Google Scholar

ksunagar {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

Dr. Kartik Sunagar

August 10, 2017

Assistant Professor | Group leader

I am an evolutionary geneticist, and I study venomous animals and their venoms as model systems to address various intriguing questions in ecology, evolution and genetics. The major focus of my research in the recent past has been on innovating pan-India efficacious snakebite therapies through the discovery and development of broadly neutralising antibodies. My PhD (University of Porto, Portugal) and postdoctoral research (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel) has provided fascinating insights into venom ecology and evolution, including the dynamics of venom evolution across large time, evolutionary origin and development of venom producing cells, coevolutionary arms races, molecular mechanisms of venom action, the genetic basis of venom resistance, and the role of environmental and ecological factors in driving the evolution of venom.
  • Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance Fellowship. 2020.
  • Ramanujan Fellowship. April 2018. Not taken.
  • Gyandeep Award by the Organisation for Wildlife Studies (OWLS) and the Department of Forest for the Maharashtra State, 2018.
  • Editorial board member of the journal Toxins
  • DST INSPIRE Faculty Award, 2017
  • Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (European Commission): 2015 - 17. Funding: $373,000.0
  • Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (Australian Research Council). Not taken. Funding: € 182,509.0
  • The PBC Fellowship Program for Outstanding Post-Doctoral Researchers from India, October 2014.
  • The Lady Davis postdoctoral fellowship. 2014. Not taken.

Research Associates

Dr. Priti Hebbar

August 16, 2018 - Present

DST Faculty Fellow

pritihebbar {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in
I am captivated by nature and fascinated by the Indian amphibians. I am interested in applying molecular techniques to ask interesting questions on the Evolution of amphibians.  For my PhD, I studied the Ecology and Conservation genetics of few species of Nyctibatrachus which is one of the ancient lineages of frogs from Western Ghats, India at ATREE, Bangalore. Before joining for PhD, I worked in Cipla pharmaceuticals where I worked on the qualitative analysis of anticancer drugs.  At the Evolutionary Venomics lab, I will be working on Indian toad toxins using the next generation sequencing techniques and hoping to add new insights about the Indian toads using an evolutionary perspective.  I will also continue my work on Nyctibatrachus species across Western Ghats where I will look into their genomics and understand their dispersal patterns and genetic diversity.
  • DST Inspire Faculty Award 2018 - Present
  • PBEEE-Quebec short term research scholarship, Canada: $12,000 (May-August 2018).
  • Rufford small grant for studying Ecological assessment and conservation education on amphibians from Kodagu region of Western Ghats, India: 5000£ (June 2017-May 2018).
  • Travel grants from Royal Norwegian Embassy, World Congress of Herpetology, Centre for International Co-operation in Science, Conservation Asia Scholarship, Edda Sehgal Award (2014 and 2016), and Asian Graduate Scholarship Award.
  • Centre for Herpetology-Madras Crocodile Bank Trust (MCBT) small grant for studying ecology and distribution of tadpoles of tropical stream dwelling anuran amphibians in Myristica swamp.
Dr. Saurabh Attarde

March 01, 2019 - Present

Postdoctoral Fellow

asaurabh {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

I am a toxinologist, interested in the proteomics and therapeutic application of toxins from different venomous animals. I have done my PhD from Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune, India (2014-18). As a part of my PhD work, I have tested the anticancer potential of purified toxin from Indian spectacled cobra venom. At EVL, I am a part of the project that aims to develop a Universal antivenom for treating snakebite victims in India and sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Travel Grant from Department of Biotechnology, Government of India (DBT-CTEP) for attending 14th EACPT (2019) at Stockholm, Sweden.

  • EMBO Travel Grant for attending EMBO Workshop B-cell development and leukemia (2019) at Salamanca, Spain. Not taken.

  • Young Scientist Award by Singapore Society of Mass Spectrometry in 7th AOMSC (2017) held at Biopolis, Singapore.

  • Travel Grant form Board of College and University Development (BCUD), Savitribai Phule Pune University for attending 7th AOMSC (2017) at Biopolis, Singapore.

  • Travel Fellowship from ‘European Association of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics’ (EACPT) for attending 13th EACPT conference (2017) at Prague, Czech Republic.

  • UGC-UPE Fellowship for the period of PhD (2014-18).

PhD Students

Senji Laxme R R
August 01, 2019 - Present

PhD Student | Fossil

senjir {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

I am an ardent nature enthusiast, intrigued by the phenomenal diversity and complexity of life forms. Venom, in particular, is a fascinating treasure trove, that has interested researchers from various fields of biology. I am currently focusing on unraveling the venom diversity of major snakes in India. With a bachelor's degree in Biotechnology, I am hoping to study the characteristics of venom toxins and underlying intricacies of snake venom evolution, and employ these insights in the development of improved antivenom treatment in India.

  • Recipient of Indian Academy of Sciences Summer Research Fellowship for two consecutive years (2016 and 2017) and the Government of Tamil Nadu grant to attend a short-technical training programme at Yokohama National University, Japan (July 2017)
Vivek Suranse

June, 2019 - Present

PhD Student | Fossil

viveksuranse {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in
I am a science enthusiast, dedicated to studying venomous creatures. I am focused on exploring venom evolution and study its relationship with ecology, cladistics, population genetics and phylogeography. I have primarily worked on scorpion phylogenetics, systematics and population genetics during my Master's at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER-Pune). My main research interest is evolutionary venomics as it employs modern technology for better understanding the interdependence of evolution and venom. The insights from such studies better the prospects of designing more effective antivenins and benefit mankind.
  • Recipient of the DST INSPIRE Student Fellowship 2012-17

June, 2019 - Present

Integrated PhD Student

rashmi1 {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

Project Assistants

Suyog Khochare
October 05, 2018 - Present

Project Assistant

suyogk {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

I am a biotechnologist seeking to investigate the myriad of bioactive compounds from animal venoms. Using modern day proteomics tools, I believe, will help provide interesting insights on venomics as well as antivenomics. I am also eager to work on next-generation antivenoms with high efficacy and minimal cost.

  • Three years of R&D and quality control experience in Premium Serums and Vaccines Pvt. Ltd. , leading antivenom manufacturer in India.
Anisha Anand
February 11, 2019 - Present

Project Assistant

anishaanand {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

At EVL, I am studying the composition and evolution of Asian Common Toad Toxins. Besides that I am also working on understanding the species and gene diversity of endemic amphibians from genus Nyctibatrachus of the Western Ghats.

Ashwin Iyer
December 01, 2019 - Present

Project Assistant

ashwiniyer {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

I am currently participating in various biochemical assays and molecular biology techniques associated with multiple projects in the lab. Having worked extensively with microbes during my Bachelors and Masters, I am now keen on understanding higher, more complex systems of snakes and their venom compositions that would help trace crucial evolutionary checkpoints in venom development.

  • Recipient of the DBT (JNU-CEEB) Fellowship 2017-19
Navneet Kaur
January 01, 2020 - Present

Project Assistant

navneetk {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

I am currently using innovative approaches which will be useful to develop diagnostic tools to improve the present scenario of snakebite therapy in the country. My interests also lie in unveiling the venom composition, venom antivenom interactions using different molecular biology and biotechnology techniques. I am inquisitive to understand the evolutionary principles which underpin the variability of the venom cocktails.

Paulomi Dam
February 10, 2020 - Present

Project Assistant

I am currently studying the phylogenetics of the Indian Cobra to understand the evolutionary history of this venomous snake species. I also wish to study the population genetics and phylogeography of the snakes to look into how the historical processes have shaped up the genetic and species diversity of the extant populations.

paulomidam {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in
Naeem Shaikh
October 10, 2020 - Present

Project Assistant

I am a keen observer of nature and am fascinated by its various facets. I have a Masters in Biotechnology from IBB, Pune University. My primary interest lies in understanding the ecology and phylogeography of neglected arthropod species while exploring the fascinating aspects of the evolutionary history of arthropod venoms. With this, I also aim to provide useful insight into the bioprospecting of venom and the conservation status of these arthropods species.

naeemshaikh {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

Visiting Scientists

Dr. Rachunliu G Kamei
November 01, 2019 - December 31, 2019

Scientific Associate

Department of Life Sciences

The Natural History Museum, London SW7 5BD, UK

kamei {dot} chun {at} gmail {dot} com

My research interests include field explorations, taxonomy, systematics, biogeography, reproductive ecology, and conservation of amphibians. While my primary interest is in continuing to explore the poorly documented North East Indian amphibian fauna, I plan to diversify into reptiles and into the adjoining regions in South and South East Asia.
I specialize in working with the amphibians of India, with a special focus on caecilian systematics and biology. 

  • Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral International Incoming Fellow, Department of Life Sciences, The Natural History Museum, London. 2014 to 2016 

  • Assistant Professor, St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi. BSc Program in Physical Sciences. 2005–2010; 2013

Lab Manager

K. Jayalakshmi
June 01, 2019 - Present

Lab Manager

kjayalakshmi{at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

Dissertation Students

Naeem Shaikh