Dinesh S. Rao, MD, PhD

Dinesh S. Rao, MD, PhD

  • Hematologic Pathology|
  • Pathology


Dinesh S. Rao received a B.S. summa cum laude in Biochemistry and an M.D. from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, USA. During this time he developed a deep interest in the pathogenesis of cancer, completing several projects in cancer research during medical school, and went on to a research fellowship at the University of Michigan. There, he made a seminal discovery implicating clathrin mediated trafficking of growth factor receptor tyrosine kinases in the pathogenesis of oncogenic transformation. He then combined clinical training in the pathology of hematologic diseases with further research training in the laboratory of Nobel laureate David Baltimore at Caltech. His research came to focus on the involvement of microRNAs in hematologic development, particularly B-cell development and immunity, and cancer, and resulted in several high-impact publications in well-regarded journals. His research interests include how microRNAs and other non-coding RNAs regulate hematopoietic development and cancer. He combines running a vibrant research laboratory with a busy diagnostic service in leukemia and lymphoma pathology.




Medical Board Certifications

Hematopathology, American Board of Pathology, 2017
Pathology-Anatomic, American Board of Pathology, 2005


Hematopathology, UCLA School of Medicine, 2006


Anatomic & Clinical Pathology, UCLA School of Medicine, 2005


PhD, California Institute of Technology, 2010
MD, Case Western Reserve Univ School of Medicine, 2000


  • Kimmel Translational Scholar Award, July 2011
  • Stein-Oppenheimer Endowment Award, July 2011
  • Robert C. Byrd Scholar, Case Western Reserve University
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Hospital Affiliations

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center



  • Normal hematopoietic and lymphoid development
  • Pathogenesis of hematolymphoid malignancies


Recent Publications:

  1. Hu R, Kagele DA, Huffaker TB, Runtsch MC, Alexander M, Blake E, Su W, Williams MA, Rao DS, Moeller T, Garden G, Round JL, O'Connell RM. (2014)" miR-155 promotes T follicular helper cell accumulation during chronic, low-grade inflammation". Immunity, 41(4): 605-619.
  2. Fernando TR, Rodriguez-Malave NI, Waters EW, Yan W, Casero D, Pigazzi M, Basso G, Rao DS (2015) "LincRNA expression discriminates cytogenetic subtypes in B-lymphoblastic leukemia and plays a functional role in leukemia cell survival". Mol Cancer Research, 13(5):839-51 [Corresponding author]
  3. Palanichamy JK, Tran TM, Howard JM, Contreras JR, Fernando TR, Sterne-Weiler T, Katzman S, Taloue M, Yan, W, Basso G, Pigazzi M, Sanford JR, Rao DS (2016). "RNA-binding protein IGF2BP3 targeting of oncogenic transcripts promotes hematopoietic progenitor proliferation". Journal of Clinical Investigation, 126(4):1495-511. doi: 10.1172/JCI80046. Epub 2016 Mar 14. [Corresponding Author]
  4. Wallace J, Hu R, Mosbruger TL, Dahlem TJ, Stephens WZ, Rao DS, Round JL, O'Connell RM (2016). "Genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 screen identifies microRNAs that regulate myeloid leukemia cell growth". PloS one. 2016; 11(4):e0153689.
  5. King JK, Ung NM, Paing MH, Contreras JR, Alberti MO, Fernando TR, Zhang K, Pellegrini M, Rao DS (2017). "Regulation of marginal zone B-cell development by microRNA-146a". Frontiers Immunol. 7:670. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2016.00670. [Corresponding Author]
  6. Wallace JA, Kagele D, Eiring AM, Kim CN, Hu R, Runtsch MC, Alexander M, Huffaker TB, Lee S-H, Patel AB, Mosburger TL, Voth W, Rao DS, Miles RR, Round JL, Deininger MWN, O'Connell RM (2017). "miR-155 promotes FLT3-ITD-induced myeloproliferative disease through inhibition of the interferon response". Blood, 129(23):3074-3086. doi: 10.1182/blood-2016-09-740209. Epub 2017 Apr 21.
  7. Fernando TR, Contreras JR, Zampini M, Rodriguez-Malave NI, Alberti MO, Anguiano J, Tran TM, Palanichamy JK, Gajeton J, Ung NM, Aros CJ, Waters EV, Casero D, Basso G, Pigazzi M, Rao DS (2017). "The lncRNA CASC15 regulates SOX4 expression in RUNX1-rearranged acute leukemia". Mol Cancer, 16(1): 126. doi: 10.1186/s12943-017-0692-x.
  8. Li B, Wang X, Choi IY, Wang YC, Liu S, Pham AT, Moon H, Smith DJ, Rao DS, Boldin MP, Yang L. (2017) "miR-146a modulates autoreactive Th17 cell differentiation and regulates organ-specific autoimmunity". Journal of Clinical Investigation. 127(10):3702-3716. doi: 10.1172/JCI94012. Epub 2017 Sep 5.
  9. Sasine JP, Himburg HA, Termini CM, Roos M, Tran E, Zhao L, Kan J, Li M, Zhang Y, de Barros SC, Rao DS, Counter CM, Chute JP (2018). Wild-type Kras expands and exhausts hematopoietic stem cells. JCI Insight. 3(11):e98197.

My publications have received a total of 7,904 citations (GoogleScholar, June 2018).

A full list of my publications is available in MyBibliography (49)


  • Aetna
  • Anthem Blue Cross
  • Blue Shield of California
  • Centivo
  • Cigna
  • First Health
  • Health Net of California
  • Interplan (part of HealthSmart)
  • L.A. Care
  • MultiPlan
  • UFCM Health System
  • Prime Health Services
  • Private Healthcare Systems (PHCS)
  • UnitedHealthcare

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  • Kimmel Translational Scholar Award, July 2011
  • Stein-Oppenheimer Endowment Award, July 2011
  • Robert C. Byrd Scholar, Case Western Reserve University
  • Provost Scholar, Case Western Reserve University
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Harland G. Wood Prize, Best Undergraduate student in Biochemistry
  • Joseph S. Silber Fellow, American Cancer Society
  • Department of Neurology Award, Best Medical Student in Neurology
  • Research Fellow, Huntington’s Disease Society of America
  • Fellow, Specialty Training and Advanced Research (STAR), UCLA Daljit S. and Elaine Sarkaria Fellow in Disease Research and Clinical Innovation, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UCLA
  • Joanne Levy, M.D., Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement
  • American Society of Hematology, December 2007