Table of Contents

Welcome & News
Research Interests
Publications & Presentations
Research Team
Awards & Recognition
Funding Support

Siyaram Pandey, Ph.D.

Phone: (519) 253-3000 ext: 3701
FAX:(519) 973-7098

Chemistry and Biochemistry

University of Windsor Essex Hall
401 Sunset Avenue Windsor, Ontario Canada N9B 3P4

Quick Links

Both past and current members of Dr. Pandey's lab are pictured here at the lab Christmas party (December 2004).
Back row, L-R: Priya Sharda, Nicole Walsh, Mallika Somayajulu-Nitu, Erika Hellenbart, Olena Kiss, Chris Lopez, Dana, Dr. Jasra, Jafar Naderi.
Middle row, L-R: Carly Griffin, Amanda McLachlan, Natasha Kekre, Sarah McCarthy.
Seated, L-R: Jennifer Vergel de Dios, Dr. Siyaram Pandey.

Our Dandelion root extract paper picked by Washington Post write-up. Click here for the complete story.

Congratulations!!! Phill, Madona and Manika for NSERC USRA award

Dedication: The dandelion Root research project is named in memory of Mr Kevin Couvillon. "The kevin Couvillon Research Project on the anti-cancer effect of Dandelion Root Extract". Click here for details "Windsor parents donate to cancer research in son’s memory"

Congratulations!!! Michael J. Fox Foundation funds pre-clinical development of WS-CoQ10 for Parkinson's disease in dr. Pandey's lab. For details please click here.

Congratulations!!! Ms Parvati Dadwal wins the Golden Key International Award. For details please click here.

Congratulations!!! Professor Siyaram Pandey receives three year CIHR grant for $302,000 For details please click here.

Congratulations!!! Dr. Carly Griffin, for successful defence of her PhD thesis and joining as Postdoctoral fellow at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. Please click here to read the full story.

Congratulations!!! Ms Sudipa June Chatterjee successfully defended her Master's thesis.

The Washington Post
April 19, 2011 Dandelions: Eat your weeds
People who curse the dandelions dotting their manicured lawns this spring may not recognize a friend when they stomp on one.

A dandelion's tap root can penetrate and loosen hard-packed soil, pulling up nutrients from as deep as 15 feet, making essential minerals available to other lawn plants, including turf.

Brought to North America by European colonists, dent-de-lion (French for "lion's tooth," named for its fang-shaped leaf margins) has been harvested for use as food and medicine for thousands of years.

Less bitter if picked before the flowers appear, leaves are rich in iron, calcium, zinc, potassium and vitamins A, B complex, C and D. Used medicinally as an appetite stimulant and to support kidney function, leaves are a nutritive medicine, acting as a diuretic without depleting the body of potassium.

Torn apart and eaten raw in salads, the bittersweet yellow flowers contain antioxidants. They can also be fermented into dandelion wine.

Roots are boiled or sauteed for eating, or roasted to make a coffee substitute. Dandelion root may improve gastro- intestinal, liver and gallbladder function, but shouldn't be used with an irritable stomach or bowel.

Dandelion root may even help fight cancer. In a recent study on skin cancer cells grown in the laboratory, scientists from the University of Windsor in Canada demonstrated that an extract from the root causes malignant melanoma cells to die — without damaging healthy cells. Authors of the study suggest that the effect is produced not by a single chemical agent but by the combined effects of numerous compounds found in the root.

Making melanoma self-destruct

In vitro human melanoma cells suffered apoptosis, or programmed cell death, after exposure to dandelion root extract.

SOURCES: University of Maryland Medical Center; Steve Brill; Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association; "The Efficacy of Dandelion Root Extract in Inducing Apoptosis in Drug-Resistant Human Melanoma Cells," Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Feb 16, 2011
Windsor parents donate to cancer research in son’s memory

'In this way he’s still fighting cancer'

By Chris Thompson, The Windsor Star February 16, 2011

Description: Dave and Donna Couvillon speak after presenting the University of Windsor with a cheque for $20,000 on Tuesday, February 15, 2011. The couple recently lost their son Kevin Couvillon to cancer and the university will name a research lab after him.

Dave and Donna Couvillon speak after presenting the University of Windsor with a cheque for $20,000 on Tuesday, February 15, 2011. The couple recently lost their son Kevin Couvillon to cancer and the university will name a research lab after him.
Photograph by: TYLER BROWNBRIDGE, The Windsor Star

WINDSOR, Ont. -- Kevin Couvillon was an avid Windsor booster when he was alive, so it should surprise nobody that his parents are continuing his pro-Windsor legacy after his death.

David and Donna Couvillon donated $20,000 to University of Windsor cancer researcher Dr. Siyaram Pandey and his program Tuesday, on what would have been Kevin’s 27th birthday.

“I think he’d be smiling because this is exactly the local connection and because in this way (he’s) still fighting cancer,” said David Couvillon. “I think he’d be all in favour.”

Couvillon, a talented sound engineer and musician, died on Nov. 24, 2010, after battling leukemia and the secondary infections caused by the treatment.

Shortly before Kevin’s death, his parents read an article about Pandey’s biochemistry research into how certain natural compounds kill cancer cells. Pandey and his students have successfully tested a water-based formula developed from dandelion roots that has successfully killed cancer cells.

“The fact that Dr. Pandey’s research was with a non-toxic potential treatment, something that didn’t have all these side-effects, if Kevin had the benefit of something like that his body would have been free to just fight the cancer instead of fighting all the side-effects,” said Couvillon.

“We just felt it was a way to continue Kevin’s fight.”

The donation means that the project and laboratory where the research takes place will become known as The Kevin Couvillon Research Project on the Anti-Cancer Effects of Dandelion Root Extract.

At a ceremony Tuesday, Couvillon’s friend Jeremy Coulter said his friend was a creative genius who never let his cancer get him down.

“He accomplished more when he was sick than most would have done in the same time,” said Coulter.

Couvillon was diagnosed with leukemia on July 7, 2007 — what many felt was to be a lucky day because it was 7-7-07 — after feeling tired and having a swollen uvula.

Kevin was installing patio stones at his parents’ cottage with his cousin that summer when he told his father he felt extremely tired as a result of the physical labour.

“He was the healthiest kid and young adult,” said Couvillon. “He had perfect attendance at high school and just was never sick.”

Blood tests revealed his cells were 90 per cent cancerous and a bone-marrow transplant was necessary.

“Then the whole world stopped,” said Couvillon.

Kevin endured chemotherapy and a number of infections but kept bouncing back.

“We always knew that there was a danger that Kevin would lose his life but during the time that Kevin was struggling and fighting we never thought that he would lose the fight, and neither did he,” said Couvillon.

That research is being done here in Windsor that could help someone else with leukemia made the donation a perfect fit.

“The fact that this was local research also made it just fit because that was his persona; you’ve got to stay local,” said Couvillon.

Copyright (c) The Windsor Star

Read more:

Michael J. Fox Foundation f funds Windsor research

By Brian Cross, The Windsor Star February 17, 2011

Description: Professors Siyaram Pandey and Jerome Cohen examine brain tissue samples in the laboratory in Essex Hall at the University of Windsor on Feb. 17, 2011.  The Michael J. Fox Foundation approved $476,000 for pre-clinical trial research on a formula that has already been shown by University of Windsor researchers to effectively stop the progression of Parkinson’s disease in rats.

Professors Siyaram Pandey and Jerome Cohen examine brain tissue samples in the laboratory in Essex Hall at the University of Windsor on Feb. 17, 2011. The Michael J. Fox Foundation approved $476,000 for pre-clinical trial research on a formula that has already been shown by University of Windsor researchers to effectively stop the progression of Parkinson’s disease in rats.
Photograph by: JASON KRYK, The Windsor Star

WINDSOR, Ont. -- Joseph Szecsei, 81, is a tool and die entrepreneur who still goes into his shop, Titan Tool & Die, each day.

“He works with his hands and he works with his mind,” though Parkinson’s disease means what used to take him an hour can now take two weeks, his daughter Darlene Szecsei-Albano says.

On Thursday, Szecsei-Albano said her father and mother Magdalena were “thrilled, just thrilled” with the news that the Michael J. Fox Foundation had approved $476,000 for pre-clinical trial research on a formula that has already been shown by University of Windsor researchers to effectively stop the progression of Parkinson’s disease in rats.

Two years earlier, Szecsei had given $50,000 so the Windsor researchers could buy a stereologer microscope system, a machine that accurately counts the dopamine neurons in the brain that are killed by Parkinson’s.

In the lab, the formula they were testing, called water-soluble CoQ10, halted the progression of the disease. The data collected, thanks to the stereologer system, helped convince the Michael J. Fox Foundation to fund this next phase of research.

Szecsei-Albano said her father has loved getting updates on the research. “It just touched him emotionally because it’s affected him and (the research) was here locally,” she said. “He wanted to do what he could to promote this research.”

Though it will be overseen by a New Jersey pharmaceutical company, Zymes LLC, which owns the rights to the formula, the U of W and Dr. Marianna Sikorska of the Ottawa-based National Research Council will be doing the actual research. If fruitful, it will lead to clinical trials by the end of 2012 and hopefully a treatment for Parkinson’s, a neurodegenerative disease which has no cure.

“It’s a huge part, it’s very important,” Zymes’ vice-president of research, Dr. Shelley Weinstock, said of the U of W’s role.

The early work at the U of W showed “very, very dramatic results” on animals, she said. “So we have great hope we could see the same kinds of results in people.”

The U of W work is a collaboration of biochemistry professor Siyaram Pandey, behavioural psychology professor Jerome Cohen and their students. They took the new formulation created by Sikorska in Ottawa and tested it on rats that were then exposed to a particular herbicide that gave them a condition modelled on Parkinson’s.

In Cohen’s lab, he observed how the CoQ10 had a prophylactic effect, protecting rats from developing Parkinson’s-like symptoms. The results were so profound, said Cohen, that Pandey hurried to take the next step in his lab — looking at the brain tissue from Parkinson’s rats once they were treated with CoQ10 and counting the dopamine neurons. The results were the tipping point, said Cohen, 68, who has become so involved in this research he’s putting off retirement. “It is very exciting, it’s very interesting, something where we can do some good.”

Pandey said if the testing goes as planned, the company could go to clinical trials — the last step before a drug is approved — within a few years.

Joseph Szecsei has had Parkinson’s for almost 16 years, and now needs a walker, his daughter said. She hopes that, perhaps five years from now, her father will benefit from the research he helped fund.

“He plans to live to 100, so he would be thrilled to be the first one to take it.”

Copyright (c) The Windsor Star

Read more:

Grant opens research doors for neuroscience student

Published on: Mar 02, 2011
Last Modified: Wed, 03/02/2011 - 8:52pm

A $1,000 research grant from the Golden Key International Honour Society will give her the opportunity to connect with other researchers looking for treatments for Parkinson's disease, says a UWindsor undergraduate.

Parvati Dadwal, a fourth-year student of behaviour, cognition and neuroscience, learned last week she was selected for the award. She discussed her work in biochemistry professor Siyaram Pandey's lab in an oral presentation, Inhibiting paraquat-induced neuronal cell death in rats as a model for Parkinson's disease, at last month's student research conference.

"I'm only 21 and even though I'm so young, I can work with researchers and leave a mark in the field," she says. "In recent years, our project has taken off due to Dr. Pandey's belief in his students."

She also sends "a shout-out of thanks" to support from the local community, in particular tool and die maker Joseph Szcesei, who made a $50,000 donation to the lab which Dadwal says acted as a stepping stone for the project.

Her undergraduate experience has prompted Dadwal to pursue a career in neuroscience.

"I love my program here. All the courses are designed so that you interact with the professors every day," she says. "I've learned all these specialized techniques to apply to a disease that affecting people."

For his part, Pandey says he is proud of Dadwal's accomplishments.

"She is well-trained for graduate studies," he says. "I have no hesitation recommending her for graduate studies anyplace."

Description: Parvati Dadwal

Parvati Dadwal studies a slide of brain cells in a biochemistry laboratory dedicated to fighting Parkinson's disease, a neurodegenerative disorder.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Professor Siyaram Pandey receives three year CIHR grant for $302,000


Congratulations to Professor Siyaram Pandey, who as received a research grant of $302,000 over three years (2011-2014) for a research project entitled "Investigation of mechanism of neuroprotection by a water-soluble CoQ10 in a paraquat induced model of Parkinson's disease," in collaboration with Dr. Jerome Cohen (Psychology). This project application was ranked in the top three in this grant review committee.

For more information on Dr. Pandey's research, please visit:

Last updated: February 1, 2011 5:26 pm
Windsor student discovers promising cancer treatment option

Meghan Scanlan — The Lance (University of Windsor)

Description: Griffin. (Photo by The Lance)


WINDSOR, Ont. (CUP) — After her father was diagnosed with colon cancer, Carly Griffin made it her life’s ambition to find a cure for cancer.

After the devastating loss of her father and several years of research, she may have reached her goal.

“Ultimately, that fuelled my decision to study biochemistry at the University of Windsor,” said Griffin.

In her third year at the University of Windsor, she actively pursued her goal of finding a cure by inquiring about a position in Siyaram Pandey’s research lab. It is in this lab that Griffin would work on the substance of her PhD, now proven to be a promising advance in cancer research.

The key to Griffin’s success is found in the rare Hawaiian spider lily plant. The plant and its cancer-killing compounds according to Griffin “have been studied by organic chemists for decades.”

Pandey became interested after attending a weekly seminar hosted by the chemistry department. Interested in testing the plant’s anti-cancer activity, Pandey handed the task off to two volunteer undergraduate students.

According to Griffin, two very exciting things happened for Pandey, his volunteers and for the world of cancer research.

The volunteer research students found that pancratistatin, a compound found in the Hawaiian spider lily plant, was very potent against cancer cells. They also found that there was currently no other research group actively studying pancratistatin.

In 2004, Griffin joined the research group and says she has “spent the last six years trying to figure out how pancratistatin works against cancer.”

Griffin explains that pancratistatin is a natural compound found in the bulb of the Hawaiian spider lily plant that is extracted to be utilized as an anti-cancer agent. The compound targets the cancer cells main power source, its mitochondria. If the mitochondria of a given cell are jeopardized then the cell ceases to exist and the Hawaiian spider lily’s pancratistatin irreparably damages the cancer cell.

Perhaps that the most exciting and interesting part of the pancratistatin compound, says Griffin, is that it is not harmful to non-cancerous cells, which makes the compound an ideal candidate for a cure for cancer.

The compound to date has been successfully tested on animal models of the human colon. Thanks to Windsor Regional Cancer Research Center oncologist Dr. Caroline Hamm, patient-obtained leukemia samples were also used in the research.

Before either of these compounds can be used, Griffin explains that the drug needs to be tested as an active agent inside the human body and pharmaceutical investors must provide funding for clinical testing.

The research team has found that the compound’s activity against colon cancer is very exciting, it is also successful in the termination of many other cancer cells such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, brain cancer, leukemia, melanoma and osteosarcoma.

The research surrounding pancratistatin has come a long way in her six years of research says Griffin. She added that the latest breakthrough in her research is the use of synthetic compounds, similar to the natural pancratistatin, which is easier to mass-produce than its precursor.

Now that Griffin has defended her PhD she plans to continue her cancer research in Toronto and hopes to be able to contribute to pancratistatin research however she can.

“The loss of my father to this horrible disease has been and will continue to be my main source of motivation,” Griffin said. “My hope is that my children will not immediately think of loss when hearing the word cancer.”

Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Anti-cancer work earns national scholarship for biochemistry student

Dennis Ma's fourth-year research project was going so well, he decided to continue it through graduate study.

Now his work on synthetic forms of a natural compound that appears to have cancer-fighting properties has earned him a $17,500 Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

"It was nice to get recognized at a national level," says Ma, who graduated in fall 2009 with his bachelor's degree in biology and began his master's work in January. "The money will allow me to continue my research an make further progress."

Ma tested several synthetic derivatives of pancratistatin, a compound which occurs naturally in a spider lily native to Hawaii.

"Pancratistatin induces death in cancer cells but not in normal healthy cells," he says. "But the yield from its natural source is very low so there is not enough available for pre-clinical and clinical work."

Testing samples of the synthetics created by a lab at Brock University, Ma found one that replicates the natural compound's effects. His advisor, biochemistry professor Siyaram Pandey, says it is a breakthrough.

"We are onto something," Dr. Pandey said. "Now we have a synthetic compound in hand and can produce as much as we want."

Ma's contribution earned him co-credit on
a paper published in the Journal of Organic Chemistry. Two additional papers are being readied for publication soon.

"Having already published really helped my application for the CIHR scholarship," says Ma.

According to CIHR, its Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarships - Master's Awards provide special recognition and support to students who are pursuing a master's degree in a health-related field in Canada. Candidates are expected to have an exceptionally high potential for future research achievement and productivity.

Description: 0
Canada Graduate Scholarship recipient Dennis Ma, a master's student in biochemistry, looks over some test samples in an Essex



Welcome to the Apoptosis Research Lab at the University of Windsor which is comprised of a group of committed researchers. This research program is focused on the role of mitochondria and oxidative stress in programmed cell death.
The main thrust of this program is to understand the biochemical mechanisms of apoptosis and this knowledge can be applied to either inhibit or activate apoptosis in different human diseases. Excessive cell death plays a causal role in the development of several neurodegenerative diseases.
The main focus of this program is to understand the biochemical mechanisms of apoptosis. This knowledge can then be applied to either inhibit or activate apoptosis in different human diseases. Excessive cell death plays a causal role in the development of several neurodegenerative diseases.
On the other hand, failure of apoptosis in cells containing damaged DNA leads to carcinogenesis. Mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress seem to be involved in most of these diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, as well as stroke and epilepsy. Mitochondrial membrane permeabilization is central to the cell suicide program and is the point-of-no-return in the apoptotic pathway. Furthermore, better understanding of this process could lead to the development of improved neuroprotective therapies.

We have been using different cellular and animal models of cancer and Parkinson’s disease in order to investigate biochemical mechanisms of cell death and therapeutic interventions. We have been investigating the potential of natural products and compounds as safe non toxic anticancer therapeutics. We have established successful collaborations with oncologist Dr. Caroline Hamm at the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre, organic chemists Dr. James McNulty at McMaster University and Dr. Thomas Hudlicky at Brock University.

Our group is known for their discovery of the novel natural anti-cancer compound Pancratistatin, neuro-protective anti-Bax intrabodies, anti-Bax compounds and water-soluble CoQ10. Our successful collaboration with Dr. Marianna Sikorska and Dr. Jamshid Tanha at NRC, and Dr. Jerome Cohen at the Department of Psychology (University of Windsor) and Zymes LLC (a pharmaceutical company in New Jersey, USA) have established a unique research group with expertise in behavioural, biochemical, and histological assessment of neuroprotective agents. We have already established that water-soluble CoQ10 can halt the progression of Parkinson's disease in a rat model.

Finally we would like to gratefully acknowledge financial support provided by various local, provincial and national groups, foundations and councils.

Many of our research projects would not have started without the generous financial support provided by our local organizations including the Toldo Foundation Windsor, Knight of Columbus Local Chapter 9671 and a generous donation of $50,000 from Mr Joseph Szcesei from Windsor.

We greatly appreciate funding from the University of Windsor, Natural Science and Engineering Research Council, Lotte and John Hecht Memorial Foundation Vancouver, Canadian Institute for Health Research, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, Canadian Foundation for Innovation and Ontario Innovation Trust for different research projects.

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Comments about our web pages? Send e-mail to: Web Administrator, University of Windsor. Last modified on 21/04/2011 by CN=Joe Lichaa/O=University of Windsor. Copyright 2011, University of Windsor. Although care has been taken in preparing the information in this site the University of Windsor cannot guarantee its accuracy.