Bela Peethambaran PhD

Bela Peethambaran PhD

Associate Professor of Biology


BS (St. Xavier’s College, Gujarat University, India)

PhD (Mississippi State University)

Research Interests

My laboratory is using molecular biology, genetic, biomechanical and physiological tools to engineer plants as a resource for antioxidants and bioactive compounds such as phenolics and flavanols.

  • studying effects of plant polyphenols on cancer cells
  • investigating if plant secondary metabolites could be used as natural pesticides
  • study plants that have anti-acne and ant-aging characteristics.


Our research integrates several disciplines such as molecular biology, cell biology, biotechnology and pharmacognosy to investigate the different genes that regulate biosynthesis of natural products in plants. We are also isolating, identifying novel natural products and investigating its application as anti-microbial. Several compounds isolated from novel herbs are also being studied for its potential use as alternative/complementary medicine in cancer prophylaxis.

Selected Scholarly Activity

Fultang N, Illendula A, Chen B, Wu C, Jonnalagadda S, Baird N, Klase Z, Peethambaran B. (2019). Strictinin, a novel ROR1-inhibitor, represses triple negative breast cancer survival and migration via modulation of PI3K/AKT/GSK3ß activity. PLoS One. 2019 May 31;14(5):e0217789. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0217789. eCollection 2019.

Fultang N, Brar J, Mercier I, Klase Z, Peethambaran B. (2018). Myrothamnus flabellifolius selectively targets Triple Negative Breast Cancer in vitro, restoring Tamoxifen sensitivity through modulation of miRNAs associated with estrogen receptors. International Journal of Applied Research in Natural Products, 11(1):24-33

Brar J, Fultang N, Askey K, Tettamanzi MC, Peethambaran B. 2018. A novel anti-triple negative breast cancer compound isolated from medicinal herb Myrothamnus flabellifolius. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, 12(1): 7-14.

Nabbie F, Smith J, Hnatyshyn S, Warrack B, Gu H, Merenich D, Myers K, Peethambaran B. 2017. 14-3-3 lambda protein affects anthocyanin production in Arabidopsis thaliana during Drought Stress, Journal of Agricultural Science; 9 (7) 22-38

Book Chapter titled 'Anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties of Achillea millefolium in Acne Treatment” Elsevier Publication 2017. Book titled ‘Emerging roles of nutraceuticals and functional foods in immune support: immunity and inflammation in health and disease'. Editors Shampa Chatterjee, Debasis Bagchi

Brar J, Jiang J, Oubarri A, Ranieri P, Fridman A, Fridman G, Miller V and Peethambaran B. 2016. Non-thermal Plasma Treatment of Flowing Water: A Solution to Reduce Water Usage and Soil Treatment Cost without Compromising Yield, Plasma Medicine, Plasma Medicine, 6(3-4): 413-27

Shah R., Patel T., Tettamanzi M.C., Rajan J., Shah M., Peethambaran B (2016). Isolation of a Novel Piperidide from Achillea ‘Moonshine’ Using Bioactivity Guided Fractionation for the Treatment of Acne. Journal of Medicinal Plant Research. 10 (30):. 495-504

Abeer Badiab, Fizal Nabbie, Maria Cristina Tettamanzi, Nehi Patel, Nikita Jain, B Peethambaran (2016). Specific Cytotoxicity of a Novel Arbutin Derivative from Myrothamnus flabellifolius Against Human Leukemia Cells. Research Journal in Medicinal Plants. DOI: 10.3923/rjmp.2016.

B. Peethambaran, V. Miller, Justine, K. Kermalli. Jiaxing.  J, G. Fridman, R. Balsamo and A. Fridman. (2016). Non-thermal Plasma Technology (NTPT) Reduces Water consumption while Accelerating Arabidopsis thaliana Growth and Fecundity. Plasma Medicine, 5(2-4)87-98.

Balsamo R, Boak M, Nagle K, Peethambaran B, Layton B. Leaf biomechanical properties in Arabidopsis thaliana polysaccharide mutants affect drought survival. J Biomech. (2015) Nov 26;48(15):4124-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2015.10.016. Epub 2015 Oct 20. PubMed PMID: 26520913.

Shah, R., Patel, A., Shah, M., Peethambaran B. (2015). Anti-acne activity of Achillea ‘Moonshine’ petroleum ether extract. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research. Journal of Medicinal Plant Research 9(27):755-63

Dhillon, J., Miller, V., Badiab A., Tang CN., Huynh A., Peethambaran, B. 2014.  Apoptosis-inducing potential of Myrothamnus flabellifolius, an edible medicinal plant, on human myeloid leukemia HL-60 cells. International Journal of Applied Research in Natural Products, 7:28-32

Tran, L., Naik, A., Koronkiewicz, B., Peethambaran, B. 2014. Epigallocatechin gallate Inhibits Biofilm Production and Attenuates Virulent Factors of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Psuedomonas fluorescence. Journal of Natural Remedies, 14:106-111

Lindberg, J., Nabbie, F., Milliot, J., Smith, R., M Crisitina Tettamanzi., Peethambaran, B. 2014. 14-3-3λ Affects Production of a Sinapoyl Derivative in Lignin Biosynthesis during Drought Stress in Arabidopsis thaliana. Universal Journal of Plant Sciences, Vol 2, no. 4: 77-85

Smith, R., Peethambaran B., Pontiggio, L., Blumberg, P. 2013. Does a repeated guided-instruction approach with multiple assessments increase student learning of science? Journal of Biological Education , 47: 11-116

Peethambaran, B., Li, T C., Dzugan, P., Xiang, W.,  Balsamo, R. A. 2012. Physiological and Mechanical Role of 14-3-3 lambda in Arabidopsis thaliana during drought stress. 2012  Journal of Agricultural Science, 4: 149-163

Kelly, R. Y., Harper, J., Bridges, S. M. Warbuton, M. L., Hawkins, L. K., Pechanova, O., Peethambaran, B., Luthe, D. S., Mylroie, J. E., Ankala, A., Ozkan, S., Gresham, C., Henry, W. B., Williams, W. P. 2010.  Bioinformatics and Functional Genomic Database for Identifying Candidate Genes for Aspergillus flavus Resistance in Maize. BMC Bioinformatics 11 (Suppl 6):S25

Peethambaran, B., Hawkins, L., Bridges, S., Windham, G. L., Williams, W. P and Luthe, D. S. 2009. Antifungal Activity of Maize Silk Proteins and Role of Chitinases in Aspergillus flavus resistance. Journal of Toxicology - Toxin reviews. 29: 27-39

Poster presentation by graduate student on ‘Effects of 14-3-3λ on the biosynthesis of flavonoids in Arabidopsis thaliana’ Presenter: Jameson Lindberg, Robert Smith, Bela Peethambaran., International Congress on Natural Products Research 2013, St. Lois, Kansas, July 15th- Jul 18th.

Poster presentation by graduate student on ‘Screening and characterization of anti-acne and anti-aging properties in Achillea millefolium and Veronicastrum virginicumPresenter: Rahul Shah, Abhishek Patel, Bela Peethambaran., International Congress on Natural Products Research 2013, St. Lois, Kansas, July 15th- Jul 18th.

Poster presentation on ‘Effects of 14-3-3λ on the biosynthesis of flavonoids in Arabidopsis thaliana’ Presenter: Jameson Lindberg, Robert Smith, Bela Peethambaran., International Congress on Natural Products Research 2012, New York city, Grand Hyaat, Jul 28th-Aug 12th, 2012.

Poster presentation on ‘Which hydroxyl groups of epigallactocatechin gallate are needed for binding to DNA G-quadruplexes? Presenter: Brian, Koronkiewicz, Nathan West, Bela Peethambaran, Michael Bruist. June 2nd, 2012, Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting for ACS, Baltimore, abstract 466

Poster presentation on ‘The role of 14-3-3 lambda protein in secondary metabolite biosynthesis and its effect on drought stress resistance’. Annual Plant Biology meeting 2011, Aug 6-10, Minneapolis, MN

Professional Information


  • Teaching Post Doctoral Fellow, Biology Department, Villanova University, Villanova, PA
  • Research Post Doctoral Fellow, Biology Department, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN.


Contact Information

Office location: McNeil Science & Technology Center, Room 271
Mailing address: Box 38
University of Sciences
600 South 43rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4495
Office Phone: 215.596.8923
Office Fax: 215.596.8710

b [dot] peethambaran [at] usciences [dot] edu