Dr. Bhaskar received a Master's degree in Zoology (1994) from the University of Mysore, India. He earned a second Master's (M.Phil.) in Neurophysiology (1996) and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Neuropathology (2002) from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), India. He then completed his post-doctoral training at the University of Iowa (2002-2006) and a second post-doc at the Cleveland Clinic (2006-2012). In 2012, Dr. Bhaskar joined the University of New Mexico as a faculty in the Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology/Neurology.

Personal Statement

Bhaskar’s laboratory studies brain inflammation in driving Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. His lab is developing and testing novel vaccines for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. For the past several years, Dr. Bhaskar has been continuously funded for his Alzheimer's disease research program from NIH and other foundations. Dr. Bhaskar also published several notable papers related to his research, including Neuron, Brain, and Nature Communication. Most notably, his 2010 Neuron publication has a growing number of citations (Google Scholar) and has been recommended in Faculty 1000 Prime. Dr. Bhaskar also directs the Scientific Core in the recently funded New Mexico ADRC (exploratory) and developing novel blood-based biomarkers for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Dr. Bhaskar is the Co-Director of the UNM Brain and Behavioral Health Institute (BBHI) - a signature program to promote the Brain and Behavioral research and education mission of the UNM HSC. Finally, Dr. Bhaskar has served as the course director for the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program (BSGP) and is actively involved in undergraduate medical education.

Areas of Specialty

Alzheimer's disease and related dementias
Neuroinflammation and Neuroimmunology
Vaccines against Alzheimer's disease
Autophagy and Metabolic contributions to Alzheimer's disease


B.Sc., M.Sc., M.Phil., Ph.D.

Achievements & Awards

1. Excellence in Research Junior Faculty Award, UNM HSC, Nov 2016.
2. Travel Award, SfN/NINDS Satellite Symposia, Chicago, Nov 2015.
3. Milstein Travel Award, Cytokines 2014, Melbourne, Australia, October 2014.
4. International Society for Cytokines Young Investigator Award, Cytokines 2012, Geneva, Switzerland. September 2012.
5. Young Investigator Travel Award, 2011 International Society for Neurochemistry (ISN) meeting in Athens, Greece. August 2011.
6. Best Poster Award, 2008 Lerner Research Institute Annual Retreat, Cleveland, USA. September 2008.
7. Travel Fellowship, International Conference on Alzheimer’s & Related Disorders (ICAD), Philadelphia, USA. July 2004.
8. Travel Fellowship, European Union Advanced Course on Computational Neuroscience, Trieste, Italy. August 2000.
9. Travel Fellowship, National Center for Biological Sciences (NCBS), India. July 1999.

Key Publications

Journal Article
Jiang, S, Maphis, N, M Binder, J, Chisholm, D, Weston, L, Duran, W, Peterson, C, Zimmerman, A, Mandell, Michael, Jett, S, D Bigio, E, Geula, C, Mellios-resigned Feb 2024, Nikolaos, Weick, Jason, Rosenberg, Gary, 2021 Proteopathic tau primes and activates interleukin-1? via myeloid-cell-specific MyD88- and NLRP3-ASC-inflammasome pathway. Cell reports, vol. 36, Issue 12, 109720
Journal Article
Bhaskar, Kiran, Konerth, M, Kokiko-Cochran, O, N Cardona, A, Ransohoff, R, M Lamb, B, T 2010 Regulation of tau pathology by the microglial fractalkine receptor. Neuron, vol. 68, Issue 1, 19-31
Journal Article
Maphis, N, Xu, G, Kokiko-Cochran, O, N Jiang, S, Cardona, A, Ransohoff, R, M Lamb, B, T Bhaskar, Kiran, 2015 Reactive microglia drive tau pathology and contribute to the spreading of pathological tau in the brain. Brain : a journal of neurology, vol. 138, Issue Pt 6, 1738-55




  • English
  • Kannada
  • Hindi

Courses Taught

1. Course Director, UNM Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program (BSGP) courses - BIOM 525 and BIOM 530 - from 2014-2023
2. Tutor, UNM Undergraduate Medical Education - Foundations/Immunology and Neuroscience blocks - from 2014 - to date.

Research and Scholarship

1. Microglial neuroinflammation and tau pathology - In this study, Bhaskar Lab is investigating whether microglia- and neuron-specific roles of IL-1 signaling in Alzheimer's disease and related tauopathies.

a.Bhaskar K, Konerth M, Kokiko-Cochran NM, Cardona A, Ransohoff RM and Lamb BT (2010). Regulation of tau pathology by the microglial fractalkine receptor. Neuron 68:1-13. (Video Abstract at PMID: 20920788. PMCID: PMC2950825.
b.Maphis, N, Xu, G, Kokiko-Cochran, ON, Cardona A, Ransohoff RM, Lamb BT and Bhaskar K* (2015). Reactive microglia drive tau pathology and contributes to the spreading of pathological tau in the brain. Brain Jun;138(Pt 6):1738-55. doi: 10.1093/brain/awv081. PMID: 25833819. PMCID: PMC4542622.
c.Bemiller S, Maphis NM, Formica SV, Wilson GN, Miller CM, Xu G, Kokiko-Cochran ON, Kim K-W, Jung S, Cannon JL, Crish SD, Cardona AE, Lamb BT and Bhaskar K* (2018). Genetically enhancing the expression of the chemokine domain of CX3CL1 fails to prevent tau pathology in mouse models of tauopathy. J. Neuroinflammation Sep 25;15(1):278). PMID: 30253780; PMCID: PMC6154806.
d. Jiang, S, Maphis, N.M, Binder, J.L, Chisholm, D, Weston, L, Duran, W, Peterson, C, Zimmerman, A, Mandell, M, Jett, S, Bigio, E, Geula, C, Mellios, N, Weick, J, Latz, E, Rosenberg, G, Heneka, M.T, and Bhaskar, K* (2021). Proteopathic tau primes and activates interleukin-1? (IL-1?) via myeloid-cell specific MyD88- and NLRP3-ASC-inflammasome pathway. Cell Reports 2021 Sep 21;36(12):109720. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109720. PMID: 34551296.

2. Novel vaccines for Alzheimer's disease tau pathology - In collaboration with Dr. Bryce Chackerian's group, we are developing novel virus-like particle (VLP) based vaccines against Alzheimer's disease tau pathology via targeting Alzheimer's disease-related proteins or inflammatory components.

a. Maphis, N.M, Peabody, J, Crossey, E, Jiang, S, Jamaleddin, F.A, Alvarez, M, Yaney, A, Yang, Y, Sillerud, L, Wilson, C, Selwyn, R, Brigman, J, Cannon, J, Peabody, D, Chackerian, B, and Bhaskar, K* (2019). Qbeta Virus-like particle-based vaccine induces robust immunity and protects against tauopathy. NPJ Vaccines Jun 3;4:26. PMID: 31231552; PMCID: PMC6547647. (Press Release -

3. Anti-inflammatory and anti-p-Tau roles of autophagy in Alzheimer's disease - Autophagy is a fundamental cell biology process. It serves as a guardian of cytoplasmic quality and ensures cell functionality and survival particularly applicable to long-lived cells like neurons. Impairments in autophagy have been implicated in FTD, AD, and others. Recently, we have demonstrated that induction of autophagy via FDA-approved pharmaceuticals reduced inflammation-induced p-Tau in a manner dependent upon beclin-1 pathway. Currently, we are investigating the role of autophagy in blocking neuro-inflammation and providing neuroprotection in various disease models.

a. Chauhan, S, Ahmed, Z, Bradfute, SB, Arko-Mensah, Jiang, S, J, Mandell, MA, Blanchet, F, Waller, A, Sklar, L, Timmins, GS, Maphis, N, Bhaskar, K, Piguet, V and Deretic, V (2015). Pharmaceutical screen identifies a novel target process for activation of autophagy with broad translational potential. Nature Communications Oct 27;6:8620. PMID: 26503418. PMCID: PMC4624223.
b.Binder, J.L., Chander, P., Deretic, V., Weick, J.P*. and Bhaskar, K* (2019). Optical induction of autophagy via transcription factor-EB (TFEB) reduces pathological tau in neurons. PLoS One 2020 Mar 24;15(3):e0230026. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0230026.

4. Prediction of novel risk genes and pathways for Alzheimer's disease via machine learning - A recent collaboration with Dr. Tudor Oprea's group has led to the identification and validation of novel risk genes based on a Target Central Resource Database protein knowledge graph and evidence paths transformed into vectors by metapath matching.

a. Binder, J.L., Ursu, O., Bologa, C., Jiang, S., Maphis N.M., Dadras S., Chisholm, D., Weick, J.P., Myers, O., Kumar, P., Yang, J., Bhaskar, K*., and Oprea, T*(2021). Machine learning prediction and tau-based screening identifies potential Alzheimer’s disease genes relevant to immunity. Communications Biology 2022 Feb 11;5(1):125. doi: 10.1038/s42003-022-03068-7. PMID: 35149761 PMCID: PMC8837797.