Ashok Bhagwat

Ashok Bhagwat



313-577-8822 (fax)

Chem 443


Ashok Bhagwat

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

  • Mechanisms of DNA damage and repair, Nucleic acid biochemistry, Carcinogenesis, Generation of antibody diversity


The research in our group is focused on elucidating DNA damage caused by endogenous reactive chemical species, DNA methylation, and cellular processes such as transcription, replication, and cytosine deamination due to human AID/APOBEC enzymes that promote mutations. Cells also express proteins that counteract these potentially hazardous processes by preventing DNA damage or repairing the damage. We aim to understand the interplay between these opposing forces to explain molecular mechanisms that allow cells to diversify and tailor antibodies to counteract infectious agents and respond to viral infections. We are also interested in explaining how these processes may also drive carcinogenesis by causing mutations and using this understanding to find anticancer treatments. 




  • B.Sc., University of Bombay, 1972
  • M.Sc. Indian Institute of Technology, 1974
  • Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, 1982
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1982-1987

Selected publications

1: Conner KL, Shaik AN, Marshall KA, Floyd AM, Ekinci E, Lindquist J, Sawant A,
Lei W, Adolph MB, Chelico L, Siriwardena SU, Bhagwat A, Kim S, Cote ML, Patrick
SM. APOBEC3 enzymes mediate efficacy of cisplatin and are epistatic with base
excision repair and mismatch repair in platinum response. NAR Cancer. 2020
Dec;2(4):zcaa033. doi: 10.1093/narcan/zcaa033. Epub 2020 Nov 6. PMID: 33196045;
PMCID: PMC7646253.

2: Stewart JA, Schauer G, Bhagwat AS. Visualization of uracils created by
APOBEC3A using UdgX shows colocalization with RPA at stalled replication forks.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2020 Nov 18;48(20):e118. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkaa845. PMID:
33074285; PMCID: PMC7672425.

3: Stewart JA, Holland TC, Bhagwat AS. Human Herpes Simplex Virus-1 depletes
APOBEC3A from nuclei. Virology. 2019 Nov;537:104-109. doi:
10.1016/j.virol.2019.08.012. Epub 2019 Aug 13. PMID: 31493648; PMCID:

4: Sakhtemani R, Senevirathne V, Stewart J, Perera MLW, Pique-Regi R, Lawrence
MS, Bhagwat AS. Genome-wide mapping of regions preferentially targeted by the
human DNA-cytosine deaminase APOBEC3A using uracil-DNA pulldown and sequencing.
J Biol Chem. 2019 Oct 11;294(41):15037-15051. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA119.008053.
Epub 2019 Aug 19. PMID: 31431505; PMCID: PMC6791317.

5: Siriwardena SU, Perera MLW, Senevirathne V, Stewart J, Bhagwat AS. A Tumor-
Promoting Phorbol Ester Causes a Large Increase in APOBEC3A Expression and a
Moderate Increase in APOBEC3B Expression in a Normal Human Keratinocyte Cell
Line without Increasing Genomic Uracils. Mol Cell Biol. 2018 Dec
11;39(1):e00238-18. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00238-18. PMID: 30348839; PMCID:

6: Owiti N, Wei S, Bhagwat AS, Kim N. Unscheduled DNA synthesis leads to
elevated uracil residues at highly transcribed genomic loci in Saccharomyces
cerevisiae. PLoS Genet. 2018 Jul 17;14(7):e1007516. doi:
10.1371/journal.pgen.1007516. PMID: 30016327; PMCID: PMC6063437.

7: Wei S, Perera MLW, Sakhtemani R, Bhagwat AS. A novel class of chemicals that
react with abasic sites in DNA and specifically kill B cell cancers. PLoS One.
2017 Sep 19;12(9):e0185010. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185010. PMID: 28926604;
PMCID: PMC5605088.

8: Siriwardena SU, Chen K, Bhagwat AS. Functions and Malfunctions of Mammalian
DNA-Cytosine Deaminases. Chem Rev. 2016 Oct 26;116(20):12688-12710. doi:
10.1021/acs.chemrev.6b00296. Epub 2016 Sep 1. PMID: 27585283; PMCID: PMC5528147.

Currently teaching

  • CHM 5998 Honors Thesis Research in Chemistry, 2-4 credit hours, W2020CHM 5999 Research in Chemistry, 2-4 credit hours, W2020CHM 6640 Molecular Biology, 3 credit hours, W2021CHM 7640 Molecular Biology, 3 credit hours, W2021 

Courses taught

CHM 6640 Molecular Biology, 3 credit hours, W2020
CHM 7640 Molecular Biology, 3 credit hours, W2020

CHM 5900 Research as Discovery, 2 credit hours, F2020