protein structures and brain images
Balaraman Kalyanaraman

Balaraman Kalyanaraman, PhD

Harry R. & Angeline E. Quadracci Professor in Parkinson’s Research


  • Biophysics
    MFRC 2034

Contact Information


Research Associate (Postdoctoral), National Biomedical ESR Center, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, 1981-1984
Visiting Fellow, Chemistry, Laboratory of Environmental Biophysics, National Institute of Environmental Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC, 1978-1981
PhD, Chemistry, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, 1978
MS, Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India, 1972
BS, Chemistry, Loyola College, University of Madras, Chennai, India, 1970


I received my BS in chemistry from Loyola College, University of Madras in India, my MS in chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology in India, and my PhD in chemistry from University of Alabama. I completed my postdoctoral training in chemistry at the Laboratory of Environmental Biophysics at the National Institute of Environmental Sciences. I came to MCW as a research associate at the National Biomedical EPR Center in 1984, and was appointed as MCW faculty in 1994. I served as director of the Biophysics Research Institute from 2000 to 2003, and as chair of the Department of Biophysics from 2003 to 2022. Also, I have served as an associate editor for Free Radicals in Biology and Medicine, Free Radical Research, and Biochemical Journal.

Research Interests

My research centers on understanding the role of oxidants, antioxidants, and mitochondrial therapeutics in cancer biology, immuno-oncology, cardio-oncology, and neurodegeneration.

My specific research areas are outlined below.

  • Chemistry and Biophysics
    • Detection of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species by EPR spin-trapping, fluorescence, optical stopped-flow, and HPLC techniques
    • Syntheses of mitochondrially targeted spin traps, spin labels, and ROS-specific fluorescence probes
    • EPR studies of mitochondria
  • Mechanism of Signal Transduction/Cell Signaling
    • Mitochondrial STAT3 and redox signaling
    • Oxidant-induced iron signaling and apoptosis
    • Chemotherapeutic drug (e.g., doxorubicin) toxicity and prevention; mechanism of apoptosis in tumor cells and normal cells
  • Mechanism of Disease
    • Role of mitochondria-derived oxidants in chemically induced Parkinsonism (e.g., MPTP, rotenone) in cell culture and animal models; mechanism of protein aggregation, proteosomal dysfunction, and apoptotic neuronal cell death
    • Targeting of metabolism, bioenergetics, and redox signaling in cancer
    • Development of new mitochondria-targeted antitumor and antiproliferative drugs

My research projects include the following:

  • Chemoprevention of Lung Cancer by Targeting Lonidamine to Mitochondria
    The goal is to examine the efficacy and mechanism of a novel mitochondrial targeting agent (Mito-LON) in treating lung cancer and brain metastasis.

  • Chemoprevention of Lung Cancer with Mitochondria-targeted Honokiol
    The goal is to evaluate the chemopreventive potential of Mito-HNK, a mitochondria-targeted compound, using both in vitro and in vivo models of lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) and determine its mechanism of action, to determine its efficacy for inhibiting LUAD progression and metastasis and its suitability for human clinical trials.

Lab Members
Gang Cheng, Research Assistant Professor