University of Wisconsin–Madison

Uma Wesley


Research Professor
Distinguished Scientist

Research Focus:

Molecular mechanisms of brain repair, brain tumors/stem cell differentiation, survival, migration, and angiogenesis.

Research Description:

The major goal of our research is to identify the therapeutic targets, and to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of post-stroke brain repair, tumor and stem cell survival, migration, and angiogenesis. We are particularly interested in the role of cell surface proteases and cytokines in regulating these physiological events that drive the post-stroke brain repair, and development and progression of cancers including glioblastoma/brain tumor. The soluble growth factors, cytokines, and extracellular matrix components (ECM) in the microenvironment contribute significantly to the stem cell dynamics, development of neuronal tumors, and brain injury repair following stroke. As a part of collaborative efforts with Dr. Dempsey our studies are expected to bridge tumor cell studies to stem cell regulated repair of cerebro-vascular diseases, particularly ischemic stroke. Projects include (1) Understanding the biochemical and molecular mechanisms of protease and chemokine regulated cellular functions; (2) Regulation of cytokine/chemokine signaling pathways during tumor development and brain injury repair; (3) Identifying and targeting molecules involved in progression of atherosclerotic plaques associated with ischemic stroke. Our research utilizes interdisciplinary approaches that include in vitro cell culture, and in vivo rodent models; Biochemical, cellular and molecular biology approaches, immune-fluorescence microscopy, protein analysis/proteomics/protein array screening.


Dr. Wesley has successfully obtained research/grant funding as a principal investigator from National Institute of Health (NIH), American Heart Association (AHA), and Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation (WWHF), and UW-Carbone Cancer Center.



Ph.D. State University of New York, Stony Broke, New York

Post-doctoral fellow – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY

Selected Publications:

Umadevi V Wesley*  Ian Sutton Paul A. Clark, Katelin Cunningham, Carolina Larrain, John S.  Kuo, and  Robert J. Dempsey 2022. Enhanced expression of Pentraxin-3 in glioblastoma cells correlates with increased invasion and IL8-VEGF signaling axis. Brain Research: Volume 1776, 1 February 2022, 147752 147752

Umadevi V Wesley*, Ian C Sutton, Katelin Cunningham, Jacob W Jaeger, Allan Q Phan, James F Hatcher, Robert J Dempsey. Galectin-3 protects against ischemic stroke by promoting neuro-angiogenesis via apoptosis inhibition and Akt/Caspase regulation. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2021 Apr; 41(4): 857–873. doi: 10.1177/ 0271678X20931137. PMCID: PMC7983501

Umadevi V. Wesley*, Vijesh J. Bhute, James F. Hatcher, Sean P. Palecek, and Robert J. Dempsey. Local and systemic metabolic alterations in brain, plasma, and liver of rats in response to aging and ischemic Stroke, as detected by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Neurochemistry International, 2019, Jan 30. pii: S0197-0186(18)30708-3. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2019.01.025. [Epub ahead of print]

Umadevi V.Wesley *, Hatcher JF, Ayvaci ER, Klemp A, Dempsey RJ. Regulation of Dipeptidyl Peptidase IV in the Post-stroke Rat Brain and In Vitro Ischemia: Implications for Chemokine-Mediated Neural Progenitor Cell Migration and Angiogenesis. Mol Neurobiol. 2017 Sep;54(7):4973-4985. PMID:27525674 NIHMSID: 823403

Umadevi V. Wesley*, Hatcher JF, Dempsey RJ. Sphingomyelin Synthase 1 Regulates Neuro-2a Cell Proliferation and Cell Cycle Progression Through Modulation of p27 Expression and Akt Signaling. Mol Neurobiol. Mol Neurobiol. 2015 Jun;51(3):1530-41. doi: 10.1007/s12035-014-8829-z. Epub 2014 Aug 2. PMCID: PMC4457447

Umadevi V. Wesley*, Vemuganti R, Ayvaci ER, Dempsey RJ. Galectin-3 enhances angiogenic and migratory potential of microglial cells via modulation of integrin linked kinase signaling. Brain Res. 2013 Feb 16;1496:1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2012.12.008. PMCID: PMC4084961

Tristram Arscott, Annette E. LaBauve, Victor May, and Umadevi V. Wesley* 2009. Suppression of neuroblastoma growth by dipeptidyl peptidase IV: Relevance of chemokine regulation and caspase activation. Oncogene, 29;28(4):479-91. PMCID: PMC2633428.

McGuinness C, Umadevi V. Wesley*. 2008. Dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPPIV), a candidate tumor suppressor gene in melanomas is silenced by promoter methylation. Front Biosci. 1;13:2435-43. PMCID: Policy Exempt. *Corresponding author

Uma Wesley