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Associate Professor


(Endocrinology, Cancer Biology, Obesity, Phytochemicals) Mechanisms of diet and obesity in breast cancer; Influence of natural products in cancer prevention


Obesity is associated with aggressive drug-resistant breast tumors with poorer prognosis and a higher morbidity rate.  Despite the amount of epidemiological data supporting this association, our understanding of the mechanisms involved in the link between obesity and cancer is limited. Towards addressing this knowledge gap, the overarching goals of our research program are to: 1) better understand the relationship between obesity and breast cancer incidence and aggressiveness, 2) determine the influence and mechanisms of the adipocyte-derived hormone leptin on breast cancer formation and progression and 3) determine the mechanisms of natural products and exercise in breast development and breast cancer prevention.  In our work, we exploit cell culture and animal models combined with emerging biochemical methods, informatics tools and advanced imaging technologies to define tumor architecture and identify novel biomarkers, proteomic, genomic and metabolomic signatures associated with tumor progression. These efforts can provide valuable insights into the mechanistic links between obesity, leptin and breast tumorigenesis that serve as a foundation for the development of novel breast cancer therapeutic strategies.


Ph.D., Wayne State University, 1996

Other Activities

Professional Organizations:
  • Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
  • Purdue SACNAS Chapter Advisor
  • AACR-Minorities in Cancer Research
  • Endocrine Society – Minority Affairs Committee
  • Purdue Center for Cancer Research
  • Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
  • Purdue SACNAS Chapter Advisor
  • AACR-Minorities in Cancer Research
  • Endocrine Society – Minority Affairs Committee
  • Purdue Center for Cancer Research
Selected Invited Lectures
  • Mechanisms of Leptin and Obesity in Breast Cancer. Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore Tamil Nadu, India, October 5, 2021.
  • Leptin Promotes Breast Cancer Progression by modulating Tumor Microenvironment. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, TX, September 9, 2021.
  • Advanced Proteomics to uncover mechanistic links between Obesity and Breast Cancer. International Conference on Naturopathy, Nanotechnology, Nutraceuticals, and Immunotherapy in Cancer Research, Virtual Conference., June 11, 2021.
  • Underlying Mechanisms of Obesity in Breast Cancer. Indo US SPARC Workshop, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. May 13, 2021.
  • Defining mechanisms of Lippia origanoides in triggering triple negative breast cancer cell death. Indo US SPARC Workshop, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. May 12, 2021.
  • Quantitative proteomics to gain insight into the molecular actions of Lippia origanoides in activating apoptosis in triple negative breast cancer cells. International Conference on Basic/Clinical Cancer Research, B.S. Abdur Rahman Crescent Institute Of Science & Technology. Chennai India, June 25, 2020.
  • Multiphoton imaging to determine the influence of diet and obesity on mammary tumorigenesis Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) National Conference, Tampa, Florida, October 26-29, 2006.
Other Activities
  • Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans National Conference, Virtual, October 25-29, 2021.
  • Annual Endocrine Society Conference, San Diego, California, June 3-6, 2006. 4 poster presentations. One abstract selected for Endocrine Society Conference Research Summaries Book-A listing of 100 newsworthy abstracts. Graduate student C. Perera Awarded Purdue Women in Science Travel Grant to Present Poster. FASEB/MARC Travel Awards provided support for graduate student C. Rehrer and I. Camarillo to present work. I. Camarillo served as Faculty

Lakshya Mittal, Ranjani S., Shariq Ahmed M., Jeya Shree T., Tahira Akther, Poompavai S., Ignacio G. Camarillo, GowriSree V., Raji Sundararajan & Hemalatha S. (2021) Turmeric-silver-nanoparticles for effective treatment of breast cancer and to break CTX-M-15 mediated antibiotic resistance in Escherichia coli , Inorganic and Nano-Metal Chemistry , 51:6, 867-874, DOI:10.1080/24701556.2020.1812644

Sundararajan, R.; Mittal, L.; Camarillo, I.G. Electrochemotherapy Modulates Mammary Tumor Growth in Rats on a Western Diet Supplemented with Curcumin. Biomedicines 2020, 8, 498.

Mittal L, Camarillo IG, Varadarajan GS, Srinivasan H, Aryal UK, Sundararajan R.  High-throughput, Label-Free Quantitative Proteomic Studies of the Anticancer Effects of Electrical Pulses with Turmeric Silver Nanoparticles: an in vitro Model Study. Sci Rep. 2020 Apr 29;10(1):7258

Tenvooren I, Jenks MZ, Rashid H, Cook KL, Muhlemann JK, Sistrunk C, Holmes J, Wang K, Bonin K, Hodges K, Lo HW, Shaikh A, Camarillo IG, Lelièvre SA, Seewaldt V, Vidi PA.2019.  Elevated leptin disrupts epithelial polarity and promotes premalignant alterations in the mammary gland. Oncogene. May;38(20):3855-3870.

Raman V, Aryal UK, Hedrick V, Ferreira RM, Fuentes Lorenzo JL, Stashenko EE, Levy M, Levy MM, Camarillo IG. Proteomic Analysis Reveals That an Extract of the Plant Lippia origanoides Suppresses Mitochondrial Metabolism in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cells.  J Proteome Res. 2018 Sep 18. doi: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.8b00255.

Mittal L, Raman V, Camarillo IG, Sundararajan R. Ultra-microsecond pulsed curcumin for effective treatment of triple negative breast cancers. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2017 Sep 30;491(4):1015-1020.

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