Saraswathy   Nair

Associate Professor  

Office: BBRHB 1.103
Phone: (956) 882-5108
Email: saraswathy.nair@utrgv.edu

Dr. Saras Nair

Dr. S. Nair is a cell and molecular biologist who received her Ph.D. at SUNY at Buffalo and post-doctoral training at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She has been investigating the molecular and cellular basis of obesity and Type 2 diabetes since 2001, first in Pima Indians at NIDDK, NIH, Phoenix and since 2006 in Mexican Americans and cell culture model systems at UT, Brownsville and currently at UTRGV.

  • Areas of Expertise

    • Molecular and Cellular basis of obesity and diabetes
    • Behavior and Obesity/Diabetes
    • Neuroendocrine regulation of Obesity/Diabetes
    • Obesity/Diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases
    • Alternative therapies and lifestyle changes that can prevent or treat Obesity and diabetes
  • Education

    • PhD, Biological Sciences, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, 1992
    • MA, Biological Sciences, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, 1987
    • MS, Marine Biology, Annamalai University, 1985
    • BS, Zoology, Kerala University, 1983
  • Currently Teaching

    BMED 3223 9BR - Independent Research III:
    Syllabus
    Course Evaluations
    Textbooks
    BMED 3224 6BR - Independent Research IV:
    Syllabus
    Course Evaluations
    Textbooks




Selected Publications


  • V Peralta-Leal, E Leal-Ugarte, M Gutiérrez-Angulo, I Dávalos-Rodríguez, M Gallegos-Arreola, J Meza-Espinoza, H Torres-Benavides, J Peregrina-Sandoval, K Villarreal-Sotelo, M Ondarza Rodríguez, Saraswathy Nair, and J Durán-González. "Promoter polymorphism of the serotonin transporter gene influences the number of sexual partners and smoking habits in a Mexican Mestizo population.," Psychiatric genetics 25, no. 4 (August 2015): 178-9.

  • V Peralta-Leal, E Uagarte, V Gonzalez, M Angulo, I Davalos-Rodriguez, M Gallegos-Arreola, L Gonzalez-Medellin, K Sotelo, Saraswathy Nair, and Jorge Duran. "Serotonin gene (SLC6A4) 5-HTTLPR polymorphism associated with personality traits in a Mexican population," J. Neuroscience Research (2014).

  • J Llongueras, Saraswathy Nair, D Salas-Leiva, and Andrea Schwarzbach. "Comparing DNA extraction methods for analysis of botanical materials found in anti-diabetic supplements.," Molecular biotechnology 53, no. 3 (March 2013): 249-56.

  • V Peralta-Leal, E Leal-Ugarte, J Meza-Espinoza, I Dávalos-Rodríguez, A Bocanegra-Alonso, R Acosta-González, E Gonzales, Saraswathy Nair, and Jorge Duran. "Association of a serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4) 5-HTTLPR polymorphism with body mass index categories but not type 2 diabetes mellitus in Mexicans.," Genetics and molecular biology 35, no. 3 (2012): 589-93.

  • Saraswathy Nair, Y Muller, E Ortega, S Kobes, C Bogardus, and L Baier. "Association analyses of variants in the DIO2 gene with early-onset type 2 diabetes mellitus in Pima Indians.," Thyroid : official journal of the American Thyroid Association 22, no. 1 (January (1st Quarter/Winter) 2012): 80-7.

  • H Qu, Anne Rentfro, Y Lu, Saraswathy Nair, C Hanis, J McCormick, and S Fisher-Hoch. "Host susceptibility to tuberculosis: insights from a longitudinal study of gene expression in diabetes.," The international journal of tuberculosis and lung disease : the official journal of the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 16, no. 3 (January (1st Quarter/Winter) 2012): 370-2.

  • N Ruiz, Luis Pacheco, B Farrell, Cody Cox, Boris Ermolinsky, E Garrido-Sanabria, and Saraswathy Nair. "Metabolic gene expression changes in the hippocampus of obese epileptic male rats in the pilocarpine model of temporal lobe epilepsy.," Brain research 1426, (December 2011): 86-95.

  • Melanie Molina, Hui-Qi Qu, Anne Rentfro, Saraswathy Nair, Craig Hanis, Joseph McCormick, and Susan Fisher-Hoch. "Decreased expression of ATP6V1H I in type 2 diabetes: A pilot report on the diabetes risk study in Mexican Americans," Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 412, no. 4 (September 2011): 728 - 731.

  • Jorge Duran, Ortiz Ixiu, Gonzalez Enrique, Ruiz Nicole, Ortiz Manti, Gonzalez Arthur, Sanchez Edna, Eugenia Curet, Susan Fisher-Hoch, Anne Rentfro, Hui-Qi Qu, and Saraswathy Nair. "Association study of candidate gene polymorphisms and obesity in a young Mexican-American population from South Texas.," Archives of Medical Research 42, no. 6 (August 2011): 523 - 531.

  • Jorge Duran, Ortiz Ixiu, Gonzalez Enrique, Ruiz Nicole, Ortiz Manti, Gonzalez Arthur, Sanchez Edna, Eugenia Curet, Susan Fisher-Hoch, Anne Rentfro, Hui-Qi Qu, and Saraswathy Nair. "Obesity is increasingly a health problem and a risk factor for diabetes in young Mexican-American populations. Genetic association studies in older, mostly non-Hispanic populations have reported that polymorphisms in the candidate genes HSD11B1, CRP, ADIPOQ, PPARG, ANKK1, ABCC8 and SERPINF1 are associated with obesity or diabetes. We analyzed the polymorphisms rs846910, rs1205, rs1501299, rs1801282, rs1800497, rs757110 and rs1136287 in these candidate genes, for association with obesity and metabolic traits in a young Mexican-American population from south Texas. METHODS: Genotyping of the seven common SNPs were performed by allelic discrimination assays in 448 unrelated Mexican Americans (median age = 16 years) from south Texas. χ(2) tests and regression analyses using additive models were used for genetic association analyses adjusting for covariates; p values were corrected for multiple testing by permutation analyses. RESULTS: rs1800497 (ANKK1) shows association with waist circumference (p = 0.009) and retains the association (p = 0.03) after permutation testing. Analysis of metabolic quantitative traits shows that rs846910 (HSD11B1) was associated with HOMA-IR (p = 0.04) and triglycerides (p = 0.03), and rs1205 (CRP) with HOMA-IR (p = 0.03) and fasting glucose levels (p = 0.007). However, the quantitative traits associations are not maintained after permutation analysis. None of the other SNPs in this study showed associations with obesity or metabolic traits in this young Mexican-American population. CONCLUSIONS: We report a potential association between rs1800497 (linked to changes in brain dopamine receptor levels) and central obesity in a young Mexican-American population.," Archives of Medical Research 42, no. 6 (August 2011): 523 - 531.



Selected Grants and Fellowships


  • Justin Moore. Inclusive Excellence Award, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, $1,000,000.00 (September 2017 - August 2022)

  • Saraswathy Nair. SC3:Interaction of mitochondrial fusion and transmembrane potential in diabetic cardiovascular damage, NIH, $435,900.00 (January 2016 - December 2019)

  • Saraswathy Nair. Microvascular regulation of metabolism in adult Hispanics with and without specific gene mutations, Internal Seed Research Program-ISRP , $20,000.00 (January 15, 2017 - June 15, 2018)

  • Saraswathy Nair. Determining the Effects of Melatonin on 3T3-L1 Cells , Engaged Scholar award, $2,000.00 (January 2017 - August 2017)

  • Saraswathy Nair. Utah-Texas Bridge to Biomedical Informatics, NIH, $321,405.71 (August 2014 - July 2016)

  • Luis Colom. BUILD planning and BUILD, NIH, ( )

  • Saraswathy Nair. BUILD South Texas, NIH, $138,194.00 (September 2013 - March 2014)

  • Saraswathy Nair. Glucose Transitions among Mexican Americans Core-Follow up Study , NIH, $111,895.00 (March 2008 - February 2013)

  • Saraswathy Nair. IL6 regulated transcription factors and downstream targets in adipogenesis, NIH, $5,000.00 (2012 - 2012)

  • Saraswathy Nair. Inflammation biomarkers related to the conversion from non-diabetic to diabetic status in Mexican Americans, NIH, $200,000.00 (September 2009 - April 2011)



Selected Presentations


  • Ednia Gutierrez and Saraswathy Nair. "Effects of Melatonin on 3T3L1 adipogenesis," Engaged Scholar Symposium, UTRGV, UTRGV (April 2017)

  • Ednia Gutierrez, Honxing Lu, and Saraswathy Nair. "Determining the importance of the role of stress management in improving health outcomes ( Poster presentation at Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS)," Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), MBRS-RISE,NIH, (November 2016)

  • Saraswathy Nair. "How does IL6 play a role in obesity and diabetes?," Dept. of Immunology, UNTHSC, Fort Worth, Fort Worth,TX (May 2016)

  • Karla Boeta and Saraswathy Nair. "Relationship between IL-6 polymorphisms and Obesity or Metabolic traits in Mexican Americans ," Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), MBRS-RISE,NIH, Seattle,WA (November 2015)

  • Saraswathy Nair. "Role of tissue specific cortisol generation in obesity and diabetes," UTPA, Edinburg (February 2014)

  • Saraswathy Nair. " Molecular mechanisms in Obesity and Diabetes ," American Chemical Society, STC, McAllen (October 2012)

  • Manti Ortiz, Diana Elizondo, and Saraswathy Nair. "Effects of Anti-Diabetic Herbal Extracts on Adipogenesis and Adipokine Secretion in 3T3-L1 Cells ," The Obesity Society, MBRS-RISE,NIH, San Antonio, TX (September 2012)

  • Saraswathy Nair and Nicole Ruiz. "Neuroendocrine Changes in the Hippocampus and their Effects on Systemic or Peripheral Metabolism ," The Obesity Society, San Antonio, TX (September 2012)

Current Courses

BMED 3223 9BR - Independent Research III:
Syllabus
Course Evaluations
Textbooks
BMED 3224 6BR - Independent Research IV:
Syllabus
Course Evaluations
Textbooks

Previous Courses