Lakshmi Pillai-Kastoori

  • PhD Candidate, MCDB Program, Dept. of Biology
  • Biology
215 T H Morgan Building

1. Master of Science, Life Sciences (Specialization Biotechnology), University of Mumbai, India, July 2005-June 2007
2. Bachelor of Science, Biotechnology, University of Mumbai, India. June 2002-July 2005


1.University of Kentucky, Molecular and Cellular Biology, August 2009-Current

 2.Master of Science, Life Sciences (Specialization Biotechnology), University of Mumbai, India, July     2005-June 2007

 3.Bachelor of Science, Biotechnology, University of Mumbai, India. June 2002-July 2005



The coordinated cell movements and the sequential induction of eye specific genes during early ocular development have been intensively studied. However, we do not yet fully understand how the structural and functional interactions between the cellular signals guide pattern formation at different stages of eye development. With an interest in elucidating the mechanisms that are involved in eye pattern formation, I am studying the role of the SRY-Box transcription factor, Sox11, during zebrafish visual system development.

                      I have shown that two zebrafish sox11 paralogs, sox11a, and sox11b, have overlapping yet distinct expression patterns in the developing eye.Furthermore, both transcripts are present in mitotic retinal progenitor cells as well as post-mitotic precursor cells. Knockdown of both sox11a and sox11b results in micropthalmia, delayed lens development, coloboma, and specific reduction of photoreceptor cells. My current research goals are to further characterize the mechanism of action of Sox11 during optic fissure closure and photoreceptor development.


Graduate Training

University of Kentucky, Molecular and Cellular Biology, August 2009-Current

Selected Publications: 


Lakshmi Pillai-Kastoori, Wen Wen, Stephen G. Wilson, Erin Strachan, Adriana Lo-Castro, Marco Fichera, Sebastiano A. Musumeci, Ordan J. Lehmann, and Ann C. Morris. Sox11 is required to maintain proper levels for Hedgehog signaling during vertebrate ocular morphogenesis. (2014) PLoS Genet. Jul 10;10(7):e1004491. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004491.


Morris AC, Forbes-Osborne MA, Pillai LS, Fadool JM. Microarray Analysis of XOPS-mCFP Zebrafish Retina Identifies Genes Associated with Rod Photoreceptor Degeneration and Regeneration. (2011). Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 52(5):2255-2266.


Lakshmi Pillai and Bhartiya D. Stem Cell Matters to the Heart. Nature India.doi:10.1038/nindia.2009.140; Published online 27 May 2009.


Kumar N, Hinduja I, Nagvenkar P, Pillai L, Agrawal P, Zaveri K, Mukadam L, Telang J, Desai S, Mangoli V, Mangoli R, Padgaonkar S, Kaur G, Puri C and Bhartiya D. (2009). Derivation and characterization of two genetically unique human embryonic stem cell lines on in-house derived human feeders. Stem Cells and Development, 18(3): 67-77.


PubMed Publications*: 
  • Bonasso, PC ;Lucke-Wold, BP ;, A.;Pillai, L. "Primary Endovascular Repair of Ilio-Caval Injury Encountered during Anterior Exposure Spine Surgery: Evolution of the Paradigm." Annals of vascular surgery 43, (2017): 316.e1-316.e8. Details. Full text
  • Gene Ontology, Consortium ;Blake, JA ;Dolan, M ;Drabkin, H ;Hill, DP ;Li, N ;Sitnikov, D ;Bridges, S ;Burgess, S ;Buza, T ;McCarthy, F ;Peddinti, D ;Pillai, L.;Carbon, S ;Dietze, H ;Ireland, A ;Lewis, SE ;Mungall, CJ ;Gaudet, P ;Chrisholm, RL ;Fey, P ;Kibbe, WA ;Basu, S ;Siegele, DA ;McIntosh, BK ;Renfro, DP ;Zweifel, AE ;Hu, JC ;Brown, NH ;Tweedie, S ;Alam-Faruque, Y ;Apweiler, R ;Auchinchloss, A ;Axelsen, K ;Bely, B ;Blatter, M- ;Bonilla, C ;Bouguerleret, L ;Boutet, E ;Breuza, L ;Bridge, A ;Chan, WM ;Chavali, G ;Coudert, E ;Dimmer, E ;Estreicher, A ;Famiglietti, L ;Feuermann, M ;Gos, A ;Gruaz-Gumowski, N ;Hieta, R ;Hinz, C ;Hulo, C ;Huntley, R ;James, J ;Jungo, F ;Keller, G ;Laiho, K ;Legge, D ;Lemercier, P ;Lieberherr, D ;Magrane, M ;Martin, MJ ;Masson, P ;Mutowo-Muellenet, P ;O'Donovan, C ;Pedruzzi, I ;Pichler, K ;Poggioli, D ;Millán, Porras ;Poux, S ;Rivoire, C ;Roechert, B ;Sawford, T ;Schneider, M ;Stutz, A ;Sundaram, S ;Tognolli, M ;Xenarios, I ;Foulgar, R ;Lomax, J ;Roncaglia, P ;Khodiyar, VK ;Lovering, RC ;Talmud, PJ ;Chibucos, M ;Giglio, MG ;Chang, H- ;Hunter, S ;McAnulla, C ;Mitchell, A ;Sangrador, A ;Stephan, R ;Harris, MA ;Oliver, SG ;Rutherford, K ;Wood, V ;Bahler, J ;Lock, A ;Kersey, PJ ;McDowall, DM ;Staines, DM ;Dwinell, M ;Shimoyama, M ;Laulederkind, S ;Hayman, T ;Wang, S- ;Petri, V ;Lowry, T ;D'Eustachio, P ;Matthews, L ;Balakrishnan, R ;Binkley, G ;Cherry, JM ;Costanzo, MC ;Dwight, SS ;, ;Fisk, DG ;Hitz, BC ;Hong, EL ;Karra, K ;, ;Nash, RS ;Park, J.;Skrzypek, MS ;Weng, S ;Wong, ED ;Berardini, TZ ;Huala, E ;Mi, H ;Thomas, PD ;Chan, J ;Kishore, R ;Sternberg, P ;Van Auken, K ;Howe, D ;Westerfield, M "Gene Ontology annotations and resources." Nucleic acids research 41, Database issue (2013): D530-5. Details. Full text
  • Gene Ontology, Consortium "The Gene Ontology: enhancements for 2011." Nucleic acids research 40, Database issue (2012): D559-64. Details. Full text
  • McCarthy, FM ;Gresham, CR ;Buza, TJ ;Chouvarine, P.;Pillai, LR ;Kumar, R.;Ozkan, S.;Wang, H.;Manda, P.;Arick, T.;Bridges, SM ;Burgess, SC "AgBase: supporting functional modeling in agricultural organisms." Nucleic acids research 39, Database issue (2011): D497-506. Details. Full text
  • Pillai, LS ;Nair, BR "A comparative study of the anthelmintic potential of cleome viscosa L. And cleome burmanni w. And a." Indian journal of pharmaceutical sciences 73, 1 (2011): 98-100. Details.
  • Guttal, SS ;Joshi, SM ;Pillai, LK ;Nadiger, RK "Ocular prosthesis for a geriatric patient with customised iris: a report of two cases." Gerodontology 28, 2 (2011): 152-6. Details. Full text
  • Pillai, L.;Levy, RM ;Yimam, M.;Zhao, Y.;Jia, Q.;Burnett, BP "Flavocoxid, an anti-inflammatory agent of botanical origin, does not affect coagulation or interact with anticoagulation therapies." Advances in therapy 27, 6 (2010): 400-11. Details. Full text
  • Guttal, SS ;Vohra, P.;Pillai, LK ;Nadiger, R K. "Interim prosthetic rehabilitation of a patient following partial rhinectomy: a clinical report." European journal of dentistry 4, 4 (2010): 482-6. Details.
  • Levy, RM ;Khokhlov, A.;Kopenkin, S.;Bart, B.;Ermolova, T.;Kantemirova, R.;Mazurov, V.;Bell, M.;Caldron, P.;Pillai, L.;Burnett, BP "Efficacy and safety of flavocoxid, a novel therapeutic, compared with naproxen: a randomized multicenter controlled trial in subjects with osteoarthritis of the knee." Advances in therapy 27, 10 (2010): 731-42. Details. Full text
  • Pillai, L.;Burnett, BP ;Levy, RM ;GOAL Study Cooperative, Group "GOAL: multicenter, open-label, post-marketing study of flavocoxid, a novel dual pathway inhibitor anti-inflammatory agent of botanical origin." Current medical research and opinion 26, 5 (2010): 1055-63. Details. Full text
  • Levy, R.;Khokhlov, A.;Kopenkin, S.;Bart, B.;Ermolova, T.;Kantemirova, R.;Mazurov, V.;Bell, M.;Caldron, P.;Pillai, L.;Burnett, B. "Efficacy and safety of flavocoxid compared with naproxen in subjects with osteoarthritis of the knee- a subset analysis." Advances in therapy 27, 12 (2010): 953-62. Details. Full text
  • Pillai, L.;Aigalikar, S.;Vishwasrao, SM ;Husainy, SM "Can we predict intensive care relatives at risk for posttraumatic stress disorder?" Indian journal of critical care medicine : peer-reviewed, official publication of Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine 14, 2 (2010): 83-7. Details. Full text
  • Kumar, N.;Hinduja, I.;Nagvenkar, P.;Pillai, L.;Zaveri, K.;Mukadam, L.;Telang, J.;Desai, S.;Mangoli, V.;Mangoli, R.;Padgaonkar, S.;Kaur, G.;Puri, C.;Bhartiya, D. "Derivation and characterization of two genetically unique human embryonic stem cell lines on in-house-derived human feeders." Stem cells and development 18, 3 (2009): 435-45. Details. Full text
  • Pillai, LV ;Vaidya, N.;Khade, AD ;Hussainy, S. "Variability of serum phenytoin levels in critically ill head injured patients in intensive care unit." Indian journal of critical care medicine : peer-reviewed, official publication of Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine 12, 1 (2008): 24-7. Details. Full text
  • Yanow, J.;Pappagallo, M.;Pillai, L. "Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS/RSD) and neuropathic pain: role of intravenous bisphosphonates as analgesics." TheScientificWorldJournal 8, (2008): 229-36. Details. Full text
  • Pillai, LV ;Achari, G.;Desai, S.;Patil, V. "Acute respiratory failure as a manifestation of an arachnoid cyst." Indian journal of critical care medicine : peer-reviewed, official publication of Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine 12, 1 (2008): 42-5. Details. Full text
  • Hasan, SK ;Sazawal, S.;Dutta, P.;Pillai, LS ;Kumar, B.;Chaubey, R.;Kumar, R.;Saxena, R. "Impact of FLT3 internal tandem duplications on Indian acute promyelocytic leukemia patients: prognostic implications." Hematology (Amsterdam, Netherlands) 12, 2 (2007): 99-101. Details. Full text
  • Srinivas, U.;Pillai, LS ;Kumar, R.;Pati, HP ;Saxena, R. "Bone marrow aplasia--a rare complication of imatinib therapy in CML patients." American journal of hematology 82, 4 (2007): 314-6. Details. Full text
  • Malik, M.;Pillai, LS ;Gogia, N.;Puri, T.;Mahapatra, M.;Sharma, DN ;Kumar, R. "Paraplegia due to extramedullary hematopoiesis in thalassemia treated successfully with radiation therapy." Haematologica 92, 3 (2007): e28-30. Details. Full text
  • Srinivas, U.;Pillai, L.;Kar, R.;Mahapatra, M.;Gujra, S.;Pati, HP "A case of rhabdomyosarcoma masquerading as acute leukemia at presentation: a case report." Indian journal of pathology & microbiology 50, 4 (2007): 917-9. Details.
  • Erova, TE ;Fadl, AA ;Sha, J.;Khajanchi, BK ;Pillai, LL ;Kozlova, EV ;Chopra, AK "Mutations within the catalytic motif of DNA adenine methyltransferase (Dam) of Aeromonas hydrophila cause the virulence of the Dam-overproducing strain to revert to that of the wild-type phenotype." Infection and immunity 74, 10 (2006): 5763-72. Details. Full text
  • Kumar, R.;Prem, S.;Mahapatra, M.;Seth, T.;Chowdhary, DR ;Mishra, P.;Pillai, L.;Narendra, AM ;Mehra, NK ;Saxena, R.;Choudhry, VP "Fludarabine, cyclophosphamide and horse antithymocyte globulin conditioning regimen for allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplantation performed in non-HEPA filter rooms for multiply transfused patients with severe aplastic anemia." Bone marrow transplantation 37, 8 (2006): 745-9. Details. Full text
  • Pillai, L.;Sha, J.;Erova, TE ;Fadl, AA ;Khajanchi, BK ;Chopra, AK "Molecular and functional characterization of a ToxR-regulated lipoprotein from a clinical isolate of Aeromonas hydrophila." Infection and immunity 74, 7 (2006): 3742-55. Details. Full text
  • Erova, TE ;Pillai, L.;Fadl, AA ;Sha, J.;Wang, S.;Galindo, CL ;Chopra, AK "DNA adenine methyltransferase influences the virulence of Aeromonas hydrophila." Infection and immunity 74, 1 (2006): 410-24. Details. Full text
  • Ramamurty, N.;Pillai, LC ;Gunasekaran, P.;Elango, V.;Priya, P.;Sheriff, AK ;, Mohana "Influenza activity among the paediatric age group in Chennai." The Indian journal of medical research 121, 6 (2005): 776-9. Details.
  • Sha, J.;Pillai, L.;Fadl, AA ;Galindo, CL ;Erova, TE ;Chopra, AK "The type III secretion system and cytotoxic enterotoxin alter the virulence of Aeromonas hydrophila." Infection and immunity 73, 10 (2005): 6446-57. Details. Full text
  • Galindo, CL ;Fadl, AA ;Sha, J.;Pillai, L.;Gutierrez C, Jr ;Chopra, AK "Microarray and proteomics analyses of human intestinal epithelial cells treated with the Aeromonas hydrophila cytotoxic enterotoxin." Infection and immunity 73, 5 (2005): 2628-43. Details. Full text
  • Galindo, CL ;Sha, J.;Ribardo, DA ;Fadl, AA ;Pillai, L.;Chopra, AK "Identification of Aeromonas hydrophila cytotoxic enterotoxin-induced genes in macrophages using microarrays." The Journal of biological chemistry 278, 41 (2003): 40198-212. Details. Full text
  • Augusti, KT ;Narayanan, A.;Pillai, LS ;Ebrahim, RS ;Sivadasan, R.;Sindhu, KR ;Subha, I.;Abdeen, S.;Nair, SS "Beneficial effects of garlic (Allium sativum Linn) on rats fed with diets containing cholesterol and either of the oil seeds, coconuts or groundnuts." Indian journal of experimental biology 39, 7 (2001): 660-7. Details.
  • Ricotta, JJ ;Pillai, L. "Total posterior approach for femoropopliteal bypass." Seminars in vascular surgery 13, 1 (2000): 83-6. Details.
  • , A.;Pillai, L.;Dryjski, M. "Paradoxical emboli: the relationship between patent foramen ovale, deep vein thrombosis and ischaemic stroke." European journal of vascular and endovascular surgery : the official journal of the European Society for Vascular Surgery 17, 6 (1999): 468-71. Details. Full text
  • Harris, LM ;Armstrong, D.;Browne, R.;Aljada, A.;Peer, R.;Upson, J.;Pillai, L.;Curl, GR ;Ricotta, JJ "Premature peripheral vascular disease: clinical profile and abnormal lipid peroxidation." Cardiovascular surgery (London, England) 6, 2 (1998): 188-93. Details. Full text
  • Pillai, L.;Luchette, FA ;Romano, KS ;Ricotta, JJ "Upper-extremity arterial injury." The American surgeon 63, 3 (1997): 224-7. Details.
  • Harris, LM ;Peer, R.;Curl, GR ;Pillai, L.;Upson, J.;Ricotta, JJ "Long-term follow-up of patients with early atherosclerosis." Journal of vascular surgery 23, 4 (1996): 576-80; discussion 581. Details. Full text
  • Marsan, BU ;Curl, GR ;Pillai, L.;Gutierrez, IZ ;Ricotta, JJ "The thrombosed prosthetic graft is a risk for infection of an adjacent graft." American journal of surgery 172, 2 (1996): 175-7. Details. Full text
  • Harris, LM ;Pillai, L.;Ricotta, JJ "External carotid endarterectomy with internal carotid artery transposition flap angioplasty for symptomatic internal carotid artery occlusion." Cardiovascular surgery (London, England) 3, 6 (1995): 625-9. Details. Full text
  • Pillai, L.;Gutierrez, IZ ;Curl, GR ;Gage, AA ;Balderman, SC ;Ricotta, JJ "Evaluation and treatment of carotid stenosis in open-heart surgery patients." The Journal of surgical research 57, 2 (1994): 312-5. Details. Full text
  • McDowell, DE ;Moss, AH ;Vasilakis, C.;Bell, R.;Pillai, L. "Percutaneously placed dual-lumen silicone catheters for long-term hemodialysis." The American surgeon 59, 9 (1993): 569-73. Details.
  • Jones, DR ;Vasilakis, A.;Pillai, L.;Timberlake, GA "Giant, benign, mucinous cystadenoma of the ovary: case study and literature review." The American surgeon 58, 7 (1992): 400-3. Details.
  • McDowell, DE ;Pillai, L.;Goldstein, RM "A simplified technique for percutaneous insertion of permanent vascular access catheters in patients requiring chronic hemodialysis." Journal of vascular surgery 7, 4 (1988): 574-6. Details. Full text
  • Raju, VK ;Weinstein, GW ;Pillai, L. "Assessment of macular function in anterior segment surgery (diagnostic tests with opaque media)." Indian journal of ophthalmology 31, 3 (1983): 112-4. Details. Full text
  • Zimmerman, P.;, A.;Pillai, L. "Endovascular repair of blunt extremity arterial injury: case report." Vascular and endovascular surgery 43, 2 (1969): 211-4. Details. Full text
  • Burnett, BP ;Pillai, L.;Bitto, A.;Squadrito, F.;Levy, RM "Evaluation of CYP450 inhibitory effects and steady-state pharmacokinetics of genistein in combination with cholecalciferol and citrated zinc bisglycinate in postmenopausal women." International journal of women's health 3, (0): 139-50. Details. Full text
  • Pillai, L.;Chouvarine, P.;Tudor, CO ;Schmidt, CJ ;Vijay-Shanker, K.;McCarthy, FM "Developing a biocuration workflow for AgBase, a non-model organism database." Database : the journal of biological databases and curation 2012, (0): bas038. Details. Full text
  • Burnett, BP ;Bitto, A.;Altavilla, D.;Squadrito, F.;Levy, RM ;Pillai, L. "Flavocoxid inhibits phospholipase A2, peroxidase moieties of the cyclooxygenases (COX), and 5-lipoxygenase, modifies COX-2 gene expression, and acts as an antioxidant." Mediators of inflammation 2011, (0): 385780. Details. Full text
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