growth Agenda Grant, Mendis (Co-PI), Pre-College and Undergraduate Research Program, University of Wisconsin System, 2010-2011
Defense Adv. Research Projects Agency (DARPA) #-021-99, - Mendis (Co-Investigator), 99-02, Host Responses to Toxic Agents: Diagnostic & Therapeutic Implementation,

Scholarly Activity Improvement Fund (SAIF) Category A – Mendis (PI), 03/01/05-08/31/06, University of Wisconsin-Platteville (UWP), Application of gene profiling techniques in identifying potential diagnostic target

SAIF Category A – Mendis (PI), 03/01/06-08/31/07, University of Wisconsin-Platteville (UWP), Investigation of signaling pathway Inter-connectors in disease control and prevention

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) - Mendis (PI), 08-2007 -09-2008, University of Wisconsin- Platteville (UWP), Incorporating research into the General Biochemistry Laboratory (CHEM 461)

(SAIF) Category A – Mendis (PI), 03/01/07-08/31/08, University of Wisconsin-Platteville (UWP), Investigating a prototype module to block cell death

Re-Assignment Time Grant - Mendis (PI), 2008, UW System and WiSys, Universal Applicability of Pathway Inter-Connector Inhibitors SB203580 and MK591.

Laboratory Modernization Fund - Mendis (PI), 2008/2009, EMS, University of Wisconsin-Platteville (UWP), Modernize Instrumentation in General Biochemistry Laboratories (CHEM461 & CHEM 491) .

Scholarly Activity Improvement Fund (SAIF) Category A - Mendis (PI), 07/01/08-08/31/09, University of Wisconsin-Platteville (UWP), Evaluating MK591 as an Universal Signal Pathway Inhibitor

SAIF-A- Mendis (PI), UWP, Effect of novel pathway inter-connectors in Breast Cancer,  07/09-06/1

Grant writing award,  Mendis-(PI), UW-P; Submit grants to NIH and NSF for the 2006/2007 year 

Re-Assignment Time Grant - Mendis (PI), Utilizing signaling inter-connectors to terminate cell death, UW System and WiSys, 2010

Present Undergraduate students and their Research Projects

Targeting and evaluating pathway inter-connector JNK to terminate/block complex signaling activities induced by SEB in human PBMCs; Emily Banwarth (Senior), Erin McAllister (Senior), Kendra Rothschadl (Sophomore).

Targeting and evaluating pathway inter-connector p38 to terminate/block complex signaling activities induced by SEB in human PBMCs; Lisa Hesse (Senior), Casey Sondgeroth (Senior).

Evaluating pathway inter-connectors to terminate/block complex signaling activities induced by LPS in human PBMCs Ashley Borkovec (Senior),  Kayla Kohlmeier (Sophomore),  Ashley Martin (Junior).

Past Undergraduate Student Researchers

Amanda Smet (2012)

Kurstin Wiwel (2012)

Meghan Mcgivern (2012)

Nicole Krauset (2012)

Megan Lienback (2011)

Sarah Daily (2011)

Kristin Zindel (2011)

Rebecca Klein (2010)

Jorge Bandle (2010)

Suzy Hildebrandt (2010)

Meghan Murphy  (2009)

Tricia Mason (2009)

Cayla Lillge(2009)

Darin Zharte  (2009)

Sarah Whiteman (2009)

Jolene Vanpelt (2009)

Aaron Hopkins (2009)

Katherine Campbell (2008)

Emily Maclean (2008)

Suzanne Stapleton(2008)

Emily Freehauf (2007)

Anne Turner (2007)

Mark Hiner (2007)

Kana Kobashaki (2007)

Rachael Lehr (2006)

Jamie Kruel (2006)

Emily Schiefebein (2006)

Jon Neau (2006)

Sarah Effinger (2006)

Jee-Youn Kim (2005)

Department of Chemistry and Engineering Physics
University of Wisconsin-Platteville
1 University Plaza
Platteville, WI 53818

Office: 308 Ottensman Hall
Phone: (608) 342-1692
FAX: (608) 342-1559