Basic Science Faculty

Basic Science



Assistant Professor - Dr. Karron James Karron James, PhD – Associate Professor of Cell Biology, Associate Dean of Curriculum, and Acting Chair of Basic Sciences Chair of Admissions Committee

Dr. Karron James graduated from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada with a bachelor of science degree in 1999. There, she completed the honors program doing research to identify surface virulence factors of Listeria monocytogenes.



Professor and Department Chair - Dr. Hassan Amiralli Hassan Amiralli, MD, MS – Professor

Dr. Amiralli is Professor and Chair of the Department of Anatomy at American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine.

He obtained his MBBS at Government Medical College in Srinagar, India in 1975 and his MS in General Surgery in 1980 from JN Medical College, also in India. Dr. Amiralli’s distinguished career as a surgeon, researcher, and medical educator spans more than 30 years across three continents.

He has worked as consulting surgeon for the Red Crescent in Dubai; a professor and consulsting surgeon in the Department of Surgery at the University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania; a research associate in the Department of Emergency Medicine and the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Western Ontario in Canada; and a research consultant in the Department of General Surgery at Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences in Yazd, Iran.

Dr. Amiralli received his training in Breast Oncology in the Department of Surgery at McGill University’s Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, Canada. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals, is a lifetime member of the Association of Fellows of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), and Vice Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Austral-Asian Journal of Cancer. Dr. Amiralli also reviews journal articles. In 2017 he reviewed and suggested updates for the clinical content in the Clinical Blue Boxes of the textbook of anatomy: Clinically Oriented Anatomy 8th edition. He is a member of International Advisory Board of the Netter/Atlas of Human Anatomy 7th edition.

Professor and Chair - Dr. Balachandran Bharati Balachandran Bharati, MSc, PhD – Professor

Dr. Bharati received a Ph.D in medical microbiology from the Manipal University.

She started her career as lecturer in Microbiology at St. Aloysius College, Mangalore where she was entrusted with the task of planning and setting up the department of Microbiology for the B.Sc. degree course.

In 1992, she joined Kasturba Medical College as Lecturer and was teaching the undergraduate students of Medicine, Dental, Physiotherapy and the post graduate students of  microbiology. She was in charge of  the Molecular Diagnostic (PCR) section of  the Department where  she carried out PCR for the detection of M.tuberculosis and other infectious agents like leptospira, Herpes Simplex viruses from clinical samples. She was also actively involved in clinical diagnostic work at the microbiology college laboratory, Blood Bank, and the AIDS Surveillance Centre. She was actively involved in the design, planning and setting up of a state of the art clinical diagnostic and molecular diagnostic laboratory at Kasturba Medical College, Hospital, Mangalore and a research molecular laboratory at the Microbiology Department, Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore

She was awarded a Ph.D. degree on “Evaluation of Conventional and Molecular Methods in the Diagnosis of Bacterial Meningitis” under the guidance of Dr. Indrani Karunasagar.

Professor and Chair - Dr. Hani Morcos Hani Morcos, MD, PhD – Professor

Dr. Morcos received his MD in 1986 from Alexandria University School of Medicine in Egypt. He is ECFMG certified in 1996 and received PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology in 2005 from Florida A&M University. He held a position of Assistant Professor of Pharmacology at University of Miami, FL. Dr. Morcos is a licensed Physician in Antigua and carries wide experience in teaching and research from University of Miami, Florida A&M University and Florida State University. Dr. Morcos’s research paper on “the effects of simvastatin (Zocor) on the memory of Alzheimer’s disease” had made headlines in the Washington Post as well as several health news sites in the US and around the world.

Professor and Department Chair - Dr. Bolanthur Shivaraj Bolanthur Shivaraj, BSc, MSc, PhD – Professor

Dr. Shivaraj received his MSc and PhD at Kasturba Medical College (KMC) in Manipal, India, from the Universities of Mysore and Kerala respectively. He taught Medical Biochemistry to undergraduate and postgraduate medical/paramedical students at KMC for 32 years (from 1975-2007). In addition, Dr. Shivaraj was an active researcher and successfully mentored four PhD students. His research areas included natural enzyme inhibitors, protein-protein interaction, urinary lipid profiles, and halogenation of proteins. Dr. Shivaraj has published 11 papers on the international medical journals. He joined American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine as a full-time professor in January 2010.

Dr. Steve Glasser - Professor of Neurosciences
 Steve Glasser, PhD – Professor

Dr. Glasser received his B.A. in Psychology (1971), M.Sc. in Physiology (1977), and Ph.D. in Physiology (1978) from the University of Rochester.

In 1978, while writing his doctoral thesis, and in 1979, Dr. Glasser completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University in lower vertebrate visual system development, under the aegis of Dr. David Ingle.

His faculty appointments began as an Assistant Professor in Biology at Long Island University (1979-1982).

In 1983, Dr. Glasser served as the Director of Basic Sciences and Assistant Professor of Physiology at the University of St. Lucia School of Medicine.

In 1984, Dr. Glasser was recruited to St. Georges University School of Medicine as an Associate Professor of Neuroanatomy. Within a year, he had expanded his responsibility with a joint appointment in Physiology and was promoted to Associate Professor. In 1986, he was appointed Course Director and Chairman of the Department of Neuroscience. In 1989, he was appointed Associate Dean of the Pre-Clinical Faculty and Chair of the Curriculum Committee.

Dr. Glasser became an Associate Professor at the New York Chiropractic College in 1994, where he developed a Pharmacology course and was the lead instructor in Neuroanatomy, Control Systems Physiopathology, Visceral Physiopathology and Pharmacology.

In 1999, Dr. Glasser became an Associate Professor at Ross University School of Medicine teaching Neuroscience. Shortly, thereafter he was appointed Director for that course. He undertook the responsibility of Curriculum Coordinator in 2000 and in 2001 was promoted to full Professor of Physiology and Neuroscience.

Dr. Glasser served as a professor at American University of the Caribbean from September 2002 until February 2004. He taught Neuroscience, Behavioral Science, Pharmacology and Physiology, and served in the Student Academic Affairs, Admissions and Curriculum Committees.

In February, 2004 Dr. Glasser was appointed as the founding Dean at American University of Antigua (AUA). He has served as the Associate Dean of Academic Organization, Associate Dean of Faculty, Professor and Chair of Neuroscience. He also served on the following committees at AUA: Dean’s Council; Department Chairs; Admissions (Former Chair); Faculty Affairs (Former Chair) and Student Promotions.

Professor - Dr. Don Kastuk Don Kastuk, PhD – Professor

Don Kastuk is a Counselor and a Professor of Behavior Science and Neuroscience. He has extensive experience with Caribbean medical education, and he has been with AUACOM since its first year in 2004. He earned a PhD in psychology from York University, where his dissertation addressed recovery from brain injury. He also holds an MS degree in Hyperbaric Medicine, and an MA in psychology where his graduate work involved research regarding the effects of hormone levels on brain function. He is a certified and experienced professional scuba diving instructor, and he holds credentials and instructor qualifications in first aid and emergency care. Dr. Kastuk has won awards for his teaching and has been involved in research in hospital, university, clinic, and private-practice settings. He is especially interested in the connections between medicine and psychology.

 Professor - Dr. Sapalya Durgaprasad Sapalya Durgaprasad, MD –  Professor

Dr. Durgaprasad S obtained his MD degree from Manipal University in the year 2003. During his residency years he worked with dept. of Gastroenterology, KMC Hospital Manipal and performed a research study on the “Effects of Curcumin on Chronic Pancreatitis patients”. After obtaining his MD degree he joined the dept. of Pharmacology, KMC Manipal as Asst Professor. During this period he performed numerous clinical trials with Ranbaxy, one of India’s leading drug companies and with Acunova, a leading Clinical Research Organization of India. He also published five research articles in peer reviewed journals during this time. In 2009 he joined AUA as Associate Professor and has been teaching Cancer chemotherapy, Hematology, Central nervous system and Endocrine pharmacology to semester 3 and semester 4 students”.

Professor - Dr. Richard Millis Richard Millis, PhD – Professor

Dr. Millis authored or co-authored approximately 100 articles in peer-reviewed publications on various aspects of medical physiology and has co-edited four research reference books. Hismost recent research, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to identify genetic and physiological markers for obesity in African-American adolescents. Has has authored a government report funded by the U.S. Army’s Surgeon General on the effects of nicotine and nicotine withdrawal that was instrumental in creating the first federal government smoke-free workplace by the Department of Defense. He was chief scientist for the development of the federal government’s first centralized database on medical aspects of protection against chemical and biological warfare agents and compiled the curriculum used to train physicians and allied health personnel on chemical casualty care for the first Persian Gulf War.

He is the recipient of a 2006 Teaching with Technology Award based on his extensive use of computer simulations for educational enhancement in teaching physiology to students in medical, dental and allied health sciences programs. Such educational enhancement was used to teach various medical review courses such as a workshop in Advanced Cardiac Life Support and in raising student performance on the United States Medical Licensure Step 1 Examination. He was a principal developer of an integrated basic and clinical science medical curriculum employing a collaborative active-learning model that uses medical residents and clinical fellows for presenting computer simulations of clinical cases.

smriti agnihotri Smriti Agnihotri, MBBS – Professor

Dr. Smriti Agnihotri received her MD from Moti Lal Nehru Medical College, in Allahabad, India, in 2001, and her MBBS in 1995 from Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi Memorial Medical College, in Kanpur, India, in 1995. She also completed training in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education at the University of Mauritius in 2012. Dr. Smriti has been teaching pathology to medical graduates since 2002 including teaching at Manipal College of Medical Sciences in Nepal, and Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Medical College Medical College, in Mauritius. Dr. Smriti is a member of the Indian Medical Association, Indian Association of Pathologists and Microbiologists, and the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology. She has authored more than 25 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals over the course of her academic career, and has been teaching pathology at the American University of Antigua College of Medicine since July 2016.

Arun Agnihotri, MD – Professor
Emil Adamec, MD, PhD – Professor
Rajendran Palanisamy, MD, MBBS – Professor
Associate Professors


John Th’ng, PhD – Associate Professor


Dr. John Th’ng has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Western Ontario, London, Canada. His doctorate thesis was on DNA repair in mammalian cells. He did his post-doctoral training in the Department of Medical Biochemistry at the School of Medicine, University of California (Davis), California, USA. His research focus was on cell cycle regulation and chromosome structure in mammalian cells. Dr. Th’ng then became a Project Director and Assistant Professor at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, McGill University (Montreal, Canada). He later moved to the Thunder Bay Regional Cancer Centre (Thunder Bay, Canada). His research as a Scientist was focused on the chromosomes and the cell cycle in cancer cells. Dr. Th’ng was also an Associate Professor and taught at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (Thunder Bay, Canada). In addition to his academic experience, Dr. Th’ng had worked in the biotechnology industry. He established the DNA-based rapid detection of mold and bed bug contaminations in homes, produced agents for screening autoimmune diseases, and was a consultant to a forensic DNA company. Since June, 2013, Dr. Th’ng has been teaching Medical Cell Biology and Molecular Biology at the American University of Antigua School of Medicine.

Associate Professor Pharmacology - Dr. Pemminati Sudhakar Sudhakar Pemminati, PhD – Associate Professor 

Dr. Sudhakar Pemminati is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology. He earned his PhD in Medical Pharmacology at Kasturba Medical College (KMC), Manipal University, in India, where he studied the effects of APOC3, FABP2, and PPAR-gamma-2 gene polymorphisms on metabolic syndrome with type 2 diabetes mellitus in human subjects. Prior to earning his PhD, Dr. Sudhakar earned a MSc in Medical Pharmacology from Manipal University, a Pharm B from Andhra University, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Research (PDCR). Following his doctoral work, Dr. Sudhakar joined the Department of Pharmacology at KMC. He has been teaching Medical Pharmacology since 2000.

Dr. Sudhakar has extensive experience in the facilitation of Problem-Based and Team-Based Learning strategies in basic medical sciences. His expertise extends to individual interventions for the enhancement of critical thinking skills for medical problem-solving.

Dr. Sudhakar is a recipient of the Excellence in Scholarship Award for contributions to scientific literature, medicine, and education, awarded by the American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine. Dr. Sudhakar is also the recipient of a number of other awards and honors: most notably, the Dr. TMA Pai Gold Medal for his research on an herbal treatment for haloperidol-induced catalepsy and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome.

He is a regular presenter at international scientific meetings, and most recently presented at conferences in Singapore, Canada, Malaysia, and Thailand. Dr. Sudhakar has authored or co-authored more than 54 peer-reviewed research articles, most of which are indexed by the National Library of Medicine’s authoritative PubMed database. He is an editor, editorial board member, and reviewer for many biomedical science journals, and has been invited to serve as an external examiner on numerous doctoral dissertation committees at academic institutions worldwide. Dr. Sudhakar is presently conducting two research projects, which have been approved by AUA College of Medicine, Antigua.

Sujatha D'Costa, MSc., PhD – Associate Professor Sujatha D’Costa, MSc, PhD – Associate Professor

Dr. Sujatha D’Costa obtained her Ph.D degree in Anatomy from Manipal University, India, where she worked on the evaluation of role of argyrophilic cells in the causation of cervical preneoplasia and cervical cancer in Mangalore. Prior to her Ph.D degree, Dr. Sujatha obtained a M.Sc. in Anatomy from the same university. She has been teaching anatomy since 1999 at KMC Mangalore, Manipal University, India. Presently she is working as an Associate Professor in Anatomy since 2013

Maxim Crasta, MSc, PhD – Associate Professor
Vasavi Gorantla, MSc., PhD – Associate Professor

Vasavi Gorantla, MSc, PhD – Associate Professor

Dr. Gorantla obtained his Ph.D. degree in Neuroanatomy from Manipal University, India, where he worked on Temporal Lobe Epilepsy-Role of Exercise, Environmental enrichment and Pyramid – A Behavioral and Morphological study in rats. Prior to his Ph.D. degree Dr.Rakesh obtained a M.Sc. in Medical Anatomy from Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, India. He has been teaching for American University of Antigua College of Medicine since September 2013. His current research interests include Hippocampal neurogenesis, memory and learning.

Marcus Merrin, PhD – Associate Professor (Blackboard Administrator)

Current interests include genetic disorders of metabolism, population genetics, and evolutionary game theory.

Rajashekar B Rao Rajashekar B. Rao, MSc, PhD – Associate Professor

Dr. Rajashekar Barkur Rao received his MSc in Medical Biochemistry from Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore, and his PhD from Manipal University, India. Dr. Rao joined AUA as an Associate Professor in Biochemistry in January 2017. He has been teaching biochemistry to medical students for the past 17 years. Before joining AUA, Dr. Rao taught at Melaka-Manipal Medical College, Manipal University, India.

Dr. Rao has 11 scientific publications and nine conference presentations to his credit and is a reviewer for many indexed journals. He is also a PhD guide for Manipal University, India. Some of Dr. Rao’s work has focused on determining the effects of lead-induced oxidative stress on prenatal and postnatal brain development in rats.

Rangachari Brahmaiahchari Rangachari Brahmaiahchari, MBBS, MD – Associate Professor

Dr. Brahmaiahchari received his M.B.B.S from Fr. Mullers Medical College and MD from Kasturba Medical College, Manipal.

One and half year of teaching experience in general and systemic Pathology at Melaka Manipal Medical College, Manipal. Worked with Dr. Lakshmi Rao in dissertation ‘Prognostic implications of ISN/RPS classification in Lupus Nephritis- A 5 year study at Manipal.

Diagnostic experience of one and half year in the department of clinical laboratory and hematology, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal.

Interested in research of autoimmune diseases, hematological manifestations & biomarkers of systemic lupus erythematosus

Course director, mentor, internal examiner for phase II Malaysian students at Manipal.

Suneet Kumar, MBBS, MD, MBA – Associate Professor
Ashwin Krishnamurthy, MBBS, MD – Associate Professor
Assistant Professors


Assistant Professor - Dr. Vinay H. Shankar Vinay H. Shankar, MBBS, MD – Assistant Professor

Dr. Vinay H Shankar has an MBBS from Father Muller Medical College, Mangalore and an MD from Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, India.

Adekunle Omole

Adekunle Ebenezer Omole, MBChB, PGDE, MSc – Assistant Professor

Dr. Omole is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Basic Sciences, joining AUA College of Medicine in February 2018.

He obtained his MBChB degree at Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria in 2005 and his MSc in Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine in 2018 from University of Bristol, UK. Dr. Omole has worked as a medical intern, medical/casualty officer, and as an on-call physician at numerous hospitals and health service centers in Nigeria and the Caribbean. Since 2009, he has devoted his career to medical education and research, with teaching interests in Gross Anatomy, Developmental & Radiological Anatomy, Neuroscience, Clinical Skills, Pathophysiology and Clinical Pharmacology.

Dr. Omole began his career in medical education at St. George’s University School of Medicine (SGU) Grenada. As a Clinical Tutor in the Teaching and Research Fellowship Program, he earned a Postgraduate Diploma Certification in Teaching and Research.

Completing USMLE Step 1, 2CK, 2CS & 3 Examinations with ECFMG Board Certifications in 2011, Dr. Omole then served as an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Course Director of Gross Anatomy, Developmental & Radiological Anatomy and Clinical Skills at Atlantic University School of Medicine, St. Lucia and Antigua.

Dr. Omole is a member of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), recently authored several peer-reviewed journals, and plans to continue to be involved in cutting-edge Stem Cell research.

Indira Shastry, MBBS, MD – Assistant Professor
Sebastian Roopa, PhD – Assistant Professor
Joshua Allwyn, PhD, BPT, MSc – Assistant Professor
Adekunle Omole, MD, FACOG – Assistant Professor


shymala ganesan Shyamala Ganesan, MBBS – Instructor

Obtained her Msc. degree in Anatomy  from Manipal University where she was trained to teach Anatomy for medical and paramedical students.  She taught embryology, radiology, and osteology  at a medical school in South India (Pondicherry) from 2009 to 2011 to MBBS, MD, and nursing students.  She treated patients with exercise in orthopaedic (Rheumatoid arthritis, oesteo arthritis, cervical & lumbar spondylosis, interverbral disc prolapse), neurology (Hemiplegia, paraplegia), Parkinson’s & cerebral palsy, and post traumatic stress. She obtained a Pg diploma  degree in yoga in Annamalai University. She is pursuing  an Msc. degree in clinical psychology counseling from Annamalai University.

Sherese Joseph, MD – Instructor
 Ayoola Awosika Ayoola Awosika, MD – Instructor

Dr. Ayoola Awosika started his career as a Physiologist at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Nigeria where he earned his bachelor’s degree. He proceeded to earn his MD from All Saints University College of Medicine in Saint Vincent, where he was recognized as amongst the best graduating students in Basic Medical Sciences. Dr. Awosika also has an MBA, and is currently completing a master’s degree in Clinical Pharmacology at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. His research has included studying the effects of cola nitida on blood pressure.

Licensed by the Medical and Dental council of Nigeria to practice as a physician, Dr. Awosika is ECFMG certified, and worked as an ER physician until leaving to pursue a career in academia. His professional memberships include the Canadian Society of Internal Medicine, Physiological Society of London, and European Thyroid Association.

Prior to joining AUA College of Medicine, Dr. Awosika taught medical students at various medical schools in Physiology & Neurosciences, Pathology, Microbiology and USMLE Board review. He is highly knowledgeable in innovative teaching methods, and passionate about helping students achieve their full academic and professional goals.