Yoshinobu (Yoshi) Odaka

Yoshinobu (Yoshi) Odaka , PhD

Assistant Professor

University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College
9555 Plainfield Rd. Walters 287 (ML0086)
Blue Ash, Ohio 45236
Email odakayu@ucmail.uc.edu

Professional Summary

Free-living amoeba Naegleria 
The long-term goal of our research is to identify drug targets in the TOR (target of rapamycin) kinase signaling axis and to develop pharmacological agents against Naegleria fowleri. N. fowleri is a pathogenic free-living amoeba that causes rare (151 reported cases as of 2020 in the US) but highly fatal (greater than 97%) primary meningoencephalitis in the central nervous system. The thermophilic amoeba lives in warm freshwater in the southern states (e.g., Texas and Florida) and gains access to the cerebrum when contaminated water enters the nasal cavity. The onset of symptoms such as headache and nausea starts within a week of infection, and it only takes another week for a patient to succumb to the disease.
Biologically, Naegleria species have a fascinating and unique feature: they can transform into three different morphological stages depending on environmental conditions. The trophozoite (amoeboid) is the feeding stage of the life cycle and is mitotically active, while the cyst form is metabolically inert. The third form is flagellate, having a pair of flagella with which Naegleria swims away from the unfavorable environment. Using the non-pathogenic Naegleria gruberi (NEG-M strain, ATCC#30224) as the model organism, we are currently investigating the TOR-mediated regulatory mechanism of encystment. 

The dynamic transformation of cellular morphology during the locomotive process is a fascinating phenomenon. Endothelial cells, the essential component of blood vessels covering the innermost surface of the tubular structure, undergo such morphogenesis during development and certain pathological conditions, including retinopathies, cancers, and arthritis. During the transformation process, endothelial cells become active in proliferation (an increase in the number of cells) and migration, the combination of which leads to the formation of new vessels (angiogenesis). Our research interest is to investigate the molecular signals within the endothelial cell that govern the migratory aspect of angiogenesis, ultimately aiming to identify pharmacological means to intervene the unwanted angiogenesis in pathological conditions.


Ph.D.: Louisiana State University Health Shreveport (Pharmacological Analyses and Biochemical Characterization of Apoptotic Mechanisms in Pediatric Rhabdomyosarcoma. Faculty advisor, Shile Huang, Ph.D.)

BS: Northland College (Double Major in Mathematics and Chemistry. Minor in Biology)

Postdoctoral Training: Division of Pediatric Ophthalmology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (Genetic Interplay in Developmental Angiogenesis and Vascular Regression in Mice. PI: Richard Lang, Ph.D.)

Positions and Work Experience

- Undergraduate Research Faculty Advisor., Nick Nowacinski (2024), Melvin Lartey (2024), Eric Kniffen (2023), Aerin Hamons (2023), Anushkaa Parwade (2022), Cassie Gohar (2022), Kyla Doan (2022), Vartika Mishra (2021. Currently in MS program in Biomedical Engineering at Stanford), Aqsa Raja (2020-2021), Hunter Heinlein (2019. Earned MS in Anesthesia at Nova Southeastern University. Currently, Anesthesiologist Assistant), Michaela Young (2018. Earned PharmD from UCCOP. Currently Pharmacy Resident at UC Health),

Research Support

Grant: #Fellowship 2014 -2015 Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation. Notch-dependent regulation of pro-survival factor, VEGF-B, and pro-apoptotic factor, Wnt7b, in hyaloid associated macrophage for vascular regression Role:PI $10,000 Completed Type:Fellowship

Grant: #R25080 04-01-2019 -03-31-2020 University of Cincinnati Research Council. Pharmacological Investigation of Rapamycin on Pseudopodia Formation and Cell Mgration in Naegleria Gruberi. Role:PI $7,500.00 Active Type:Grant Level:University

Grant: #Research Launch Award 08-31-2019 -06-30-2020 UC Office of Research. $3,500.00 Active

Grant: # Experiential & Service Learning Grants. 02-01-2020 -12-31-2020 . UC Office of the Provost. Mammalian Cell Culture: Bring Biological Concepts to Life. $1000. Active Level:College

Grant: # Collaborative Research Advancement Grants. 07-01-2020 -09-30-2022 . UC Office of Research. Elucidation of drug-receptor structure for the development of new drugs against brain-eating amoeba, Naegleria fowleri. Role: PI $20,000. Active Type:Grant Level:University

Grant: # Special Coronavirus (COVID-19) Research Pilot Grant. Investigators: Rhett Kovall, Yoshi Odaka 04-13-2020 -04-14-2021 . UC Office of Research & College of Medicine Office of Research. Elucidation of SARS-CoV-2 ORF8 Protein Structure by X-Ray Crystallography and Effect of Macrolides, Rapamycin (sirolimus) and FK506 (tacrolimus), on ORF8 and FKBP7 Interaction. Role: Co-PI. $25,000. Active Type:Grant Level:University

Grant: # Carroll-Feist Fellowship. 2012 -2013 Feist-Weiller Cancer Center. $27,000/year. Completed Type:Fellowship

Grant: #R40222 Investigators:Odaka, Yoshinobu 07-01-2020 -12-31-2021 UC's Collaborative Research Advancement Grant Program - Track 1: Pilot Teams Elucidation of drug-receptor structure for the development of new drugs against brain-eating amoeba, Naegleria fowleri Role:PI $20,000.00 Active Level:Internal UC

Grant: #SuperRAPIDS. Investigators: Marc Cahay (PI), Ying Sun, Justin Zhan, Zach Fuchs, Mark Tran, Yoshi Odaka, Amy Miller, Melissa Setser, Christopher Goodman, Susan Riley, Douglas McPhillips. 2023 -2025 The State of Ohio. Accelerating Southwest Ohio’s Workforce Development in Advanced Manufacturing and Healthcare. Role:Co-PI $696,216.93 ($59,725.59 to UCBA Biology) Active Type:Grant Level:State

Grant: #Undergraduate Research Funds. 2018 -To Present . Molecular Signaling in Morphological Transformation in Naegleria gruberi amoeba. Role:PI $9,474.93 Active Type:Grant Level:College


Peer Reviewed Publications

Nayak, Gowri*; Odaka, Yoshinobu*; Prasad, Vikram; Solano, Alyssa F; Yeo, Eun-Jin; Vemaraju, Shruti; Molkentin, Jeffery D; Trumpp, Andreas; Williams, Bart; Rao, Sujata; Lang, Richard A (2018. ) Developmental vascular regression is regulated by a Wnt/b-catenin, MYC and CDKN1A pathway that controls cell proliferation and cell death. * co-first authors.Development (Cambridge, England), , 145 (12 ) ,https://doi.org/10.1242/dev.154898 More Information

Saijo, Fumito; Odaka, Yoshinobu; Mutoh, Mitsuhisa; Katayose, Yu; Tokumura, Hiromi (2018. ) A novel technique of axillary vein puncture involving peripherally inserted central venous catheters for a small basilic vein.The journal of vascular access, , 19 (3 ) ,311-315 More Information

Todd, John R; Matsumoto, Tadahiko; Ueno, Ryohei; Murugaiyan, Jayaseelan; Britten, Allan; King, John W; Odaka, Yoshinobu; Oberle, Arnold; Weise, Christoph; Roesler, Uwe; Pore, R Scott (2018. ) Medical phycology 2017.Medical mycology, , 56 (suppl_1 ) ,S188-S204 More Information

Sakabe, Masahide; Fan, Jieqing; Odaka, Yoshinobu; Liu, Ning; Hassan, Aishlin; Duan, Xin; Stump, Paige; Byerly, Luke; Donaldson, Megan; Hao, Jiukuan; Fruttiger, Marcus; Lu, Qing Richard; Zheng, Yi; Lang, Richard A; Xin, Mei (2017. ) YAP/TAZ-CDC42 signaling regulates vascular tip cell migration.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, , 114 (41 ) ,10918-10923 More Information

Muley, Ajit; Odaka, Yoshi; Lewkowich, Ian P; Vemaraju, Shruti; Yamaguchi, Terry P; Shawber, Carrie; Dickie, Belinda H; Lang, Richard A (2017. ) Myeloid Wnt ligands are required for normal development of dermal lymphatic vasculature.PloS one, , 12 (8 ) ,e0181549 More Information

Shen, Tao; Shang, Chaowei; Zhou, Hongyu; Luo, Yan; Barzegar, Mansoureh; Odaka, Yoshinobu; Wu, Yang; Huang, Shile (2017. ) Ciclopirox inhibits cancer cell proliferation by suppression of Cdc25A.Genes & cancer, , 8 (3-4 ) ,505-516 More Information

Odaka, Yoshinobu; Xu, Baoshan; Luo, Yan; Shen, Tao; Shang, Chaowei; Wu, Yang; Zhou, Hongyu; Huang, Shile (2014. ) Dihydroartemisinin inhibits the mammalian target of rapamycin-mediated signaling pathways in tumor cells.Carcinogenesis, , 35 (1 ) ,192-200 More Information

Todd, John R; King, John W; Oberle, Arnold; Matsumoto, Tadahiko; Odaka, Yoshinobu; Fowler, Marjorie; Pore, R Scott; Shahan, Tracy Allan; Yin, Lijia; Sanusi, Irwan D (2012. ) Protothecosis: report of a case with 20-year follow-up, and review of previously published cases.Medical mycology, , 50 (7 ) ,673-89 More Information

Chen, Wenxing; Liu, Lei; Luo, Yan; Odaka, Yoshinobu; Awate, Sanket; Zhou, Hongyu; Shen, Tao; Zheng, Shizhong; Lu, Yin; Huang, Shile (2012. ) Cryptotanshinone activates p38/JNK and inhibits Erk1/2 leading to caspase-independent cell death in tumor cells.Cancer prevention research (Philadelphia, Pa.), , 5 (5 ) ,778-87 More Information

Han, Xiuzhen; Xu, Baoshan; Beevers, Christopher S; Odaka, Yoshinobu; Chen, Long; Liu, Lei; Luo, Yan; Zhou, Hongyu; Chen, Wenxing; Shen, Tao; Huang, Shile (2012. ) Curcumin inhibits protein phosphatases 2A and 5, leading to activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases and death in tumor cells.Carcinogenesis, , 33 (4 ) ,868-75 More Information

Luo, Yan; Liu, Lei; Rogers, Donna; Su, Wei; Odaka, Yoshinobu; Zhou, Hongyu; Chen, Wenxing; Shen, Tao; Alexander, J Steven; Huang, Shile (2012. ) Rapamycin inhibits lymphatic endothelial cell tube formation by downregulating vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 3 protein expression.Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.), , 14 (3 ) ,228-37 More Information

Li, Xiao-Lin; Zhang, Dongqing; Knight, David; Odaka, Yoshinobu; Glass, Jonathan; Mathis, J Michael; Zhang, Qian-Jin (2009. ) Priming of immune responses against transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP)-deficient tumours: tumour direct priming.Immunology, , 128 (3 ) ,420-8 More Information

Li, Xiao-Lin; Liu, Yong-Yu; Knight, David; Odaka, Yoshinobu; Mathis, J Michael; Shi, Runhua; Glass, Jonathan; Zhang, Qian-Jin (2009. ) Effect of B7.1 costimulation on T-cell based immunity against TAP-negative cancer can be facilitated by TAP1 expression.PloS one, , 4 (7 ) ,e6385 More Information

Siegele, Bradford; Cefalu, Christopher; Holm, Neal; Sun, Guang; Tubbs, Jesse; Meschonat, Carol; Odaka, Yoshinobu; DeBenedetti, Arrigo; Ghali, G E; Chu, Quyen; Mathis, J Michael; Li, Benjamin D L (2008. ) eIF4E-targeted suicide gene therapy in a minimal residual mouse model for metastatic soft-tissue head and neck squamous cell carcinoma improves disease-free survival.The Journal of surgical research, , 148 (1 ) ,83-9 More Information

Stoff-Khalili, Mariam A; Rivera, Angel A; Nedeljkovic-Kurepa, Ana; DeBenedetti, Arrigo; Li, Xiao-Lin; Odaka, Yoshinobu; Podduturi, Jagat; Sibley, Don A; Siegal, Gene P; Stoff, Alexander; Young, Scott; Zhu, Zheng B; Curiel, David T; Mathis, J Michael (2008. ) Cancer-specific targeting of a conditionally replicative adenovirus using mRNA translational control.Breast cancer research and treatment, , 108 (1 ) ,43-55 More Information

Mathis, J Michael; Williams, B Jill; Sibley, Don A; Carroll, Jennifer L; Li, Jie; Odaka, Yoshinobu; Barlow, Shayne; Nathan, Cherie-Ann O; Li, Benjamin D L; DeBenedetti, Arrigo (2006. ) Cancer-specific targeting of an adenovirus-delivered herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase suicide gene using translational control.The journal of gene medicine, , 8 (9 ) ,1105-20 More Information

Strat, Aurel; Gao, Lu; Utsuki, Tada; Cheng, Bing; Nuthalapaty, Sam; Mathis, J Mike; Odaka, Yoshinobu; Giordano, Tony (2006. ) Specific and nontoxic silencing in mammalian cells with expressed long dsRNAs.Nucleic acids research, , 34 (13 ) ,3803-10 More Information

Mathis, J Michael; Bhatia, Shilpa; Khandelwal, Alok; Kovesdi, Imre; Lokitz, Stephen J; Odaka, Yoshi; Takalkar, Amol M; Terry, Tracee; Curiel, David T (2011. ) Genetic incorporation of human metallothionein into the adenovirus protein IX for non-invasive SPECT imaging.PloS one, , 6 (2 ) ,e16792 More Information

Palaniyandi, S; Odaka, Y; Green, W; Abreo, F; Caldito, G; De Benedetti, A; Sunavala-Dossabhoy, G (2011. ) Adenoviral delivery of Tousled kinase for the protection of salivary glands against ionizing radiation damage.Gene therapy, , 18 (3 ) ,275-82 More Information

Cromer, Walter; Jennings, Merilyn H; Odaka, Yoshinubo; Mathis, J Michael; Alexander, J Steven (2010. ) Murine rVEGF164b, an inhibitory VEGF reduces VEGF-A-dependent endothelial proliferation and barrier dysfunction.Microcirculation (New York, N.Y. : 1994), , 17 (7 ) ,536-47 More Information

Odaka, Y; Mally, A; Elliott, L T; Meyers, S (2000. ) Nuclear import and subnuclear localization of the proto-oncoprotein ETO (MTG8).Oncogene, , 19 (32 ) ,3584-97 More Information

Byrnes, Kerry; Li, Benjamin D L; Holm, Neal; Li, Jie; Odaka, Yoshi; De Benedetti, Arrigo; Nedeljkovic-Kurepa, A; Mathis, Michael; Chu, Quyen D (2007. ) A novel suicide gene therapy targeting the overexpression of eukaryotic initiation factor 4E improves survival in a rat peritoneal carcinomatosis model.Surgery, , 142 (2 ) ,270-5 More Information

Nguyen, Minh-Thanh T; Vemaraju, Shruti; Nayak, Gowri; Odaka, Yoshinobu; Buhr, Ethan D; Alonzo, Nuria; Tran, Uyen; Batie, Matthew; Upton, Brian A; Darvas, Martin; Kozmik, Zbynek; Rao, Sujata; Hegde, Rashmi S; Iuvone, P Michael; Van Gelder, Russell N; Lang, Richard A (2019. ) An opsin 5-dopamine pathway mediates light-dependent vascular development in the eye.Nature cell biology, , 21 (4 ) ,420-429 More Information

Nayak, Gowri; Zhang, Kevin X; Vemaraju, Shruti; Odaka, Yoshinobu; Buhr, Ethan D; Holt-Jones, Amanda; Kernodle, Stace; Smith, April N; Upton, Brian A; D'Souza, Shane; Zhan, Jesse J; Diaz, Nicolás; Nguyen, Minh-Thanh; Mukherjee, Rajib; Gordon, Shannon A; Wu, Gang; Schmidt, Robert; Mei, Xue; Petts, Nathan T; Batie, Matthew; Rao, Sujata; Hogenesch, John B; Nakamura, Takahisa; Sweeney, Alison; Seeley, Randy J; Van Gelder, Russell N; Sanchez-Gurmaches, Joan; Lang, Richard A (2020. ) Adaptive Thermogenesis in Mice Is Enhanced by Opsin 3-Dependent Adipocyte Light Sensing.Cell reports, , 30 (3 ) ,672-686.e8 More Information

Luo, Jun*; Odaka, Yoshinobu*; Huang, Zhu; Cheng, Bing; Liu, Wang; Li, Lin; Shang, Chaowei; Zhang, Chao; Wu, Yang; Luo, Yan; Yang, Shengyong; Houghton, Peter J; Guo, Xiaofeng; Huang, Shile (2021. ) Dihydroartemisinin Inhibits mTORC1 Signaling by Activating the AMPK Pathway in Rhabdomyosarcoma Tumor Cells.Cells, , 10 (6 ) , More Information

Gagliani, Ellen K; Gutzwiller, Lisa M; Kuang, Yi; Odaka, Yoshinobu; Hoffmeister, Phillipp; Hauff, Stefanie; Turkiewicz, Aleksandra; Harding-Theobald, Emily; Dolph, Patrick J; Borggrefe, Tilman; Oswald, Franz; Gebelein, Brian; Kovall, Rhett A (2022. ) A Drosophila Su(H) model of Adams-Oliver Syndrome reveals cofactor titration as a mechanism underlying developmental defects.PLoS genetics, , 18 (8 ) ,e1010335 More Information

Schrenk, Sandra; Bischoff, Lindsay J; Goines, Jillian; Cai, Yuqi; Vemaraju, Shruti; Odaka, Yoshinobu; Good, Samantha R; Palumbo, Joseph S; Szabo, Sara; Reynaud, Damien; Van Raamsdonk, Catherine D; Lang, Richard A; Boscolo, Elisa (2023. ) MEK inhibition reduced vascular tumor growth and coagulopathy in a mouse model with hyperactive GNAQ.Nature communications, , 14 (1 ) ,1929 More Information

Saijo, Fumito; Mutoh, Mitsuhisa; Tokumine, Joho; Yoshinobu, Odaka; Hama, Hikaru; Namima, Takashige; Shibahara, Mii; Tokumura, Hiromi (2019. ) Late fracture of Groshong ports: A report of the three cases.The journal of vascular access, , 20 (5 ) ,563-566 More Information


Invited Presentations

Odaka Y (session chair), Nayak G, Kelley K (undergraduate mentee), McLeod M (undergraduate mentee), Kumar DL, De Falco TJ, Kopan R, Lang R. (2017. ) Notch loss-of-function leads to neovascularization in the hyaloid vasculature. Vascular Cell Biology, Gordon Research Seminar., Ventura, CA. Conference. . Level:International

Odaka Y (invited speaker), Nayak G, McLeod M (undergraduate mentee), Kopan R, Lang R. (2016. ) The role of Notch in the hyaloid vascular regression. The International Symposium at the 120th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Ophthalmological Society., Sendai, Japan. Conference. . Level:International

Odaka Y (speaker), Nayak-Sarangdhar G, Dassanayake M (medical student mentee), Vemaraju S, Lang R. (2015. ) Conditional knockout of Wnt co-receptors, Lrp5 and Lrp6, manifests persistent hyaloid vasculatures. Asia-Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology., Yokohama, Japan. Conference. . Level:International

Odaka Y (invited speaker), Mathis JM. (2009. ) Non-invasive imaging of adenovirus vectors using a pIX-Metallothionein capsid fusion protein. South Central Society of Toxicology Annual Fall Meeting., Shreveport, LA. Professional Meeting. . Level:Regional

Odaka Y (invited speaker), Todd J. (2009. ) Basic Biology of Prototheca. The 17th Congress of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology., Tokyo, Japan. Conference. . Level:International


Yoshi Odaka (03-28-2023). Molecular Dissection of Brain-Eating Amoeba Cousin . The 4th Annual Research Lightning Talks , University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College. UC. Level:College

Honors and Awards

2014 -2015 Arnold W. Strauss Fellow , Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation.

2012 -2013 Carroll-Feist Cancer Research Fellow , Feist-Weiller Cancer Center, LSU Health Shreveport.

2013 First Place, Poster Presentation (post-proposal category), LSU Health Shreveport School of Graduate Studies

2011 Second Place, Poster Presentation (pre-proposal category), LSU Health Shreveport School of Graduate Studies

2023 Faculty Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award, University of Cincinnati


Development, Cancers, Cells, Molecules, Healthcare, Scientia Pharmaceutica, Int J Mol Sci., Biomedicines, Hematology Reports, Metabolites, Microorganisms, Pharmaceutics. Peer Review/Referee Type:Editorial Service Level:International

Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease (Special Issue: Emerging Insights in Pathogenesis of Infectious Protozoa and Algae (https://www.mdpi.com/journal/tropicalmed/special_issues/67W81JX4N0 ) Guest Co-Editor Type:Editorial Service Level:International 07-20-2022 -01-31-2024

Study Abroad and Exchange Programs: Committee Member Type:University/College Service Level:College 2021 -2024

Scholarship and Honors Committee: Committee Member Type:University/College Service Level:College 2019 -2022

The 10th and 11th Annual Mediated Minds Undergraduate Research Conference Co-Chair Type:University/College Service Level:College 2022 -To Present

Frontiers in Tropical Diseases (Emerging Tropical Diseases ) Associate Editor Type:Editorial Service Level:International 2023 -To Present

Biology I & II (BIOL1081, 1082, 1081L, & 1082L) Faculty Coordinator Type:Departmental Service Level:Department 2021 -2023

Anatomy & Physiology I & II (BIOL2001C & 2002C) Faculty Coordinator Type:Departmental Service Level:Department 2023 -To Present


angiogenesis, endothelial cell, target of rapamycin (TOR), AMPK, notch, cell signaling, cell migration, protozoa, prototheca, amoeba, naegleria, infectious disease, cancer, drug discovery, biochemistry, protein structure

Courses Taught

-BIOL-2001C ANAT PHYS I (2018-Present) Level:Undergraduate

-BIOL-2002C ANAT PHYS II (2018-Present) Level:Undergraduate

-BIOL-1081 BIOLOGY I (2017-Present) Level:Undergraduate

-BIOL-1081L BIOLOGY I LAB (2018-Present) Level:Undergraduate

-INTR-1020 INTRO TO SCI PROF (2019) Level:Undergraduate

-BIOL-5050 CAPSTONE Biology Capstone Level:Undergraduate

-BIOL-4097 UNDERGRAD RESEARCH (2019) Level:Undergraduate

-MEDS-3030L BIOMED RES ROTATION (2018-2019) Level:Undergraduate

-DB-9087 DEV. & DISEASE (the Eye Section, 2020) Level:Graduate

-BIOL-4095 UNDERGRAD RESEARCH (Fall, 2021) Level:Undergraduate

-BIOL-2099C IND STUDY BIOL (2022, 2023) Level:Undergraduate

-BIOL-1051C BIOL HEALTH PROFESS (Fall, 2022) Lecture part of Anatomy & Physiology section. Level:Undergraduate

Faculty Development Activities

06-2021 -07-2021 NSF Summer Research Experience for Teachers. Biocompatible Scaffolds for Peripheral Nerve Regeneration ($6,000 stipend), College of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Cincinnati, Type:Faculty Fellowship

Contact Information

Academic - University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College
9555 Plainfield Rd. Walters 287 (ML0086)
Blue Ash  Ohio, 45236