Dr Vasanthy Vigneswara

Dr Vasanthy Vigneswara

Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
Research Fellow

Contact details

3rd Floor, Denis Howell Building
Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr. Vasanthy Vigneswara is a Research Fellow in the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences. She is interested in translating basic research findings into therapeutic settings. Her current focus is to investigate the resistance mechanisms and biomarkers of various HER/ErbB inhibitors in breast cancer. Her previous research work aimed to investigate the immunomodulatory actions of mesenchymal stromal cells and their therapeutic efficacy in pre-clinical models of inflammation mediated liver injuries.  She also has background in investigating molecules that regulate neuroprotection and axon regeneration in optic nerve injury model.


  • PhD in Biomedical Sciences, 2008
  • MSc in Toxicology, 2003
  •  BSc (Hons) in Agriculture 1996


Dr. Vasanthy Vigneswara graduated from the University of Jaffna in Sri Lanka. In 2001, she came to UK to study for MSc in toxicology at the University of Surrey. Vasanthy then completed her PhD in Bio Medical Sciences under the supervision of Dr. Wayne Grant Carter and Professor David Ray in the Medical School at the University of Nottingham. After successfully completing her PhD in 2008, she joined with Professor Ann Logan’s group at the University of Birmingham to investigate the mechanisms behind neuroprotection and axonal regeneration in spinal and optic nerve injury models. In 2010, she carried out her first post-doctoral research with Dr. Zubair Ahmed on a  project funded by the Wellcome Trust to investigate the role of Caspase-2 in neuroprotection and axonal regeneration in optic nerve injury model.  She then moved to the Centre for Liver Research at the University of Birmingham to work with Professor Philip Newsome on a EU funded FP7 clinical trial programme (MERLIN) to investigate the immunomodulatory actions of mesenchymal stromal cells and their therapeutic efficacy in pre-clinical models of inflammation mediated liver injuries. In 2018, she has started working with Dr. Anthony Kong to Investigate the mechanisms of response and resistance of neratinib +/- hormone treatment in breast cancer cells which moderately expressing HER2.


  • Postgraduate demonstrator
  •  Tutor for small group sessions (BMed Sci-Molecular Biology)
  • Facilitator for Integrated Problem (IP) module for 1st year MBChB students
  • Co-supervisor for BMed Sci Projects


Pre-clinical and translational research

Vasanthy is interested in applying discoveries generated during research in the laboratory, and in preclinical studies, to the development of clinical trials and studies in patients.  Her current focus is to investigate mechanisms resistance of ErbB/HER inhibitors in relation to breast cancers.

Other activities

Participate in public events organized by the University of Birmingham in Think Tank and Queen Elizabeth Hospital.


Vigneswara V, Kong A. Predictive biomarkers and EGFR inhibitors in squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck (SCCHN). Ann Oncol. 2018 Feb 10. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdy065. [Epub ahead of print]

Vigneswara V, Esmaeili M, Deer L, Berry M, Logan A, Ahmed Z.Eye drop delivery of pigment epithelium-derived factor-34 promotes retinal ganglion cell neuroprotection and axon regeneration. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2015 Sep;68:212-21. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2015.08.001.

Vigneswara V, Newsome PN. Mesenchymal stromal cells - Where art thou?  J Hepatol. 2015 Dec;63(6):1306-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2015.09.007. Epub 2015 Sep 25.

Vigneswara V, Ahmed Z. Long-term neuroprotection of retinal ganglion cells by inhibiting caspase-2. Cell Death Discov. 2016 Jun 13;2:16044. doi: 10.1038/cddiscovery.2016.44. eCollection 2016.

Vigneswara V, Akpan N, Berry M, Logan A, Troy CM, Ahmed Z.Combined suppression of CASP2 and CASP6 protects retinal ganglion cells from apoptosis and promotes axon regeneration through CNTF-mediated JAK/STAT signaling. Brain. 2014 Jun;137(Pt 6):1656-75. doi: 10.1093/brain/awu037.

Carter WG, Vigneswara V, Newlaczyl A, Wayne D, Ahmed B, Saddington S, Brewer C, Raut N, Gerdes HK, Erdozain AM, Tooth D, Bolt EL, Osna NA, Tuma DJ, Kharbanda KK. Isoaspartate, carbamoyl phosphate synthase-1, and carbonic anhydrase-III as biomarkers of liver injury. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2015 Mar 13;458(3):626-31. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2015.01.158.

Vigneswara, V., Cass, S., Wayne, D., Bolt, E.L., Ray, D.E., and Carter, W.G. (2013) Molecular ageing of alpha- and beta-synucleins: protein damage and repair mechanisms PLoS One. 2013 Apr 22;8(4):e61442. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061442

Vigneswara V, Berry M, Logan A, Ahmed Z Pigment epithelium-derived factor is retinal ganglion cell neuroprotective and axogenic after optic nerve crush injury. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013 Apr 12;54(4):2624-33. doi: 10.1167/iovs.13-11803

Vigneswara V, Berry M, Logan A, Ahmed Z. (2012). Caspase-2 is upregulated after sciatic nerve transection and its inhibition protects dorsal root ganglion neurons from apoptosis after serum withdrawal. PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e57861. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057861. Epub 2013 Feb 25

Vigneswara V, Kundi S, Ahmed Z. (2012). Review: Receptor tyrosine kinases: molecular switches regulating CNS axon regeneration. J Signal Transduct. 2012;2012:361721. doi: 10.1155/2012/361721. Epub 2012 Jul 16.

Vigneswara V, Berry M, Logan A, Ahmed Z. (2012). Pharmacological inhibition of caspase-2 protects axotomised retinal ganglion cells from apoptosis in adult rats. PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e53473. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053473. Epub 2012 Dec 28.

Jacques SJ, Ahmed Z, Forbes A, Douglas MR, Vigneswara V, Berry M, Logan A. (2012). AAV8 (gfp) preferentially targets large diameter dorsal root ganglion neurones after both intra-dorsal root ganglion and intrathecal injection. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2012 pr;49(4):464-74. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2012.03.002. Epub 2012 Mar 8

Tarhoni MH, Vigneswara V, Smith M, Anderson S, Wigmore P, Lees JE, Ray DE, Carter WG (2009). Detection, quantification, and microlocalisation of targets of pesticides using microchannel plate autoradiographic imagers. Molecules. 2011 Oct 11;16(10):8535-51. doi: 10.3390/molecules16108535.

*Kharbanda KK, *Vigneswara V, McVicker BL, Newlaczyl AU, Bailey K, Tuma D, Ray DE, Carter WG (2009). Proteomics reveal a concerted upregulation of methionine metabolic pathway enzymes, and downregulation of carbonic anhydrase-III, in betaine supplemented ethanol-fed rats Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 381: 523-7. *Co-first Authors

Vigneswara V, Lowenson JD, Powell CD, Thakur M, Bailey K, Clarke S, Ray DE and Wayne WG (2006). Proteomic identification of novel targets of a protein isoaspartyl methyltransferase repair enzyme. J. Biol. Chem. 281: 32619-32629.

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