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Sanjay Premi, PhD

Academic Rank: Assistant Member


    Dr. Premi is interested in exploring the pathophysiology of melanin-chemiexcitation pathway in skin cancer development, progression, and drug-resistance.  


    • Tumor Biology
    • Cutaneous Oncology
    • Chemical Biology and Molecular Medicine Program
    • Melanoma Research Center of Excellence

Education & Training


  • National Institute of Immunology, PhD - Human Molecular Genetics
  • Jawaharial Nehru University, MS - Biotechnology

    While at Yale Dr. Premi received outstanding training in the laboratory of Dr. Douglas Brash, and there he discovered the phenomenon of "melanin-chemiexcitation", where he established that melanin can generate UV-like DNA photo-adducts (CPD) without UV. These seminal studies led to Dr. Premi’s first-author manuscript in Science (Premi et al., Science, 2015). Dr. Premis has now expanded these studies and shown that chemiexcitation of indole and catecholamine neurotransmitters and hormones also induces DNA damage, and he has developed novel genomic dosimeters that allow one to precisely quantify UV-induced DNA damage. Furthermore, he has also identified a new tumor suppressor coined Latexin that is epigenetically silenced in melanoma and which controls stem-ness.          


  • Premi S, Brash DE. Unanticipated role of melanin in causing carcinogenic cyclobutane pyrimidine dimmers. Mol Cell Oncol. 2016 Jan;3(1):e1033588. Pubmedid: 27308551. Pmcid: PMC4845191.
  • Premi S, Brash DE. Chemical excitation of electrons: A dark path to melanoma. DNA Repair (Amst). 2016 Aug;44:169-177. Pubmedid: 27262612. Pmcid: PMC4958542.
  • Premi S, Wallisch S, Mano CM, Weiner AB, Bacchiocchi A, Wakamatsu K, Bechara EJ, Halaban R, Douki T, Brash DE. Photochemistry. Chemiexcitation of melanin derivatives induces DNA photoproducts long after UV exposure. Science. 2015 Feb;347(6224):842-847. Pubmedid: 25700512. Pmcid: PMC4432913.
  • Zhang R, Premi S, Kilic SS, Bacchiocchi A, Halaban R, Brash DE. Clonal growth of human melanocytes using cell-free extracellular matrix. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2013 Nov;26(6):925-927. Pubmedid: 24034857. Pmcid: PMC4086752.
  • Muthusamy V, Premi S, Soper C, Platt J, Bosenberg M. The hematopoietic stem cell regulatory gene latexin has tumor-suppressive properties in malignant melanoma. J Invest Dermatol. 2013 Jul;133(7):1827-1833. Pubmedid: 23364479. Pmcid: PMC3683103.
  • Premi S, Srivastava J, Epplen JT, Ali S. AZFc region of the Y chromosome shows singular structural organization. Chromosome Res. 2010 Jun;18(4):419-430. Pubmedid: 20373140.
  • Premi S, Srivastava J, Panneer G, Ali S. Startling mosaicism of the Y-chromosome and tandem duplication of the SRY and DAZ genes in patients with Turner Syndrome. PLoS One. 2009 Jun;3(11):e3796. Pubmedid: 19030103. Pmcid: PMC2582957.
  • Srivastava J, Premi S, Kumar S, Ali S. Expressional dynamics of minisatellite 33.15 tagged spermatozoal transcriptome in Bubalus bubalis. BMC Genomics. 2009 Jul;10:303. Pubmedid: 19583837. Pmcid: PMC2713999.
  • Premi S, Srivastava J, Chandy SP, Ali S. Unique signatures of natural background radiation on human Y chromosomes from Kerala, India. PLoS One. 2009 Apr;4(2):e4541. Pubmedid: 19242544. Pmcid: PMC2644265.
  • Srivastava J, Premi S, Kumar S, Ali S. Organization and differential expression of the GACA/GATA tagged somatic and spermatozoal transcriptomes in Buffalo Bubalus bubalis. BMC Genomics. 2008 Mar;9:132. Pubmedid: 18366692. Pmcid: PMC2346481.
  • Srivastava J, Premi S, Kumar S, Parwez I, Ali S. Characterization of Smoc-1 uncovers two transcript variants showing differential tissue and age specific expression in Bubalus bubalis. BMC Genomics. 2007 Nov;8:436. Pubmedid: 18042303. Pmcid: PMC2235864.
  • Premi S, Srivastava J, Chandy SP, Ali S. AZFc somatic microdeletions and copy number polymorphism of the DAZ genes in human males exposed to natural background radiation. Hum Genet. 2007 May;121(3-4):337-346. Pubmedid: 17308897.
  • Srivastava J, Premi S, Garg LC, Ali S. Organizational and expressional uniqueness of a testis-specific mRNA transcript of protooncogene c-kit receptor in water buffalo Bubalus bubalis. DNA Cell Biol. 2006 Sep;25(9):501-513. Pubmedid: 16989573.
  • Pathak D, Premi S, Srivastava J, Chandy SP, Ali S. Genomic instability of the DYZ1 repeat in patients with Y chromosome anomalies and males exposed to natural background radiation. DNA Res. 2006 Jun;13(3):103-109. Pubmedid: 16980714.
  • Srivastava J, Premi S, Pathak D, Ahsan Z, Tiwari M, Garg LC, Ali S. Transcriptional status of known and novel genes tagged with consensus of 33.15 repeat loci employing minisatellite-associated sequence amplification (MASA) and real-time PCR in water buffalo, Bubalus bubalis. DNA Cell Biol. 2006 Jan;25(1):31-48. Pubmedid: 16405399.
  • Premi S, Srivastava J, Chandy SP, Ahmad J, Ali S. Tandem duplication and copy number polymorphism of the SRY gene in patients with sex chromosome anomalies and males exposed to natural background radiation. Mol Hum Reprod. 2006 Feb;12(2):113-121. Pubmedid: 16510537.
  • Pathak D, Srivastava J, Premi S, Tiwari M, Garg LC, Kumar S, Ali S. Chromosomal localization, copy number assessment, and transcriptional status of BamHI repeat fractions in water buffalo Bubalus bubalis. DNA Cell Biol. 2006 Apr;25(4):206-214. Pubmedid: 16629593.