Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Miami Health System
Director, Division of Infection, Inflammation and Vascular Biology, University of Minnesota Medical School

Sabita Roy, PhD is investigating the molecular mechanism of morphine-induced immunosuppression. Impaired immunity is a major contributing factor in the prevalence of opportunistic infections such as AIDS in chronic drug abusers. Understanding the molecular mechanism of morphine action will facilitate the development of biotherapies to overcome immunosuppression while retaining analgesic properties.


Research Interest

Opioids are the gold standard for the management of moderate to severe cancer pain. The clinical use of opioids is limited because of co-morbidities associated with extended use. The goal of Dr. Roy’s studies is to identify therapeutic targets that can prolong opioid use and minimize its co-morbidities. Their recent studies show an association between chronic opioid use and altered gut microbiome. These findings have strong implications that manipulating the gut microbiome can be a potential therapeutic target to improve the pain relieving efficacy of opioids.




Select Publications

  • Kelschenbach J, Barke RA, Roy S (2008) Role of Mu opioid receptor and Corticosterone in Morphine withdrawal mediated Th2 differentiation and suppression of IL-12. JNeuroimmunol. (submitted)
  • Kelschenbach J, Ninkovic J, Wang JH, Krishnan A, Charboneau R, Barke RA, Roy S (2008) Morphine withdrawal inhibits inhibits macrophage IL-12 synthesis by modulating the cAMP signaling pathway. J Immunol. (in press)
  • Wang JH, Barke RA, Charboneau R and Roy S (2008) Morphine modulation of alveolar macrophages increases pulmonary s. pneumoniae infection. J Immunology (in press).
  • Kelschenbach J, Barke RA, Roy S (2008) Role of Innate Immunity in Morphine withdrawal. J Immunol. (under revision)
  • Wang JH, Loh HH and Roy S (2008) Differential effects of-endorphin on Mu- and Delta opioid receptor. J. Neuroscience (submitted).
  • Koodie L, Ramakrishnan S and Roy S (2008) Morphine modulates tumor angiogenesis through a HIF alpha dependent pathway. Cancer Res. (submitted).
  • Wang J, Barke RA, Roy S. (2007) Transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of IL-2 gene in activated T cells by morphine. J Biol Chem. 2007 Jan 16; [Epub ahead of print]
  • Hamilton KL, Franklin LM, Roy S, Schrott LM. (2007). Prenatal opiate exposure attenuates LPS-induced fever in adult rats: Role of interleukin-1beta. Brain Res. 2007 Feb 16;1133(1):92-9.
  • Vatassery GT. Quach HT, Smith WE., SantaCruz KS and Roy S (2008) Apolipoprotein E deficiency leads to altered brain uptake of alpha tocopherol injected into lateral cerebral ventricles. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta Molecular Basis of Disease Jul;1772(7):797-803. Epub 2007 May 3.