Sam Thiagalingam, PhD

Associate Professor, Medicine

Sam Thiagalingam
72 E. Concord St Evans Building


Dr. Thiagalingam is an expert cancer geneticist and was the first to show that SMAD4 inactivation is a critical event during the late stages of colon cancer progression. He was a lead researcher in the team that first identified a family of five novel SMAD genes. He also proposed a simple minded multi-modular molecular network (MMMN) cancer progression model as a road map to visualize the various gene alterations in modules of networks of pathways. Recently, his studies found that intact hyperactive TGFß-Smad signaling is required to sustain “epigenetic memory” responsible for epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a critical step during conversion to malignant cancer. His long-term goal is to identify novel cancer biomarkers and therapeutic targets by contributing to the “big picture” of interconnected network of events that mediate cancer progression to metastasis using breast and colon cancers as the model systems. In addition to studying the various aspects of cancer, Dr. Thiagalingam has also been interested in taking an interdisciplinary approach to studying epigenomics of other complex diseases such as schizophrenia (SCZ) and bipolar disorder (BD). Recent studies by the lab found that there is asymmetric expression of many genes involved in the TGFB super family signaling pathways and those known to establish left-right asymmetry in SCZ and BD. Research efforts are ongoing to correlate epigenomic alterations in SCZ and BD to pathogenesis to identify effective therapeutic targets and agents.

Other Positions

  • Associate Professor, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine
  • Member, BU-BMC Cancer Center, Boston University
  • Member, Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research, Boston University
  • Member, Genome Science Institute, Boston University
  • Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students), Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, Graduate Medical Sciences


  • Johns Hopkins University, PhD
  • Bowling Green State University, MS
  • University of Jaffna, BSc


  • Published on 3/7/2024

    Abdolmaleky HM, Nohesara S, Thiagalingam S. Epigenome Defines Aberrant Brain Laterality in Major Mental Illnesses. Brain Sci. 2024 Mar 07; 14(3). PMID: 38539649.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/18/2024

    Nohesara S, Abdolmaleky HM, Thiagalingam S. Potential for New Therapeutic Approaches by Targeting Lactate and pH Mediated Epigenetic Dysregulation in Major Mental Diseases. Biomedicines. 2024 Feb 18; 12(2). PMID: 38398057.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/14/2023

    Nohesara S, Abdolmaleky HM, Zhou JR, Thiagalingam S. Microbiota-Induced Epigenetic Alterations in Depressive Disorders Are Targets for Nutritional and Probiotic Therapies. Genes (Basel). 2023 Dec 14; 14(12). PMID: 38137038.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/13/2023

    Nohesara S, Abdolmaleky HM, Thiagalingam S, Zhou JR. Gut microbiota defined epigenomes of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases reveal novel targets for therapy. Epigenomics. 2024 Jan; 16(1):57-77. PMID: 38088063.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 7/24/2023

    Nohesara S, Abdolmaleky HM, Thiagalingam S. Epigenetic Aberrations in Major Psychiatric Diseases Related to Diet and Gut Microbiome Alterations. Genes (Basel). 2023 Jul 24; 14(7). PMID: 37510410.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 4/12/2023

    Abdolmaleky HM, Martin M, Zhou JR, Thiagalingam S. Epigenetic Alterations of Brain Non-Neuronal Cells in Major Mental Diseases. Genes (Basel). 2023 Apr 12; 14(4). PMID: 37107654.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/23/2023

    Laroche FJF, Li S, Shen N, Hwang SK, Nguyen G, Yu W, Wong CK, Quinton RJ, Berman JN, Liu CT, Singh A, Ganem NJ, Thiagalingam S, Feng H. S1P1 Threonine 236 Phosphorylation Mediates the Invasiveness of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer and Sensitivity to FTY720. Cells. 2023 Mar 23; 12(7). PMID: 37048053.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 6/30/2022

    Chung J, Das A, Sun X, Sobreira DR, Leung YY, Igartua C, Mozaffari S, Chou YF, Thiagalingam S, Mez J, Zhang X, Jun GR, Stein TD, Kunkle BW, Martin ER, Pericak-Vance MA, Mayeux R, Haines JL, Schellenberg GD, Nobrega MA, Lunetta KL, Pinto JM, Wang LS, Ober C, Farrer LA. Genome-wide association and multi-omics studies identify MGMT as a novel risk gene for Alzheimer's disease among women. Alzheimers Dement. 2022 Jun 30. PMID: 35770850.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 7/28/2021

    Abdolmaleky HM, Zhou JR, Thiagalingam S. Cataloging recent advances in epigenetic alterations in major mental disorders and autism. Epigenomics. 2021 08; 13(15):1231-1245. PMID: 34318684.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/23/2020

    Thiagalingam S. Epigenetic memory in development and disease: Unraveling the mechanism. Biochim Biophys Acta Rev Cancer. 2020 04; 1873(2):188349. PMID: 31982403.

    Read at: PubMed

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