University of Hawai‘i at Manoa
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Last updated on Wednesday, August 3, 2022    Make updates ->

Pratibha  Nerurkar

Name :

Pratibha Nerurkar

Title :

Professor and Graduate Chair

Unit :

Department of Molecular Biosciences & BioEngineering

Address :

1955 East-West Rd. #218
                  Honolulu, HI 96822

Room :

Ag Sciences Building 415H

Phone :

(808) 956-9195

Fax :

(808) 956-3542

E-mail :

Website :

Specialties :

Metabolic Disorders (obesity and diabetes) and alternative medicine, nanomedicine, nanotechnology, inflammation and diabetes, and health benefits of specialty crops.

Professional Prep/Appointments :

  • Post-doctoral fellowship, Chemical and transplacental carcinogenesis, NCI, NIH
  • Ph. D., Biochemistry, University of Bombay (Mumbai), India 
  • M.Sc., Biochemistry, University of Bombay (Mumbai), India 
  • B.Sc., Biochemistry, University of Bombay (Mumbai), India

Appointments & Affiliations (current, selected)

  • Graduate Chair, MBBE, CTAHR, UH
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, HNFAS, CTAHR, UH 
  • Academic Editor of PLoS ONE 
  • Editorial Board Member for: Journal of Diabetes Research, Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, International Journal of Integrative and Ayurvedic Medicine 
  • Member of Graduate council, UH 
  • Member of Excellence in Academic Advising (EAA) committees, Phase I, II &III

Selected Awards

  • 2021 “Western Region Award for Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences”, USA
  • 2021 “Presidential Citation for Meritorious Teaching at UH Manoa”, UH
  • 2020 “Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research and Creative Work”, UH
  • 2018 First place, Western Region Excellence Award in Multistate Research, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), USDA
  • 2017 Second place, National Excellence Award in Multistate Research, NIFA, USDA

Projects :

New research endeavors and ongoing projects conducted using mammalian cell culture models, animal models, pilot human studies as well as plant models.
1. Metabolomic signatures of Hawaii-grown specialty crops and functional foods
2. Developing value-added products of specialty crops
3. Anti-diabetic potential of bitter melon
4. Anti-diabetic potential of noni
5. Nutrition and human health
6. Role of gut microbiome in human health and disease

Alternative Medicine, Functional Foods and Diabetes
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use by general population has been estimated to be as high as 40-50%. Nevertheless, there is lack of systemic evaluation to prove or disprove the efficacy of these alternative medicines. In chronic conditions such as diabetes, patients may turn to alternative remedies that have purported to improve glycemic conditions. Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a common, chronic metabolic disorder, affecting 16 million people or 6.9% of the US adult population. 800,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, and it is the sixth leading cause of death in United States. In Hawaii alone, an estimated 86,000 people have diabetes. The age-adjusted prevalence of type 2 diabetes among Hawaiian population is the highest reported for any Polynesian population in the world.

The focus of our current research is a multi-disciplinary approach to explore the anti-diabetic effects of noni, functional foods and Ayurvedic medicinal plants utilizing mammalian cell culture, animal models and conducting pilot clinical studies.

Courses Taught:

MBBE 375 (4 credits, laboratory and lecture, 2004 – 2007 )
Fundamentals and Principles of Biochemistry: A Multidisciplinary Approach

MBBE 375
(3 credits, 2014 - present)
Essential Biochemistry (with clinical correlates)

MBBE 402
(4 credits, 2008 - 2020)
Essential Biochemistry

MBBE 610
(1 credit, seminar series)
Lipid Signaling and Lipidomics (fall 2004)
Chromatin Remodeling and Histone Acetylation (fall 2006)
Emerging Technologies Applied in Agriculture and Human Health (spring 2021)

MBBE 651
(3 credits, 2003 - present)
Signal Transduction and Gene Regulation

MBBE 699
(variable credits, 2003 - present)
Directed research for graduate students

MBBE 499
(variable credits, 2003 - present)
Directed research for undergraduate students (Honor’s thesis, Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program grant applications and presentations at local and national symposium)

Current Students: One Ph.D., 2 MS and 5 undergraduates
Mentoring Activities: I have mentored more than 65 undergraduates, 50 graduate student and over 27 teaching/research assistants (TAs/RAs) and junior faculty.

Research Interests :

  • Traditional Hawaiian medicine
  • Traditional Ayurvedic medicine
  • Role of gut microbiome in health and disease (animal and human studies).
  • Role of alternative medicines in ameliorating obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes and hyperlipidemia (metabolic syndrome).
  • Signal transduction pathways involved in insulin signaling, lipid metabolism and glucose metabolism.
  • Role of inflammation in diabetes
  • Use of nanotechnology to improve nutrient value of foods
  • Food fermentation and human health
  • Mechanisms of mitochondrial toxicity associated with obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes and drug-induced hepatotoxicity.
  • ER function in obesity, insulin resistance and hyperlipidemia (metabolic syndrome).
  • Role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nuclear transcription factors in obesity, insulin resistance and hyperlipidemia (metabolic syndrome).

Selected Publications :

Nerurkar PV*, Gandhi, K and Chen J.J. (2021) Correlations between coffee consumption and metabolic phenotypes, plasma folate, and vitamin B12: NHANES 2003 to 2006. . Nutrients 13 (4), 1348 -1366.

Nerurkar PV*, Orias, Da,b., Soares, Na,b., Kumar, M. and Nerurkar, V.R. (2019) Momordica charantia (Bitter melon) modulates adipose inflammasome gene expression and adipose-gut inflammatory crosstalk in high-fat diet (HFD)-fed mice. J Nutritional Biochem, 68: 16-22.

• Kunde DA, Chong WC, Nerurkar PV, Ahuja KD, Just J, Smith JA, Guven N, Eri RD. (2017) Bitter melon protects against ER stress in LS174T colonic epithelial cells. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 17(1):2.

Invited Review: Nerurkar PV*, Hwang, P. and Saksa, E. (2015) Anti-Diabetic Potential of Noni: The Yin and The Yang. Molecules, Sep 25;20(10):17684-719.

• Kumar, M., Roe, K., Nerurkar, PV., Orillo, B., Thompson, K.S., Verma, S. and Nerurkar, V.R. (2014) Reduced immune cell infiltration and increased neuroinflammation in type 2 diabetic mice infected with West Nile virus. J Neuroinflammation Apr 21;11(1):80. PMID: 24750819

• Rajamoorthi, A., Shrivastava, S., Steele, R.,Nerurkar, P., Gonzalez, J.G., Crawford, S., Varvares, M. and Ray, R.B. (2013) Bitter Melon Reduces Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Growth by Targeting c-Met Signaling. PLoS One. Oct 17;8(10)

• Kumar, M., Roe, K.,Nerurkar, PV., Namekar, M., Orillo, B., Verma, S., and Nerurkar, V. R. (2012) Impaired virus clearance, compromised immune response and increased mortality in type 2 diabetic mice infected with West Nile virus. PLoS One, 7, e44682.

Nerurkar, PV*., Nishioka, A., Eck, P. O., Johns, L. M., Volper, E., and Nerurkar, V. R. (2012) Regulation of glucose metabolism via hepatic forkhead transcription factor 1 (FoxO1) by Morinda citrifolia (noni) in high-fat diet-induced obese mice. Br J Nutr, 108, 218-228.

• Ru, P., Steele, R.,Nerurkar, PV., Phillips, N., and Ray, R. B. (2011) Bitter melon extract impairs prostate cancer cell-cycle progression and delays prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia in TRAMP model. Cancer Prev Res (Phila), 4, 2122-2130.

• Snee, LS., Nerurkar, VR., Dooley, DA., Efird, JT., Shovic, C., and Nerurkar, PV*. (2011) Strategies to improve palatability and increase consumption intentions for Momordica charantia (bitter melon): a vegetable commonly used for diabetes management. Nutr J, 10, 78, ; Erratum in: Nutr J. 2014;13:3.

Nerurkar, PV*., Johns, L. M., Buesa, L. M., Kipyakwai, G., Volper, E., Sato, R., Shah, P., Feher, D., Williams, P. G., and Nerurkar, V. R. (2011) Momordica charantia (bitter melon) attenuates high-fat diet-associated oxidative stress and neuroinflammation. J Neuroinflammation, 8, 64. doi: 10.1186/1742-2094-8-64 PMID: 21639917

Nerurkar, PV*., Lee, Y. K., and Nerurkar, V. R. (2010) Momordica charantia (bitter melon) inhibits primary human adipocyte differentiation by modulating adipogenic genes. BMC Complement Altern Med, 10, 34. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-10-34.

Nerurkar, PV*., Lee, Y. K., Motosue, M., Adeli, K., and Nerurkar, V. R. (2008) Momordica charantia (bitter melon) reduces plasma apolipoprotein B-100 and increases hepatic insulin receptor substrate and phosphoinositide-3 kinase interactions. Br J Nutr, 100, 751-759.

Nerurkar, PV., Okinaka, L., Aoki, C., Seifried, A., Lum-Jones, A., Wilkens, L. R., and Le Marchand, L. (2000) CYP1A1, GSTM1, and GSTP1 genetic polymorphisms and urinary 1-hydroxypyrene excretion in non-occupationally exposed individuals. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 9, 1119-1122.

Nerurkar, PV., Le Marchand, L., and Cooney, R. V. (1999) Effects of marinating with Asian marinades or western barbecue sauce on PhIP and MeIQx formation in barbecued beef. Nutr Cancer, 34, 147-152.

Nerurkar, PV., Schut, H. A., Anderson, L. M., Riggs, C. W., Fornwald, L. W., Davis, C. D., Snyderwine, E. G., Thorgeirsson, S. S., Weber, W. W., Rice, J. M., and Levy, G. N. (1996) Ahr locus phenotype in congenic mice influences hepatic and pulmonary DNA adduct levels of 2-amino-3-methylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoline in the absence of cytochrome P450 induction. Mol Pharmacol, 49, 874-881.

Speaker (selected, over 35)
1. Organizing Committee Member, Nerurkar PV. Global Conference on Traditional and Alternative Medicine (GCTAM2022) March 14-16, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain.

2. Organizing Committee Member and Invited Speaker, Nerurkar PV. Global Summit and Expo on Food Science and Technology (GSFST2022) March 17-19, 2022 in Dubai, UAE.

3. Invited Speaker, Nerurkar PV. 3rd World Congress on Complementary and Alternative Medicine” (Cam Therapies 2021) November 22-23, 2021 at Dubai, UAE.

4. Keynote Speaker, Nerurkar PV: Momordica charantia (Bitter melon) improves colon inflammation and gut barrier integrity in high-fat diet (HFD)-fed mice. International Conference on Diabetes & Phytotherapy (ICDP), Annamalai University, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India, August 18 – 20, 2018.

5. Invited panelist speaker on behalf of the Faculty Mentoring Program and Manoa Faculty: “A Bird's Eye View of a Dossier". Summer 2018, UHM

6. Plenary Speaker, Nerurkar PV. Alternate Approach to the Management of Diabetes. THE 2012 HOBART SYMPOSIUM. Update on the Origins and Management of Disease, Clinical School, University of Tasmania, Collins Street, Hobart, 6th October, 2012.

7. Plenary Speaker, Session Co-chair, Nerurkar PV. Targeting Inflammation & ER Stress for Diabetes Management. 2nd World Congress on Diabetes & Metabolism, Philadelphia, PA, December 6-8, 2011.

8. Plenary Speaker, Nerurkar PV. Anti-Diabetic Mechanisms of Ayurvedic Medicine, Momordica charantia (Bitter Melon). International Conference On Multidisciplinary Approaches to Diabetes Research & Health, Jaipur, India, November 14-16, 2010

Abstracts Presented at International, National and Local Meetings (selected from over 170)
1. Nerurkar, PV. Health benefits of Coffee and metabolomics of noni juices. W4122 – NIMSS Annual Meeting, Calistoga, CA. Oct 3-5, 2018

2. Nerurkar PV. Fermented Noni Juice Inhibits Breast Cancer Cell Proliferation by Regulating Inhibitors of Apoptosis Proteins (IAPs). Annual W3122 Meeting, Snowbird, UT, Oct 9 -10, 2013.

3. Hwang P and Nerurkar PV. Anti-carcinogenic effects of Morinda citrofolia. 2nd Annual International Breast Cancer and Nutrition Symposium. Rennes, France, October 2011.

4. Nerurkar PV, a, bSoares N, Weir T, and Nerurkar VR. Momordica charantia (Bitter melon) modulates gut microbiota and reduces intestinal inflammation in high-fat diet (HFD) fed mice. Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology, New Delhi, India, November 7-11, 2011.

5. Nerurkar PV, Nishioka A, aEck PO, Johns LM, Volper E, and Nerurkar VR. Morinda citrifolia (noni) inhibits hepatic gluconeogenesis via increased phosphorylation of forkhead transcription factor (FOXO1). 12th RCMI International Symposium on Health Disparities, Nashville, TN, Dec 6 – 9, 2010.

6. Nerurkar PV, aKipyakwai G and Ivey M. Effects of Momordica charantia (Bitter Melon) on Hepatic ER Stress in High-Fat Diet-Fed Mice. Huliau Annual Meeting, Honolulu, HI May 2010.