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Dr. V. Arun Nagaraj

Scientist-D

Academic Qualifications

Ph.D. (2009) – Dept. of Biochemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

M.Sc. Medical Biochemistry (2003) – JIPMER, Pondicherry University.

B.Sc. Biochemistry (2000) – Sri Sankara Arts and Science College, Madras University.

Professional Experience

Scientist-D (Nov 2015 Onwards) – Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneswar, India.

Ramanujan Fellow (Nov 2010 – Oct 2015) – Centre for Infectious Disease Research & Department of Biochemistry, IISc, Bangalore, India.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Jan 2010 – Sep 2010) – School of Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Research Associate (Sep 2009 – Dec 2009) – School of Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Research Interest

Malaria remains as one among the top five infectious diseases in the world leading to enormous morbidity and mortality. This devastating disease caused by Plasmodium species of phylum apicomplexa is transmitted by the bites of female Anopheles mosquitoes. The absence of an effective vaccine together with widespread and emerging resistance against frontline antimalarials including the most promising arteminsinin-based combination therapies has made malaria eradication daunting. For the past several decades, the malaria research has been focused mainly on asexual (blood) stages which are directly associated with disease pathogenesis, and the molecular aspects related to the transmission stages remained a black box.

Figure1

Recently, it has been realized that besides targeting the blood stages, effective transmission blocking strategies are key for malaria eradication and this has been included as one of the prime agenda in WHO portfolio for malaria eradication. My research interest is mainly focused on gaining insights into the fascinating biology of Plasmodium transmission stages, and understanding the molecular and biochemical aspects that are crucial for the development of sexual stages in mosquitoes and liver stages in vertebrate hosts. Delineating these aspects and designing strategies to interfere with the homeostasis of host-parasite networks can be explored for new therapeutic approaches to prevent malaria transmission. I am also collaborating with industries to develop novel high-sensitive platforms for malaria diagnosis.

Awards & Honors

Global Health Travel Award funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to attend Keystone Symposia on “The Science of Malaria Eradication” held at Mexico in February, 2014.

Awarded Ramanujan Fellowship for the year 2010 by Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India.

Prof. Giri Memorial Medal, Institute of science, Bangalore for the Best Ph.D. Thesis of the year 2009-2010, Dept. of Biochemistry, Indian Institute of science, Bangalore.

Dr. A. S. Perumal Award, Indian Institute of science, Bangalore for the Best Performance in Research Training Program, Dept. of Biochemistry, Indian Institute of science, Bangalore.

Sathya Bhama Award, JIPMER, Pondicherry University for the Best Outgoing Student (2003).

Best Outgoing Student Award (2000), Sri Sankara Arts and Science College, Madras University

Other Recognitions

Reviewer for BIRAC’s Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) scheme

Invited Reviewer for Nature Scientific Reports, Journal of Bacteriology & Parasitology, Molecular Biotechnology, Experimental Parasitology & Infection and Immunity

Member of Doctoral Advisory Committee, Manipal University (2013-2015)

MEDIA Coverage

1) http://www.dbtindia.nic.in/archives/8917

2) “Indigenous malaria vaccine shows promise in mice studies”, S&T, The Hindu, April 17, 2014. http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/medicine-and-research/indigenous-malaria-vaccine-shows-promise-in-mice-studies/article5918997.ece

3) “Knocking down the malaria causing parasite”, S&T, The Hindu, August 22, 2013. http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/knocking-down-the-malaria-causing-parasite/article5045356.ece

4) Malaria Parasite-synthesized Heme is Essential in the Mosquito and Liver Stages and Complements Host Heme in the Blood Stages of Infection. Recommended in F1000 Microbiology for new finding and novel drug target. http://f1000.com/prime/718071268

Industrial Collaborations

Jigsaw Biosolutions Pvt Ltd, Bangalore to develop a novel PCR kit for Malaria detection based on unique IMR sequences in the parasite genome.

Omix Research & Diagnostic Laboratories Pvt Ltd, Bangalore to develop a novel Malaria point-of-care diagnostic test