OmpV- A step towards vaccination against salmonellosis

First author interview: Dr. Deepinder Kaur was born and brought up in Patiala, Punjab. She did her bachelor’s in biotechnology from Khalsa College, Patiala, followed by masters in biotechnology from Thapar University, Patiala. She has completed her Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Arunika Mukhopadhaya, an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, IISER Mohali. The title of her Ph.D. thesis is “Understanding the role of OmpV, an outer membrane protein of Salmonella Typhimurium towards bacterial pathogenesis and host immune activation.” Here she talks about her work “Salmonella Typhimurium adhesin OmpV activates host immunity to confer protection against systemic and gastrointestinal infection in mice” recently published in Infection and Immunity.

Building a subcellular clamp on the plasma membrane

Dr. Tushna Kapoor’s interview with Bio Patrika hosting “Vigyaan Patrika,” a series of author interviews. Tushna did her bachelor’s in Biochemistry, from Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi. Subsequently, she joined the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), in Mumbai, where she worked in the laboratory of Prof. Krishanu Ray, as an integrated Ph.D. student. Tushna’s doctoral work involves deciphering the role of the cell membrane, cytoskeleton, and cell adhesion remodeling during spermatid maturation in Drosophila. Her recent paper shows that the somatic cell plasma membrane folded around maturing spermatid heads can recruit a repertoire of proteins that assemble a membrane-cytoskeleton substructure, which clamps together the spermatid heads, and also prevents them from piercing through the somatic cell membrane. This work highlights novel roles of membrane-actin interactions, in an in vivo tissue system. Tushna is currently working at the Institute of Science and Technology (IST), Austria. Here, Tushna talks about her work ‘An actomyosin clamp assembled by the Amphiphysin-Rho1-Dia/DAAM-Rok pathway reinforces somatic cell membrane folded around spermatid heads’ published in Cell Reports

Malarial Parasites Overcome Unusual ‘hurdles’ to Synthesize Proteins

Chhaminder Kaur’s interview with Bio Patrika hosting “Vigyaan Patrika,” a series of author interviews. Chhaminder is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. She has been intrigued with biology since her school days, which led her to pursue Bachelors in Biotechnology from Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology at Delhi. Having gained subject expertise in Biotechnology, she worked as a Patent Analyst in The Smart Cube in India where she helped the clients with knowledge about prior art and the latest developments in Biotechnology. To gain a deeper understanding of the field, she joined Molecular Parasitology Lab at IIT Bombay where her research interests revolve around studying the regulation of protein synthesis in the malarial parasite, Plasmodium falciparum and another apicomplexan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii. Chhaminder has published two peer-reviewed publications papers among which one of the publications has been recognized as the “Paper of the Month” July 2020 issue of the journal Parasitology. She has presented her work in both National as well as international conferences. Here, Chhaminder talks about her work on ‘Messenger RNAs with large numbers of upstream open reading frames are translated via leaky scanning and reinitiation in the asexual stages of Plasmodium falciparum’ published in Parasitology.

Molecular traffic and behaviour of biomolecules

Akshi Deshwal’s interview with Bio Patrika hosting “Vigyaan Patrika,” a series of author interviews. Akshi is currently pursuing Ph.D at IISER Mohali in the bio-organic field under the supervision of Dr. Subhabrata Maiti. She studies biomolecules such as liposomes and enzymes and their behavior in macromolecularly crowded media or in compartmentalized system. She finds environment sustainability applications very fascinating and plans on pursuing it further in her career.

CLASP (Continuous lifestyle awareness through sweat platform) – An on-demand sensor for lactate monitoring in sedentary populations

Ashlesha Bhide’s interview with Bio Patrika hosting “Vigyaan Patrika,” a series of author interviews. Ashlesha is currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of Bioengineering at The University of Texas at Dallas. She completed her Bachelors in Instrumentation Technology from M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology in Bengaluru, India, and further obtained her Master of Science degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada in 2014. Subsequently, she worked as a research assistant at the Centre for Nano Science and Engineering (CeNSE), Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru, India till 2016 before joining Dr. Shalini Prasad’s lab at UT Dallas. Her research interests are focused on developing wearable platforms for lifestyle management. Her current research is based on developing wearable sensors for non-invasive, continuous monitoring of lifestyle biomarkers in passively expressed sweat. She currently has 13 peer-reviewed publications and has received fellowships and awards for her Ph.D. research. Recently, her latest research was featured on the back cover of RSC Analyst and has gained recognition in the sweat wearables space.

Prion-like p53 amyloids and their link to cancer pathogenesis

Dr. Ambuja Navalkar’s interview with Bio Patrika hosting “Vigyaan Patrika,” a series of author interviews. Dr. Ambuja is currently working as an Institute postdoctoral fellow at IIT Bombay. She has completed her doctoral studies under the guidance of Prof. Samir K. Maji in the department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. Previously, she has pursued her M.Sc degree in Biotechnology from the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Vadodara, Baroda, and her B.Sc degree in Biotechnology from Ruia College, University of Mumbai. She is interested in exploring the protein aggregation linked with cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Apart from research, she enjoys reading, good food, and solving puzzles. She wants to pursue scientific research focused on fundamental processes in cells which can answer disease-relevant questions. Here, Ambuja talks about her work on prion-like p53 amyloid formation and its link to cellular transformation leading to tumorigenesis published in the Journal of Cell Science.

Gut pathogens deploy anti-apoptotic pathway to maintain infectious foothold in their host

Gad Frankel. She obtained her M.Sc. degree from Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Tezpur University, Assam. She did her Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. Utpal Tatu, Department of Biochemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. During her Ph.D., she reported the misdiagnosis of a multidrug resistant fungal pathogen Candida auris. She did the first draft genome of the pathogen and also developed a PCR based diagnostic method to accurately identify it. Further she also worked extensively on heat shock proteins in fungal pathogens such as Candida albicans and Cryptococcus neoformans. She published her research findings in three articles: “Draft genome of a commonly misdiagnosed multidrug resistant pathogen Candida auris” in BMC genomics (2015), “Heat shock protein 90 localizes to the surface and augments virulence factors of Cryptococcus neoformans” in Plos Neglected Tropical Diseases (2017) and “Structural basis for species-selective targeting of Hsp90 in a pathogenic fungus” in Nature Communications (2019). Her recent work on a bacterial effector protein of enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli and related pathogens was published in Cellular Microbiology.

Plant cyclotides protect against β-amyloid toxicity in transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans

Neha Kalmankar’s interview with Bio Patrika hosting “Vigyaan Patrika”, a series of author interviews. Neha is a PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Radhika Venkatesan and Prof. R. Sowdhamini at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru. She completed her Bachelors in Engineering degree in Biotechnology at Sir. M. Visvesvaraya Institute of Technology, Bengaluru. Soon after completing herundergraduate degree, she joined Prof. P. Balaram’s lab at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) as a JRF, exploring the computational aspects of protein sequence, structure & function. Her PhD topic includes biochemical characterization, conformational analysis and therapeutic application of plant cyclic peptides – “cyclotides”. She has worked towards isolating and sequencing cyclotides from different tissues of Clitoria ternatea using chromatographic, mass-spectrometric and transcriptomic techniques. She has further investigated the therapeutic potential of cyclotides, specifically as agents against neurodegenerative disorders. When she is not working in the lab, she enjoys travelling, exploring different cultures, cuisines and languages. She also enjoys painting and exploring creative arts in her free time. Here, Neha talks about her work on “Disulfide-rich cyclic peptides from Clitoria ternatea protect against β‑amyloid toxicity and oxidative stress in transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans” published in Journal of Medicinal Chemistry (2021).

A Talk on Nanotheranostic System for Targeted Breast Cancer Therapy developed by IISER-K

Dr. Tapan Kumar Dash and Diptendu Patra’s joint interview with Bio Patrika hosting “Vigyan Patrika”, a series of author interviews. Tapan and Diptendu are joint-first authors on the recent research paper “Hetero-Trifunctional Malonate-Based Nanotheranostic System for Targeted Breast Cancer Therapy” published in ACS Appl Bio Mater. In this interview, they talk about this work done with Prof. Raja Shunmugam at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata.

Mechanobiology: Mechanical force-induced selective cancer cell killing

Dr. Ajay Tijore’s interview with Bio Patrika hosting “Vigyaan Patrika”, a series of author interviews. Dr. Tijore completed his doctoral studies in stem cell bioengineering field from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He is currently working as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the lab of Prof. Michael Sheetz at Mechanobiology Institute, National University of Singapore. His research focus lies in cancer mechanobiology area. Currently, he is investigating the effect of physiologically relevant mechanical forces on cancer cell growth using microfluidic and ultrasound devices. Interestingly, he found that mechanical stretching promotes cancer cell killing without damaging normal cells. To enable clinical mechanical therapy, Dr. Tijore, Prof. Sheetz and colleagues have developed a non-invasive ultrasound-based technology, in which ultrasound generated mechanical forces induce cancer cell killing. Based on the encouraging results, they have recently established the company Mechanobiologics, Inc to systematically develop the ultrasound technology for cancer treatment. Here, Dr. Tijore talks about his findings that has been recently published as a research article entitled “Selective killing of transformed cells by mechanical stretch” in the journal ‘Biomaterials’ in 2021.