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Ch Venkateswara Rao

Professor Emeritus

Cellular Biology & Pharmacology

Office: GL 495C

Phone: 305-348-0659


Ch Venkateswara Rao is one of the world's leading experts in LH/hCG actions in non-gonadal tissues in the body. For more than 36 years his research has led to widespread recognition of these hormones action in health and disease and to potential novel therapeutic uses of hCG in reproductive medicine, infectious and autoimmune diseases, cancers, etc. He has extensively lectured on these research developments at various universities in the U.S and throughout the world and in national and international scientific meetings. He has published more than 240 peer-reviewed journal articles, 350 abstracts, and 36 book chapters. His research has almost been continuously funded for more than 30 years, mostly by the NIH.

He was a member of Human Embryology and Development 1 Study Section at National Institutes of Health from 1998 to 2002.

Before joining HWCOM, Dr. Rao held the positions of Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Director of Division of Research in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky. He was also a Distinguished University Scholar. He joined University of Louisville in 1972 and rose through the ranks to become full Professor with tenure in 1979.

As the Director of Reproduction and Development Program at Florida International University College of Medicine, Dr. Rao is setting up a multidisciplinary and collaborative research program with other FIU faculty.

Research Interest

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is an hall mark hormone of pregnancy. Unlike a previously held belief, hCG has been shown to have multiple targets in the body and its wide range of actions may help pregnancy maintenance and even the timing of delivery. These physiologic actions of hCG form the basis for its potential novel therapeutic uses ranging from treating pregnancy complications, certain forms of cancer, gynecologic infections including HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. Our research focuses on basic science, preclinical and clinical aspects of hCG. Our efforts include investigating hCG as a stem cell factor involved in the differentiation of cells in the inner cell mass of blastocysts and hCG playing a role in fetal nourishment through regulating insulin secretion.

Recent Publications

  1. Rao CV (2014) Uphill battle L The saga of hCG research that led to paradigm shift. Ind J Med Res. In press.
  2. Syme M, Thornton G, Hann M, Rao CV (2013) Anti-HIV effects of human chorionic gonadotropin potential for a new inexpensive therapy. In the proceedings of the International Conference on Emerging Frontiers and Challenges in HIV/AIDS Research, In: Bandivedekar A, Puri CP (eds) Emerging Fronteirs and Challenges in HIV/AIDS Research, Varun Enterprise. Mumbai, India pp.119-123
  3. Bourdiec A, Bedard D, Rao CV, Akoum A (2013) Human chorionic gonadotropin regulates endothelial cell responsiveness to interleukin 1 and amplifies the cytokine-mediated effect on cell proliferation, migration and release of angiogenic factors. Am J Reprod Immunol, 70:127-138
  4. Bourdiec A, Calvo E, Rao CV, Akoum A (2013) Transcriptome analysis reveals new insights into the modulation of endometrial stromal cell receptive phenotype by embryo-derived signals interleukin-a and human chorionic gonadotropin. Possible involvement in early embryo implantation. PLOS One, 8:e64829,1-18
  5. Bourdiec A, Shao R, Rao CV, Akoum A (2012) Human chorionic gonadotropin triggers angiogenesis via the modulation of endometrial stromal cell responsiveness to Interleukin-1. A new possible mechanism underlying implantation. Biol Reprod, 87:1-10
  6. Morris LF, Park S, Daskivich T, Churchill BM, Rao CV, Lei ZM, Martinez D, Yeh MW Virilizing of female infant by a maternal adrenocortical carcinoma, Endocrine Practice, 17: e26-e-31 (2011)
  7. Yu Y, Yuan FP, Li X, Lin D, Lan Z, Rao CV, Lei ZM (2010) Luteinizing hormone receptor deficiency increases the susceptibility to alkylating agent-induced lymphomagenesis in mice. Hormones and Cancer, 5: 256-264.
  8. Rao CV (2010) Human adrenal LH/hCG receptors and what they could mean for adrenal physiology and pathology, Mol Cell -- Endocrinol, 329: 33-36
  9. Rao CV (2010) Paradigm shift on the targets of hCG actions. In: Cole L, Butler S (eds) Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. Elsevier Limited, London, U.K. pp.131-137
  10. Akoum A, Bourcier N, Rao CV, Metz C, Roger T, Al-Akoum M  Possible roles of gonadotropins in endometriosis. In : Kumar A, Rao CV, Chaturvedi PK (eds) Molecular and Clinical Aspects of Gonadal and Nongonadal Actions of Gonadotropins, Narosa Publishing House, New Delhi, India, pp.208-216 (2010).
  11. Rao CV, Lei ZM What is new in LH and hCG research and how it can be clinically useful. In: Kumar A, Rao CV, Chaturvedi PK (eds) Molecular and Clinical Aspects of Gonadal and Nongonadal Actions of Gonadotropins,Narosa Publishing House, New Delhi, India, pp.1-7(2010).
  12. Konishi I, Mandai M, Kuroda H, Horiuchi A, Itoh K, Rao CV Infertility and ovarian cancer: A review.In: Kumar A, Rao CV, Chaturvedi PK (eds) Molecular and Clinical Aspects of Gonadal and nongonadal actions of Gonadotropins, Narosa Publishing House, New Delhi, India, pp.197-207 (2010)
  13.  Lin J, Li X, Yuan FP, Lin L, Rao CV, Cook CL, Lei ZM Genetic ablation of luteinizing hormone receptor improves the amyloid pathology in a mouse model of Alzheimer disease. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol, 69: 253-261 (2010)
  14. Yuan FP, Li X, Lin J, Schwabe C, Bullesbach EE, Rao CV, Lei ZM  The role of RXFP2 in mediating androgen-induced inguinoscrotal testis descent in LH receptor knockout mice. Reproduction, 139: 759-769 (2010)
  15. Rahman N, Rao CV Recent progress in luteinizing hormone/human chorionic gonadotropin research. Mol Human Reprod, 15: 703-711(2009).
  16. Klinge CM, Rao CV Cell membrane receptors. In: Sciarra J (ed) Global Library of Women's Medicine(2009).
  17. Klinge CM, Rao CV The steroid hormone receptors. In: Sciarra J (ed) Global Library of Women's Medicine (2009).
  18. Rask E, Schvarcz E, Hellman P, Hennings J, Karlsson A, Rao CV  ACTH independent Cushing's syndrome in pregnancy-related to overexpression of adrenal LH/hCG receptors. J Endocrinol Invest, 33:313-316 (2009).
  19. Sukhova-O' Hare GK, Shah ZA, Lei ZM, Nozdrachev AD, Rao CV, Gozal D Erectile dysfunction in a murine model of sleep apnea. Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 178: 644- 650 (2008).
  20. Herrmann-Lavoie C, Rao CV, Akoum A   Chorionic gonadotropin downregulates the expression of the decoy inhibitory interleukin 1 receptor type 11 in human endometrial epithelial cells. Endocrinology, 148: 5377-5384 (2007).
  21. Ticconi C, Zicari A, Belmonte A, Realacci M, Rao ChV, Piccione E Pregnancy promoting actions of hCG in human myometrium and fetal membranes. Placenta, 28: Supplement A, S137-S143 (2007).
  22. Casadesus G, Milliken EL, Webber KM, Bowen RL, Lei ZM, Rao, CV, Atwood CS, Nilson JH, Perry G, Keri RA, Smith MA Declines in cognitive performance are associated with increased luteinizing hormone levels in mice.  Mol Cell Endocrinol, 269:107-111 (2007).
  23. Rao ChV, Lei ZM The past, present and future of nongonadal LH/hCG actions in reproductive biology and medicine.  Mol Cell Endocrinol, 269: 2-8 (2007).
  24. Lei ZM, Yang M, Li X, Takikawa O, Rao ChV  Upregulation of placental indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase by human chorionic gonadotropin.  Biol Reprod, 76: 639-644 (2007).