Roy, Avik
Chemistry 214 & 216

Roy, Avik

Adjunct Professor
Chemistry & Biochemistry

Biography: Avik Roy, PhD in Neuroscience, focuses on identifying molecular targets and designing small molecular drugs to combat neurodegenerative diseases. He demonstrated that the loss of function in the bpoz2 gene plays a crucial role in the development of Lewy body pathology. His pioneering work in decoding the role of an ankyrin repeat-rich protein BPOZ2 in the amelioration of alpha-synuclein pathology earned him the Rapid Response Innovation Award from the Michael J Fox Foundation of Parkinson's Disease. Dr. Roy’s work has been published in over 65 peer-reviewed articles with more than 4000 citations . He built Sotira Scientific, a BioTech company, in 2020 with three other partners, to develop cutting-edge peptide therapy against COVID-19. His discovery of KeptideTM, an intranasal therapeutic for COVID-19, received a fast-track non-provisional patent (#11,078,242) in 2021. He has also secured a patent (#10,617,664) for three memory-inducing drugs that can improve the hippocampal function of memory and learning. He is the recipient of the John E Trufant Award (2009), the Young Investigator Award (2009; American Society of Neurochemistry), the Rapid Response Innovation Award (2014), and the Ramsay Award (2022; Solve ME Initiative). Since 2021, Dr. Roy has been serving as the Chief Scientific Officer at Simmaron Research INC, where he continues his scientific journey to decode the molecular mechanism of chronic neuroinflammatory diseases. His research in demonstrating the role of autophagy impairment and metabolic impairment of ATG13, an early autophagy protein, in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) has earned him a competitive NIH R21 grant. He is an adjunct professor of Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an elected member of the Milwaukee Institute for Drug Discovery (MIDD).

Research Interest: Metabolic impairments in neurons, microglia, astroglia, and neural stem cells contribute to the pathogenesis of neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases. Intracellular abnormalities such as defective mitochondrial metabolism, impairment of autophagy, misfolding of α-synuclein, aggregation of amyloid-β, and deficit in neuronal plasticity directly regulate the loss of neuronal function resulting in neuromotor and neurocognitive impairments. Roy lab is interested in applying an array of biochemical strategies to understand the molecular mechanism of neurocognitive disorders. Recently, our research identified Atg13, a regulator of early autophagy vesicle formation, that becomes metabolically defective in ME/CFS patients and directly contributes to the ROS and RNS production in microglial cells.

Important Publications: Publications (10 selected in last 10 years):

1. Roy A, Kundu M et al.. Identification and Characterization of Endogenous Ligands of PPARα in Hippocampus. Nature Chemical Biology 2016.

2. Roy A, Jana M, Corbett G et al.. A novel role of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α in the regulation of CREB and memory-related genes in the hippocampus. Cell Reports 2013.

3. Roy A, Jana M, Kundu M et al.. HMG CoA reductase inhibitors upregulate neurotrophins in brain cells via PPARα. Cell Metabolism 2015.

4. Ghosh A, Roy A, Liu X, Kordower JH et al. Selective inhibition of NF-kappa B activation prevents dopaminergic neuronal loss in a mouse model of Parkinson's disease. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2007; 104(47):18754-9.

5. Roy A* et al. BPOZ-2 Gene Therapy Ameliorates Alpha-Synucleinopathy in A53T Transgenic Mouse Model of Parkinson's disease. Scientific reports 2015 (* Corresponding author)

6. Gottschalk G, Peterson D, Knox K, Maynard M, Whelan RJ and Roy A*. Elevated ATG13 in serum of patients with ME/CFS stimulates oxidative stress response in microglial cells via activation of receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE). Mol. Cell Neuroscience 2022:103731. (* Corresponding author)

7. Roy A* et al. Oleamide, a sleep-inducing supplement, upregulates doublecortin in hippocampal progenitor cells via PPARα. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 2021 (*Corresponding author).

Research Grants (As PI):

1. MJF Foundation of Parkinson's disease BPOZ-2 in Alpha-synucleinopathy Principal Investigator: Avik Roy, PhD ; 2014-2015

2. Ramsay Grant by Solve ME Initiative 2023. Autophagy Impairment in ME/CFGS. Principal Investigator: Avik Roy, PhD ; 2023-2024

3. NIHR21 Exploratory grant R21NS129021 ATG13: A New Player in ME/CFS Principal Investigator: Avik Roy, PhD ; 2023-2025