Varna Taranikanti, M.D., M.S., Ph.D.

Associate Professor in the Department of Foundational Medical Studies

Varna T.

Dr. Taranikanti joined Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine as an Associate Professor in the Department of Foundational Medical Studies in June 2018. She is the systems director for integrating anatomy with clinical sciences. She is also involved in teaching all disciplines of anatomy to M1/M2 students. 

She joined OUWB from Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), Muscat, where she was an Assistant Professor and Phase-II Director in an integrated outcome-based curriculum. Prior to that, she was an Assistant Professor at OMC Sohar and before that, worked as a senior resident and senior research associate at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. She is a trained, clinical anatomist with more than 16 years experience in teaching all branches of anatomy (gross, embryo, micro and neuro) to undergraduate and post-graduate medical students. She has imparted anatomical knowledge to residents during surgical ward rounds, supervised cadaveric dissections and conducted integrated workshops to bring clinical relevance to anatomy teaching.

She has a deep passion for medical education. She was an active member of the curriculum and examination committee at SQU, and with her experience in both clinical and basic sciences, she was involved in developing, delivering and implementing the integrated curriculum, where novel teaching strategies were adopted. She also designed skills sessions relevant to case presentations, adopted Team Based Learning (TBL), Flipped classrooms and simulation based learning into these sessions. As a member of the examination committee, she was involved in the application of proper assessment methods, standard setting procedures, item analysis and academic progress of students. She has developed teaching resources using plastination techniques, EM and is presently working on 3D printing in anatomy through imaging. 

Dr. Taranikanti received her MBBS (M.D.) from Andhra University India. She has a masters degree in surgery (clinical anatomy) and a Ph.D. in cell biology from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi where she pursued translational research in breast cancer. She received her UICC fellowship in 2002 from JWCI, Santa Monica, California, where she worked on the significance of biological markers in node negative breast cancer. She also is an ICRETT fellow and worked on lymphangiogenesis in breast cancer at Cardiff University United Kingdom. She is currently working on the role of GRP78 and endoplasmic stress response in breast cancer patients on adjuvant chemotherapy. Her scholarly achievements include AAA best research poster award, Dr. Mahdi Hassan Gold Medal for Clinical Anatomy, Certificate of Academic Excellence & Best Teacher award at SQU and AACR-Avon Foundation International Grant for presentation at the AACR and other internal university grants where she worked. She has been published in leading medical education journals and peer-reviewed journals in medicine.

Office: 444 O’Dowd Hall
Phone: 248-370-3886
Email: [email protected]


Gross anatomy, embryology, histology, surgical anatomy, neuroanatomy, clinical skills


Ph.D., Breast cancer research, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
M.S., Master of surgery (Anatomy Sciences), All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
MBBS (M.D.) Andrhra University, India


Medical Council of India (MCI), New Delhi, India

Research Interests:

Medical education: Curriculum design assessments, integration of anatomy through clinical skills and imaging, translational research, randomized trials