Nagaraj Kerur


Primary Appointment

Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology


  • BVSc, Veterinary Medicine, University of Agricultural Sciences
  • PhD, Microbiology and Immunology, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science
  • Postdoc, Ophthalmology, University of Kentucky

Research Disciplines


Research Interests

Innate Immune Mechanisms in Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Research Description

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is characterized by central vision loss which often culminates with morose consequences, such as irreversible blindness. An estimate, by the United Nations, predicts that the global population of individuals aged 60 and above will double by 2050, reflecting an unprecedented growth in the aging population that will likely have a serious ramifications for aging-associated diseases such as AMD. Our recent work demonstrated that AMD pathology is linked to hyperactivation of innate immune pathways, a feature also shared by a variety of other aging-associated degenerative diseases. Aging is the most important risk factor for AMD. However molecular details of how aging triggers innate immune pathways is unclear. The overall goal of our lab is to decipher the mechanism by which aging influences hyper-activation of innate immune pathways in AMD and aging.

Selected Publications

Kerur N, Fukuda S, Banerjee D, Kim Y, Fu D, Apicella I, Varshney A, Yasuma R, Fowler BJ, Baghdasaryan E, Marion KM, Huang X, Yasuma T, Hirano Y, Serbulea V, Ambati M, Ambati VL, Kajiwara Y, Ambati K, Hirahara S, Bastos-Carvalho A, Ogura Y, Terasaki H, Oshika T, Kim KB, Hinton DR, Leitinger N, Cambier JC, Buxbaum JD, Kenney MC, Jazwinski SM, Nagai H, Hara I, West AP, Fitzgerald KA, Sadda SR, Gelfand BD, Ambati J, cGAS drives noncanonical-inflammasome activation in age-related macular degeneration., 2017; Nature medicine. () . PMID: 29176737 | PMCID: PMC5760363

Gelfand BD, Wright CB, Kim Y, Yasuma T, Yasuma R, Li S, Fowler BJ, Bastos-Carvalho A, Kerur N, Uittenbogaard A, Han YS, Lou D, Kleinman ME, McDonald WH, Núñez G, Georgel P, Dunaief JL, Ambati J, Iron Toxicity in the Retina Requires Alu RNA and the NLRP3 Inflammasome., 2015; Cell reports. 11(11) 1686-93. PMID: 26074074 | PMCID: PMC4481133

Kim Y, Tarallo V, Kerur N, Yasuma T, Gelfand BD, Bastos-Carvalho A, Hirano Y, Yasuma R, Mizutani T, Fowler BJ, Li S, Kaneko H, Bogdanovich S, Ambati BK, Hinton DR, Hauswirth WW, Hakem R, Wright C, Ambati J, DICER1/Alu RNA dysmetabolism induces Caspase-8-mediated cell death in age-related macular degeneration., 2014; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 111(45) 16082-7. PMID: 25349431 | PMCID: PMC4234570

Fowler BJ, Gelfand BD, Kim Y, Kerur N, Tarallo V, Hirano Y, Amarnath S, Fowler DH, Radwan M, Young MT, Pittman K, Kubes P, Agarwal HK, Parang K, Hinton DR, Bastos-Carvalho A, Li S, Yasuma T, Mizutani T, Yasuma R, Wright C, Ambati J, Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors possess intrinsic anti-inflammatory activity., 2014; Science (New York, N.Y.). 346(6212) 1000-3. PMID: 25414314 | PMCID: PMC4274127

Kerur N, Hirano Y, Tarallo V, Fowler BJ, Bastos-Carvalho A, Yasuma T, Yasuma R, Kim Y, Hinton DR, Kirschning CJ, Gelfand BD, Ambati J, TLR-independent and P2X7-dependent signaling mediate Alu RNA-induced NLRP3 inflammasome activation in geographic atrophy., 2013; Investigative ophthalmology & visual science. 54(12) 7395-401. PMID: 24114535 | PMCID: PMC3825570

Chavala SH, Kim Y, Tudisco L, Cicatiello V, Milde T, Kerur N, Claros N, Yanni S, Guaiquil VH, Hauswirth WW, Penn JS, Rafii S, De Falco S, Lee TC, Ambati J, Retinal angiogenesis suppression through small molecule activation of p53., 2013; The Journal of clinical investigation. 123(10) 4170-81. PMID: 24018558 | PMCID: PMC3784529

Singh VV, Kerur N, Bottero V, Dutta S, Chakraborty S, Ansari MA, Paudel N, Chikoti L, Chandran B, Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus latency in endothelial and B cells activates gamma interferon-inducible protein 16-mediated inflammasomes., 2013; Journal of virology. 87(8) 4417-31. PMID: 23388709 | PMCID: PMC3624349

Tarallo V, Hirano Y, Gelfand BD, Dridi S, Kerur N, Kim Y, Cho WG, Kaneko H, Fowler BJ, Bogdanovich S, Albuquerque RJ, Hauswirth WW, Chiodo VA, Kugel JF, Goodrich JA, Ponicsan SL, Chaudhuri G, Murphy MP, Dunaief JL, Ambati BK, Ogura Y, Yoo JW, Lee DK, Provost P, Hinton DR, Núñez G, Baffi JZ, Kleinman ME, Ambati J, DICER1 loss and Alu RNA induce age-related macular degeneration via the NLRP3 inflammasome and MyD88., 2012; Cell. 149(4) 847-59. PMID: 22541070 | PMCID: PMC3351582

Kerur N, Veettil MV, Sharma-Walia N, Bottero V, Sadagopan S, Otageri P, Chandran B, IFI16 acts as a nuclear pathogen sensor to induce the inflammasome in response to Kaposi Sarcoma-associated herpesvirus infection., 2011; Cell host & microbe. 9(5) 363-75. PMID: 21575908 | PMCID: PMC3113467