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Bhupal Bhetwal, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Physiology and Biochemistry

(317) 955-6673
Evans Center, Room 316

Bhupal Bhetwal

Research Interests

Dr. Bhupal Bhetwal's current research interests are in actin-myosin mechanisms in cell/tissue contractility, cell migration, cell division, cell viability etc.. He studies actin-myosin mechanisms in two broad projects; (1) Cytotoxic effects and molecular mechanisms of herbicides in human metastatic breast cancer cells, and (2) Contractility and signaling mechanisms of smooth muscle tissues in response to pathophysiological stimuli. In the cancer cell project, studies are performed in a cell culture. In the smooth muscle contraction project, smooth muscle tissues (mostly from gastrointestinal tract and airways) are freshly harvested from animals and contractile behavior is studied using an in-vitro organ bath pharmacological set up. The current emphasis on smooth muscle project is on identifying the roles of rho kinase and voltage-gated calcium channels in smooth muscle behavior and signaling in response to pathophysiological stimuli. Smooth muscles line the inner walls of many hollow organs such as gastrointestinal tract, reproductive tract, airways, uterus, blood vessels, urinary bladder etc. Hence signaling pathways that regulate smooth muscle tone in these organs are of clinical interests. Dr. Bhetwal's master's degree dissertation focused on cardiovascular fitness changes due to physical activity and high altitude adaptation and his doctoral dissertation focused on studying role of Ca2+ sensitization pathways in regulating gastrointestinal smooth muscle contractility in health and chronic diabetes. Dr. Bhetwal collaborates with the faculties at the Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis and with biomedical science faculties at the MU-COM for his ongoing research projects.

Dr. Bhetwal’s lab employs cell culture, cell cytotoxicity assay, cell imaging, in-vitro organ bath pharmacological dose-response, western blotting, and PCR assays. BMS students train in his lab for their master’s thesis and medical and undergraduate students perform their summer research. His students are encouraged to write and present their findings in regional and national conferences.

Current openings in Dr. Bhetwal’s lab: Marian University’s graduate students (medical students, master’s in biomedical science/master’s in exercise science students) and undergraduate students for thesis projects, summer research.

Full length or Abstract Publications

Scherer BN, Bhetwal BP. Dual role played by Ca2+ in the cytotoxicity of human metastatic breast cancer cells. FASEB journal, 35.

Thirumeni Rajashree, Bhetwal BP. The cytotoxic role of the inhibition of PI‐3‐kinase, and acto‐myosin cross‐bridge formation in human metastatic breast cancer cells. FASEB Journal, 34 (S1), 1-1, 2020. 

Choi H, Bhetwal BP. Role of Protein Kinase‐C and Rho Kinase in the Cytotoxic Effects of Bitter Melon Extract on Metastatic Breast Cancer Cells. FASEB Journal, 33, 652.3, 2019.

Wenwu Zhang, Bhupal P Bhetwal, Susan J Gunst. Rho Kinase (ROCK) collaborates with Pak to Regulate Actin Polymerization and Contraction in Airway Smooth Muscle. J Physiol. 2018 May 10. doi: 10.1113/JP275751.

Zhang W, Bhetwal BP, Gunst SJ. Rho Kinase (ROCK) Regulates Airway Smooth Muscle Contraction by Activating the Pak-GIT1-βPIX Complex to Catalyze Actin Dynamics. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 197; A2743, May 2018.

Bhupal P Bhetwal, Kenton M Sanders, Changlong An, Danielle M. Trappenese, Robert S Moreland, and Brian A Perrino. Ca2+ sensitization pathways accessed by cholinergic neurotransmission in the murine gastric fundus. Journal of Physiology, 2013 Jun 15; 591 (Pt 12):2971-86. Editor's choice and commented.

Bhupal P Bhetwal, Changlong An, Steve A Fisher, and Brian A Perrino. Regulation of basal LC20 phosphorylation by MYPT1 and CPI-17 in murine gastric antrum, gastric fundus, and proximal colon smooth muscles. Neurogastroenterology and Motility (Oct, 2011) 23, e425–e436. 

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