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Research at Department of Biological Sciences

Currently, the department has six themes of research. These are mentioned below:

The group aims at understanding the mechanism of evolution of adaptive and non-adaptive characters in organisms. By employing phenotypic manipulation experiments, primarily using laboratory fruit fly populations, his group investigates phenotype - fitness correlations.

The group then employs Experimental Evolution to investigate the evolution of these phenotypes in experimental populations in real-time. Rate of ageing, stress resistance, reproductive and fertility-related traits, sexually selected traits are among many phenotypes the group is currently interested in. More details can be found here.

Stem/Progenitor Cells are characterized by their ability to self renew and to be differentiated into distinct functional cell types. This is regulated by a plethora of mechanisms ranging from transcriptional to signalling pathways. The post transcriptional repertoire however, is still not well understood. Dr. Bharathavikru’s group is trying to elucidate the various RNA regulated processing events during the process of nephrogenesis. Nephrogenesis or Kidney Development is a highly coordinated event involving an interplay of transcription factors such as WT1, Six2 and signalling cascades including the Wnt pathway. The group is involved in identifying the Systems Biology of RNA-protein networks in nephrogenesis through in vitro and in vivo interaction studies, followed by bioinformatic studies to prioritize these networks. These are then functionally characterized using cellular and biochemical tools in primary and stem/progenitor cell models. More details of the research of the group can be found here.

We depend on plants for food, medicine, clothing, fuel, clean air- pretty much everything and it’s safe to say- without them there would be no life on earth! Today like the rest of the world, plants are facing a multitude of challenges critically impinging their productivity and very survival. Broad-based and innovative studies of plant biology are of fundamental significance in addressing these issues. These can also guide in our pursuit for developing climate resilient crop plant varieties and sustainable agriculture. More details of the plant biology program can be found here.

Research in Dr. Krishnan's group focuses on comparative and evolutionary genomics approaches to reconstruct major evolutionary scenarios and trends that shaped the evolution of uniquely eukaryotic and animal systems. To mention a few, the group is interested in the expansion of 1) chemosensation in early-branching metazoans and other basal invertebrate animals; 2) molecular armaments that diversified post vertebrate genome doubling events to combat vertebrate viruses. Using our computer-aided approaches, we also aim to investigate untapped GPCRs to extend the prospects of the druggable human genome. In broad-spectrum, we employ genome and proteome scale datasets to reconstruct the evolution of various gene families, functional categories and divergence, intraspecific and inter-specific variations, and evolutionary processes that underpin the diversity of our protein families of interest.

The broad aim of the group is to understand the organisation and regulation of cellular metabolism in development and how it gets deregulated in diseases such as cancer. More details can be found here.