Munjal M. Acharya

picture of Munjal M. Acharya

Associate Professor, Anatomy & Neurobiology
School of Medicine

Associate Professor (Joint appointment), Radiation Oncology
School of Medicine

B.S., Gujarat University, 1998, Biochemistry, Biotechnology
M.S., M. S. University of Baroda, 2000, Neuroscience, Biochemistry
Ph.D., M. S. University of Baroda, 2006, Neuroscience

Phone: 9498249183

University of California, Irvine
811, Health Sciences Road
B-149, Medical Sciences B (Lab B-120)
UCI Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology
Mail Code: 2690
IRVINE, CA 92697-2695
Research Interests
Neuroinflammation, Regenerative Medicine, Neuro-Oncology, Neurodegeneration
Research Abstract
Our laboratory focuses on neurobiological mechanisms and regenerative medicine approaches to treat cancer and cancer therapy-related cognitive impairments (CRCI). We use molecular, cellular, genetic, and behavioral techniques to focus on the following pre-clinical research emphases:

1) Glial complement cascade signaling mechanism in cranial radiation therapy and glioblastoma-induced neuroinflammation and cognitive dysfunction (supported by NIH).

2) Astrocyte-dependent mechanism of radiation-induced cognitive impairments and disruption of circadian rhythm (supported by American Cancer Society)

3) Human neural stem cell-based regenerative approaches to treat radiation- and chemotherapy-induced cognitive decline and synaptic damage (supported by CIRM).
Awards and Honors
• Sep 2018: Early Career Investigator travel award, Radiation Research Society, US.
• Oct 2017: Early Career Investigator travel award, Radiation Research Society, US.
• Oct 2016: Early Career Investigator travel award, Radiation Research Society, US.
• Nov 2015: Mentored Career Development Award (KL2), Inst. Clinical & Translational Sci., UCI.
• June 2015: Chancellor’s Award, Excellence in Mentorship for the undergraduate research, UCI.
• May 2015: Young Investigator Travel Award, Intl. Congress of Radiation Research, 2015, Japan.
• Feb 2015: “Faculty Mentor of the Month”, Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, UCI
• Apr 2013: Top-ranked research abstract award and platform presentation,
American Society of Neural Therapy and Repair (ASNTR), Florida, U.S.
• Oct 2012: Scholars in Training Award, Radiation Res. Soc. annual meeting, Puerto Rico, U.S.
• Oct 2011: Best Poster Award, Stem Cell Symposium, Univ. of California, Irvine.
• May 2011: Top-ranked research abstract award and platform presentation,
International Society for Neural Therapy (INTR), Florida, U.S.
• Sep 2010: Scholars in Training Award and platform presentation, Radiation Research Society annual meeting, Hawaii, U.S.
• Apr 2010: Best Research Abstract Award and platform presentation, American Society of Neural Therapy and Repair (ASNTR), Florida, U.S.
• Sep 2009 - Sept 2011: Awarded Training Grant, California Inst for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), research funding for early translational application of stem cells
• Jul 2006: Awarded Travel grant by APSN (Asian Pacific Society for Neurochemistry) and IBRO-FAONS (Intl Brain Research Organization, France and Federation of Asian-Oceanic Neuroscience Societies, Australia) to attend APSN meeting at Singapore
• Dec 2005: Best Poster Award, International Symposium on “Advances in research on Neurodegenerative Diseases” Organized by International Society for Neurochemistry (ISN), Univ. of Madras (India) and Soc Neurochemistry India
• Aug 2005: Awarded IBRO-fellowship to attend 6th IBRO Asia-Pacific School of Neuroscience, Banglore, India
• May 2004: Awarded Travel Grant to participate in International Neuroscience Conference by (IAN), Hyderabad, India
• Jun 2004 - May 2005: Awarded University Research Fellowship for Graduate (Ph.D.) studies, M.S. University of Baroda, India
Short Biography
Munjal Acharya has been working in the field of regenerative medicine and cancer therapy-induced brain injury for the past ten years. Dr. Acharya has uncovered a glia-dependent pathophysiological mechanism of radiation-induced cognitive dysfunction. In addition, Dr. Acharya has developed human stem cell-based regenerative strategies to remediate the brain from the unintended side-effects of cancer therapies including cranial irradiation and chemotherapy. His research has delineated the paracrine mechanism (exosomes) of stem cell transplantation- mediated recovery of the injured brain.

Dr. Acharya received his Ph.D. degree in neurochemistry from M. S. University of Baroda (India). His interest in neuroscience continued as a postdoctoral researcher at Duke University Medical Center (US) to study the efficacy of stem cell grafting to treat epilepsy. Dr. Acharya then joined the University of California Irvine as a CIRM postdoctoral fellow. Currently, Dr. Acharya’s laboratory studies molecular and cellular mechanisms of cancer therapy-induced brain injury, regenerative therapies for Alzheimer’s disease, and chemobrain.
NIH 1R01 CA25110-01A1 9/1/21-9/30/26 Glial immune signaling in radiation-induced brain injury. Role: PI__________ CIRM DISC2-12400 11/1/21-10/31/23 Stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles to reverse radiation-induced brain injury. Role: PI__________ American Cancer Society (ACS) Research Scholar Grant RSG-17-146-01-CCE 4/1/18-3/31/22 Mechanism of radiation- and chemo-therapy-induced brain injury Role: PI__________ Pilot Award Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center 8/1/21-7/31/22 Pathophysiological role of complement C1q in glioma carcinogenesis. Role: PI__________ American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) DG2000029 8/1/20-1/19/22 Targeting glioma complement signaling. Role: PI__________ Biden Cancer Initiative (Health and Environmental Sciences Inst., DC) Thrive Award 1/1/20-12/31/21 Targeting complement signaling to ameliorate cranial radiation-induced brain injury. Role: PI__________
Professional Societies
Society for Neuroscience
American Society for Neurochemistry
Radiation Research Society
Other Experience
Postdoctoral Fellowship
Duke University Medical Center 2006—2007

CIRM Postdoctoral Fellowship
University of California Irvine 2007—2011

Graduate Programs
Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program

Cellular and Molecular Biosciences

Research Centers
Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center, UC Irvine
Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, UC Irvine
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