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ksunagar {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

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Dr. Kartik Sunagar

August 10, 2017

Associate 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.
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Dr. Rudresha GV
August 2022 - present

Postdoctoral Felow

rudreshagv {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

My research focuses on the pre-clinical development of a novel small molecule drug for snakebite. At EVL, I am part of a project that aims to develop antibody fragment-based therapy for snakebite victims in the Indian subcontinent. During doctoral research at University of Mysore, I worked on a novel mechanism, snake venom-metalloproteases-induced NETosis and tissue necrosis, through the PAR-1-ERK signaling cascade. Moreover, inhibition of snake venom-metalloproteases using Disulfiram reflects the reduced amount of NETs formation and tissue necrosis in pre-clinical models. Besides, I successfully isolated and evaluated the therapeutic applications of clinically important plant hydrolytic enzymes such as proteases and DNases on the snake venom-induced local tissue necrosis in pre-clinical models.

  • Recipient of UGC-BSR fellowship for doctoral research, 2014 - 2020.

  • DBT-RA Fellowship for post-doctoral research, 2023-present.

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Dr. Siddharth Bhatia
April 2023 - present

Postdoctoral Felow

bsiddharth {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

I am fascinated by evolutionary biology and interested in applying molecular techniques to study venom evolution. For my Doctoral research, I have studied venom variation in different populations of Echis carinatus using Mass spectrometry. Post-PhD, I worked in and antivenom manufacturing company for a year as a Research Scientist and gained industrial experience. Currently, I am interested in studying ecological factors mediating venom evolution in snakes. 

  • CSIR-NET Fellowship for doctoral research, 2015-2021.

  • DBT-RA Fellowship for post-doctoral research, 2023-present.

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Dr. Neha Jha
August 2023 - present

Postdoctoral Felow

nehajha {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

As a Bioinformatician, my work revolves around unraveling the complex mysteries of venomous organisms and their potent biochemical cocktails. My responsibility is to harness cutting-edge computational techniques to analyze vast datasets derived from various venomous sources, including snakes, spiders, scorpions, and marine creatures. By applying advanced algorithms and statistical methods, I decipher the genomic and transcriptomics embedded within these venoms.

PhD Students

senjir {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in
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Senji Laxme R R
August, 2019 - Present

PhD Scholar

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)
  • Recipient of Prime Minister's Research Fellowship, May 2021
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Vivek Suranse

June, 2019 - Present

PhD Scholar

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
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Paulomi Dam
February, 2020 - Present

PhD Scholar

paulomidam {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

I have always been intrigued by the great extent of phenotypic diversity observed in natural populations and the evolutionary history of life. Venomous snakes are one such group of enigmatic creatures equally revered and feared by people. Although infamous for causing high mortality in humans, they are also of immense importance to environment, food web and medicine. My research focuses on investigating the phylogenetic and phylogeographic history and population genetic structure of medically important Indian snakes using advanced molecular techniques to unravel the influence of historical processes in shaping their genetic diversity.

  • Recipient of Prime Minister's Research Fellowship, January 2022

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Mihir Kumar

June, 2022 - Present

PhD Scholar

mihirkumar {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

I completed my B.Sc. (Honours) in Zoology from Ramjas College, University of Delhi and Masters in Zoology with Endocrinology specialization from University of Lucknow. My interests lie in broad field of evolutionary biology and i am curious about the evolution of arthropods venom and venom apparatus. Besides Research, I am interested in teaching.

  • Recipient of the DST INSPIRE AWARD (SEATS) 2014

  • Recipient of the DST INSPIRE AWARD 2017 - 2022

  • Recipient of the CST-UP SUMMER RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP 2022 - 2023

  • Qualified the CSIR-UGC-NET JRF fellowship in June 2022

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Navaneel Sarangi
August, 2024 - Present

PhD Scholar

navaneels {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

Integrated PhD Students

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Arpan Samanta

June, 2022 - Present

Integrated PhD Student

arpansamanta {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

Wildlife documentaries captivated me from an early age. In the course of time, I developed a fascination for venomous animals, especially snakes - the limbless slithering marvels of the animal kingdom. In EVL, I want to know more about these exciting creatures and their complex venom and hope to work on developing improved antivenom treatments.

External PhD Students

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Ajinkya Unawane

April, 2021 - Present

External PhD Student (University of Pune)

ajinkyau {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

I am a zoologist at heart. For the past 18 years, I have been actively rescuing snakes and other wild animals. At the Evolutionary Venomics Lab, I aspire to understand species phylogenetics and phylogeography of endemic pit vipers of the Western Ghats. I also hope to unravel the role of ecology and environment in shaping the venom cocktails of these enigmatic serpents.

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Eric Witte

April, 2021 - Present

Co-advised PhD Student (University of California)

ewitte {at} ucsc{dot} edu

I am an evolutionary biologist who is fascinated by how organisms can succeed in new environments. I am researching lionfishes, a venomous group of fishes that are invasive to the Mediterranean and Western Atlantic regions. Lionfishes use venom as a chemical defence. I hope to explore the following questions: How does venom production contribute to their success in the invasion? How does their venom use change in their new environment?

I am also a passionate teacher and aim to make evolutionary biology accessible and fun for students of all ages!

Project Staff

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Salil Javed V P
November, 2021 - Present

Project Associate

salilv {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

The concept of evolution has intrigued me from the moment I heard about it. A major driving force of my higher education was the pursuit of finding out as much as I can about this phenomenon. The interesting and complicated evolutionary history of venom has particularly fascinated me. During my time at EVL, I will be looking at the evolution of venom in different Centipede (a relatively neglected group of venomous animals in India) taxa, and Hymenopterans. I have a Master's in biology from NISER, Bhubaneswar

  • Recipient of the DST INSPIRE Student Fellowship 2015-20
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Muralidhar Nayak M
February 2022 - present

Senior Research Associate

muralidharn {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

I am a Chemist, Graduated from Pondicherry University. I have more than 10 years of experience in Spectroscopy and Analytical fields. I have analyzed various samples (eg. crude extracts, purified compounds from organic synthesis, and biological sources), by using instrumentations like LC-MS, GC-MS, FT-IR/ Raman, Elemental analyzer, DSC, UV-Visible spectrophotometer, Microscopy, and Time Resolved Fluorescence. At EVL, I am involved in venom proteins characterization and quantitation by Mass Spectrometry analysis.

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Vanga Lavanya
March, 2022 - Present

Project Assistant

vangalavanya {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

I am a biotechnologist by profession and an ecologist by heart. I am an eco-nut and I am interested in understanding the myriad forces that shape the lives of organisms and how interactions between them influence whole communities. I am currently interested in understanding the venom ecology of various African and Indian snakes. My current research delves into the development of region-specific antivenom through equine immunization with various medically important snake venoms.

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Prasad Gond
June, 2022 - Present

Curator, Anti-Venom Research & Development Centre

prasadgond {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in
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Tarani Jindal
August, 2023 - Present

Project Assistant

taranijindal {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in
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Samuel Itang
March, 2024 - Present

Project Assistant

samuelitang {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

I hold a BSc in Zoology and Environmental Biology from the University of Calabar, Nigeria, and an MSc in Zoology with a specialization in Animal Physiology from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. My curiosity lies in the proteomics and transcriptomics of snake venoms, especially focusing on medically significant species in Nigeria. I am particularly intrigued by understanding the variation in venom composition across Nigeria's diverse ecological zones. Additionally, I am concerned about the challenge of inefficient and costly antivenoms in Nigeria, and I am driven to contribute to finding solutions to this pressing issue.

Lab Manager

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Surbhi Saxena
August 2023 - Present

Program Manager

surbhisaxena {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

Staff

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Santosh Nayak
February, 2022 - Present

Lab Technician

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Ramanna
November, 2020 - Present

Lab Assistant

Dissertation Students

Interns

Alumni

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