Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Nebraska, USA
CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology, Chandigarh, India
I completed bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (Kashmere Gate, Delhi) in 2004. My fascination with research began when I was doing a research project at the Institute of Pathology (Delhi) as a part of course curriculum. It was during this training period, I got my first real laboratory research experience and I learned what all it takes to make biological discoveries and innovations. Also, I learned that research is one of the few career paths where you are able to make contributions to answer some of the problems that affect society at large. This experience solidified my decision to become a scientist and I went to United States to pursue Ph.D. under the mentorship of Dr. Joyce C. Solheim at the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, University of Nebraska Medical Center.
My doctoral dissertation research was focused on understanding the function of amyloid precursor-like protein 2 (APLP2) in regulating the endocytic trafficking of immune receptors, MHC class I proteins, in the context of tumor cells. During my graduate research, I developed a great interest in the field of endocytic trafficking particularly studying the role of various endocytic proteins using cell biology tools such as confocal microscopy and biochemistry. Most of my years as a Ph.D. student in Dr. Solheim lab were focused on using imaging techniques to specifically study these highly regulated endocytic trafficking pathways. As a next step in my career, I decided to join the laboratory of Dr. Michael B. Brenner at Harvard Medical School (Boston, USA) to expand my expertise as a cellular immunologist investigator. There I investigated the mechanisms by which endocytic regulatory proteins affect trafficking of lysosomes and lysosome-related organelles and how this trafficking route regulates physiology of normal and pathogen-infected cells.
In 2012 I decided to return to India to set-up my independent laboratory. The primary research interest of my laboratory is focused on understanding the function of Arl family of GTPases that remain relatively understudied and poorly understood. In comparison to the Rab and Arf families of trafficking GTPases, the Arl GTPases form what is currently thought to be a heterogeneous group. There are over 20 Arl GTPases known and unlike Rabs and Arfs, the few Arls characterized till date are implicated in regulating diverse cellular processes such as endocytic trafficking, cytoskeletal organization, ciliogenesis etc. My lab is also interested in studying host-pathogen interactions of highly infectious agents that lack effective treatments and pose significant health concerns.