My group is primarily interested in developing translatable technologies and products using synthetic biology approaches. We utilize latest genome editing technologies and DNA assembly methods to engineer microorganisms and human cells. Research Projects: Biography: Awards and Distinctions: Group Members: Shubham Dixit (Postdoctoral Fellow) Anusha KR (Project Assistant) Samantha Jayne Coelho (Project Assistant) T Sai Kavya Rao (Project Trainee) Anjitha P (Project Trainee) Samhitha Urs R (Project Trainee) Alumni: List of Publications: Funding: Contact:
Distinct biotechnological applications require different promoter properties in terms of expression range and inducibility. Currently promoter discovery is largely focused on manipulating native promoters which are large DNA sequences and are regulated in a complex fashion. We are generating a library of yeast cells containing distinct promoter activities for production of high value biomolecules over a broad dynamic range in a high throughput format. To achieve this, the group is focusing on engineering novel synthetic promoters that are tuneable, programmable and orthogonal in nature. In addition, we are developing a repository of synthetic genetic parts and elements that together with the promoters will create a suite of expression cassettes for customized and enhanced expression of biomolecules.
Yeast is recognized as GRAS organism and used extensively for industrial production of valuable molecules. In this project, we are generating value-added yeast strains that overexpress phytochemicals, food supplements, human metabolic enzymes and nutraceuticals. This will be achieved by rational engineering of the endogenous metabolic genes in yeast cells or transplanting genes from heterologous sources by using recombinant DNA methods. Using gene editing technologies, we also seek to modify metabolic pathways in yeast cells to generate “humanised yeast stains” for production of human therapeutic proteins and biologics.
We are establishing a robust protocol and platform for precise bespoke gene editing of human cells for various therapeutic purposes. The group will be generating human cell lines that (a) mirror disease-causing mutations for drug resistance studies and screening purposes, (b) develop gene editing strategies for gene correction and functional genomics studies, and (c) improve existing therapeutic approaches to autoimmune diseases, cancers and rare genetic disorders.
Recently viruses belonging to the family Flaviviridae have become a major public health problem worldwide including India. Using the Aedes-Dengue virus infection model, we aim to identify and characterize key factors controlling virus multiplication in the mosquito using genome wide approaches. Subsequently we will be translating this knowledge to design effective disease transmission blocking strategies for Dengue and other viral infections.
Areas of Expertise and Interests:
Synthetic Biology, Genome Engineering Technologies, Functional Genomics, Host-parasite Interactions, Coding & Non-coding RNA Functions, Medical Biotechnology, Biosensors
Deepthi Menon (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Deepthi graduated from Manipal University with Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology and received Master’s in Biotechnology at the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra. She completed her PhD in Biochemistry and Immunology from ANU and pursued her research interest in immune cell metabolism at the Harvard Medical School and Trinity College Dublin. Deepthi joined the group in May 2018 to work on editing immune cells for targeted therapy using synthetic receptors and effectors. In addition, she is developing gene editing strategies for gene correction in autoimmune disease models and sepsis.
Shubham completed Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Biotechnology from Banasthali University, Rajasthan. After gaining research experience at ICGEB and NIPGR, New Delhi, she carried out her PhD research project in plant molecular biology and physiology at Banasthali University. Shubham joined IBAB in 2015 as postdoc to work on the Amaranth Genome project. Thereafter, she joined Synthetic biology group in August 2018 to develop yeast strains producing high value phytochemicals and metabolites using gene editing technologies.
Anusha completed her BE in Biotechnology from PESIT, Bengaluru and MTech in Molecular Medicine from Amrita Centre for Nanosciences and Molecular Medicine, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Kochi. She joined the group in February 2018 and is currently working on engineering metabolic pathways in yeast for production of humanized therapeutic proteins.
Samantha completed Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology, Biochemistry and Genetics from Jyoti Nivas College and Master’s in Applied Genetics from The Oxford College of Science, Bengaluru. She worked at Biocon Research Limited, Bengaluru as a research trainee before joining the group in May 2018. Samantha is generating a suite of yeast strains with synthetic promoters for expression of genes in a defined and controlled manner.
Kavya obtained BSc (Honours) in Biosciences from Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Anantapur and Master’s in Microbiology from Sharda University, Greater Noida. She joined the group in July 2018 and is working on modifying yeast strains with synthetic genetic elements for enhanced expression of biomolecules.
Anjitha completed Bachelor’s and Master’s in Biotechnology from Amrita School of Biotechnology, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Kollam. She worked as an intern at ThermoFisher Scientific, Bengaluru prior to joining the group in July 2018. Anjitha is currently involved in heterologous expression, purification and downstream processing of high value therapeutic proteins.
Samhitha received Integrated MSc degree in Molecular Biology from Yuvaraja’s College, Mysore in 2018. She joined the group in July 2018 to work on functional characterization of therapeutic proteins using gene editing technologies.
KBITS, Department of Innovation and Technology, Government of Karnataka
Department of Biotechnology, Government of India
Synthetic Biology Group
Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology
Biotech Park, Electronic City Phase I
Bengaluru – 560100
Phone: +91 (080) 28528901/902/903 (extn 209)
My group is primarily interested in developing translatable technologies and products using synthetic biology approaches. We utilize latest genome editing technologies and DNA assembly methods to engineer microorganisms and human cells.
Awards and Distinctions:
Shubham Dixit (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Anusha KR (Project Assistant)
Samantha Jayne Coelho (Project Assistant)
T Sai Kavya Rao (Project Trainee)
Anjitha P (Project Trainee)
Samhitha Urs R (Project Trainee)
List of Publications: