Abhinav Achreja


Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Biomedical Engineering (2016-2023)

Bldg 28, NCRC



Previous Institutions: Indian Institute of Technology Madras (B.Tech Chemical Engineering); Rice University (Ph.D. Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering)

Hobbies: Outside of his scientific endeavors and experiments, Abhinav likes to experiment with new cuisines in his own kitchen. He also likes to go on hikes with his family, experience emotional rollercoasters while watching Borussia Dortmund play (soccer), and build Lego.

Current Position: Eli Lilly

Research Interests

Abhinav graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from IIT Madras, India with the goal of applying his engineering, mathematical and analytical skills to the field of biomedical research. He then joined Deepak Nagrath's lab in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering department at Rice University in Houston, TX as Dr. Nagrath's first graduate student focused on computational biology. His thesis was focused on developing novel metabolic stable-isotope tracer-based flux analysis techniques that were specific to complex cancer systems, in order to study the metabolic cross-talk within the tumor microenvironment (TME). He developed the first flux analysis technique to quantify metabolites transported via exosomes within the TME. He has also been developing a phenotype-driven flux analysis technique to help improve quantification of metabolic activity in biological systems being investigated with the help biochemical assays and stable-isotope tracers.

While working on these projects, Abhinav developed a special interest in empirical metabolomics techniques, bioinformatics and precision health research. Apart from scripting flux analysis algorithms in the lab, Abhinav spends his time training high school, masters, undergraduate and graduate students in bioinformatics tools, and developing new protocols for system-specific metabolomics analysis.

Featured research articles:

  1. Ziwen Zhu, Abhinav Achreja, Noah Meurs, Olamide Animasahun, Sarah Owen, Anjali Mittal, Pooja Parikh, Ting-Wen Lo, Janusz Franco-Barraza, Jiaqi Shi, Valerie Gunchick, Mara H. Sherman, Edna Cukierman, Andrew M. Pickering, Anirban Maitra, Vaibhav Sahai, Meredith A. Morgan, Sunitha Nagrath, Theodore S. Lawrence & Deepak Nagrath. (2020). Tumour-reprogrammed stromal BCAT1 fuels branched-chain ketoacid dependency in stromal-rich PDAC tumours. Nature Metabolism. 2, p775–792.
  2. Richa Bajpai*, Aditi Sharma*, Abhinav Achreja, Claudia L. Edgar, Changyong Wei, Arusha A. Siddiqa, Vikas A. Gupta, Shannon M. Matulis, Samuel K. McBrayer, Anjali Mittal, Manali Rupji, Benjamin G. Barwick, Sagar Lonial, Ajay K. Nooka, Lawrence H. Boise, Deepak Nagrath & Mala Shanmugam. Electron transport chain activity is a predictor and target for venetoclax sensitivity in multiple myeloma. Nature Communications 11, 1228 (2020). 
  3. Achreja A., Meurs N., Nagrath D. (2020) Quantifying Metabolic Transfer Mediated by Extracellular Vesicles Using Exo-MFA: An Integrated Empirical and Computational Platform. In: Metabolic Flux Analysis in Eukaryotic Cells. Methods in Molecular Biology, vol 2088. Humana, New York, NY.
  4. Abhinav Achreja*, Hongyun Zhao*, Lifeng Yang, Tae Hyun Yun, Juan Marini, Deepak Nagrath, Exo-MFA – A 13C metabolic flux analysis framework to dissect tumor microenvironment-secreted exosome contributions towards cancer cell metabolism, Metabolic Engineering 43, Part B (2017). 
  5. Yang L, Achreja A, Yeung TL, Mangala LS, Jiang D, Han C, Baddour J, Marini JC, Ni J, Nakahara R, Wahlig S, Chiba L, Kim SH, Morse J, Pradeep S, Nagaraja AS, Haemmerle M, Kyunghee N, Derichsweiler M, Plackemeier T, Mercado-Uribe I, Lopez-Berestein G, Moss T, Ram PT, Liu J, Lu X, Mok SC, Sood AK, Nagrath D. (2016). Targeting Stromal Glutamine Synthetase in Tumors Disrupts Tumor Microenvironment-Regulated Cancer Cell Growth. Cell Metabolism. 2016 Nov 8;24(5):685-700. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2016.10.011.
  6. Hongyun Zhao*, Abhinav Achreja*, Elisabetta Iessi, Mariantonia Logozzi, Davide Mizzoni, Rossella Di Raimo, Deepak Nagrath, Stefano Fais. The key role of extracellular vesicles in the metastatic process. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Reviews on Cancer 1869 (1), 2018.
  7. Bahar Salimian Rizi*, Abhinav Achreja*, Deepak Nagrath. Nitric Oxide - The Forgotten Child Of Tumor Metabolism. Trends in Cancer 3 (9), 2017
  8. Zhao, H., Yang, L., Baddour, J., Achreja, A., Bernard, V., Moss, T., Marini, J., Tudawe, T., Seviour, E.G., San Lucas, F.A., Alvarez, H., Gupta, S., Maiti, S.N., Cooper, L., Peehl, D., Ram, P.T., Maitra, A., Nagrath, D. (2016). Tumor microenvironment derived exosomes pleiotropically modulate cancer cell metabolism. Elife 5. eLife PubMed