headshot photo of Dr. Rachita Sumbria

Dr. Rachita Sumbria

Associate Professor
School of Pharmacy
Office Location: Rinker Health Science Campus 94-297V
Phone: 714-516-5470
Institute of Chemical Technology, Bachelor of Technology
Texas Tech University, Ph.D.


Dr. Sumbria joined Chapman University School of Pharmacy as an Associate Professor in February of 2021. Dr. Sumbria received her PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) in 2010. At TTUHSC, her research centered on the development of intracerebral microdialysis as an experimental tool to study changes in the blood-brain barriers (BBB) permeability in ischemic stroke.

Dr. Sumbria completed her postdoctoral training at the Department of Medicine, blood-brain barrier laboratory at the University of California, Los Angeles and the Department of Neurology at the University of California, Irvine from 2011-2014. During her postdoctoral research at UCLA, Dr. Sumbria focused on the problem BBB bottleneck in CNS drug delivery. Particularly, her research focused on the use of receptor-mediated transcytosis for non-invasive delivery of biologics and other large molecular weight therapeutics across the BBB, and studying their pharmacologic effects in different experimental models of CNS disorders. At UCI, the focus of her research was studying the role of cerebral microbleeds in cerebrovascular diseases like stroke. In 2014, she joined the faculty at the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at the Keck Graduate Institute as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2019. During her academic career, Dr. Sumbria has been extensively involved in research that has been funded by federal and foundation grants, teaching and mentoring laboratory research personnel and graduate students. 

Teaching and Research Interests

BBB alterations and cerebral microbleeds development: Cerebral microbleeds are microscopic hemorrhages that are formed by blood product extravasation from the cerebral blood vessels into the brain parenchyma. Cerebral microbleeds increase with age and are prevalent with conditions like stroke, Alzheimer disease, cerebral amyloid angiopathy. The underlying mechanisms involved in the development of cerebral microbleeds are not clear. Dr. Sumbria’s research efforts are directed towards elucidating the mechanisms involved in erythrocyte extravasation across the brain endothelium.

CNS drug delivery: Due the extremely restrictive nature of the BBB, brain delivery of majority of drugs (about 98% of small molecules and 100% of large molecules do not cross the BBB) has been a big challenge. Dr. Sumbria’s research focuses on non-invasive drug delivery approaches for solving the brain drug delivery problem for CNS pathology. She is specifically interested in the delivery of biologics and other large molecular weight therapeutics into the brain and studying their potential as therapeutic agents, in experimental models of CNS disease. Currently, her lab focuses on the development of large molecular weight therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease.

Mechanisms of alcohol-dependent Alzheimer’s disease: Dr. Sumbria’s lab is also currently studying how chronic alcohol intake modulates the liver-to-brain axis to induce and/or promote Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology.

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications

Feinberg PA, Becker SC, Chung L, Ferrari L, Stellwagen D, Anaclet C, Durán-Laforet V, Faust TE, Sumbria RK, Schafer DP*. Elevated TNF-a leads to neural circuit instability in the absence of Interferon Regulatory Factor 8. J Neurosci. 2022 Jul 1:JN-RM-0601-22. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0601-22.2022.