Pharmacy researcher fights skin cancer with zzzzs

By Lori Maricle, College of Pharmacy

Gaddameedhi-80SPOKANE, Wash. – Sleep’s influence on skin cancer and on the effectiveness of anti-cancer treatments is under study by a new researcher in the Washington State University College of Pharmacy.

Circadian rhythms that influence sleep regulate the expression levels  of as many as 10 percent of human genes, said assistant professor Shobhan Gaddameedhi. He is researching whether maintaining a healthy sleep schedule will increase genomic stability, thus decreasing mutations as a result of ultraviolet radiation from sunlight exposure that can lead to melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

He also is studying whether anti-cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy can be made more effective by timing them to cellular sensitivity – in normal and/or malignant tissues – influenced by circadian rhythms.

The circadian clock is the molecular time-keeping system that maintains daily rhythms in physiological and biochemical processes of an organism.

“It has been demonstrated that drug administration during certain cycles of circadian rhythms leads to improved efficacy,” said K. Michael Gibson, Gaddameedhi’s department chair. “His research holds promise to revolutionize our approach to cancer therapeutics.”

“Having outstanding pharmacy faculty members and availability of the WSU Center for Sleep and Performance Research Center is a great opportunity to translate basic findings of the circadian clock and chemotherapy into the clinical level,” said Gaddameedhi.

He came to WSU from the biochemistry and biophysics department at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill. He received a B.S. in biology and chemistry from Osmania University and an M.S. in plant sciences from the University of Hyderabad, both in India. He completed a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences at North Dakota State University.

Gaddameedhi is interested in mentoring young scientists at high school, undergraduate and graduate levels. More about his research and contact information can be found at


Lori Maricle, WSU College of Pharmacy communications, 509-368-6679,