Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India
Molecular Biophysics Unit, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India
I was a student of pharmaceutical sciences in my undergraduate studies and subsequently joined the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology as a graduate student with Dr. Yogendra Sharma and Dr. R. Sankaranarayanan to try and understand the phenomenon of calcium binding in betagamma-crystallins and neuronal calcium sensors. CCMB proved to be a great place to learn and use X-ray crystallography and several biophysical techniques to witness macromolecules at atomic detail and correlate their structures with their invitro activity. My work on neuronal calcium sensors provided a glimpse into the world of synaptic physiology and as I neared the end of my PhD I became increasingly keen to work on integral membrane proteins involved in synaptic neurotransmission.
I applied for a post-doc position in Eric Gouaux's lab to carry out structure determination of neurotransmitter transporters. I along with my colleague, Kevin, spent three years trying to crystallize the dopamine transporter and eventually managed to get a high-resolution structure of the Drosophila dopamine transporter. This was followed up with an extensive study documenting how addictive drugs like cocaine and amphetamine modulate the binding site and activity of these transporters.
At IISc, with generous support from the India Alliance, I intend to continue working on uptake processes involving neurotransmitters to further probe and understand mechanistic basis of transport and its inhibition.