RESEARCH

We are a multidisciplinary research group focused on developing advanced fluorescence microscopy methods to study molecular mechanisms that regulate the cytoskeletal organization and intracellular transport, in physiological and pathophysiological conditions. We quantitatively assess how dysregulations in organelle trafficking implicate in diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders. Specifically, we aim to understand,

  1. How lysosomal trafficking is regulated as it interacts with key nutrient sensor mTORC1 in response to variable nutrient level and their implications in type 2 diabetes and obesity?

  2. How microtubule and motor protein interactions are differentially regulated by microtubule post-translational modifications (PTMs) and microtubules associated proteins (MAPs) and their relevance in cancer, neurodegenerative disorders and lysosomal storage disorders.

  3. How virus interacts with the host cell and hijacks the complex cytoskeletal network for efficiently navigating the cell during infection.

Many of these molecular interactions lead to the formation of short-lived functional molecular complexes which are tightly regulated in space and time and any dysregulation could be detrimental to the vital functioning of the cell, thereby leading to diseases. Transient nature of these molecular interactions and their nanoscale molecular organization makes it difficult to probe the fast dynamics and organization of these functional complexes with conventional Confocal or Widefield imaging methods. To resolve these challenging problems, we use Super-resolution microscopy (STORM/PALM) which allow us to visualize these molecular events in real-time with high Spatio-temporal resolution and quantify the biophysical parameters that govern these nanoscopic interactions in living cells with high precision and accuracy. Rigorous computational and statistical analysis of these biophysical parameters could give cues on the differential characteristics of these functional nano-complexes in physiological versus disease conditions and thereby provide us with insights on better pharmacological targets.

In parallel, the lab develops optical engineering methods for advancing high-resolution bio-imaging techniques and engages in software development for image data analysis.