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

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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.

Research Associates

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Dr. Sushma Krishnan
May 2022 - present

Senior Research Scientist

sushmak {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

My passion for leading-edge technologies in biological research led me into distinct research areas and made me an interdisciplinary researcher. I have always been fascinated by antibody engineering and proteomics. During doctoral research, I made single-chain variable fragment antibodies against TNF-alpha to find a cost-effective anti-TNF-alpha therapy. For the period of my postdoc, I studied the stress response proteins in mycobacteria and chemosensory proteins in fig wasps. In addition, I worked at Biocon and in the electron microscopy facility at IISc. I joined EVL to be a part of an international team to innovate antibody fragment-based snake bite therapy, which is an absolute necessity in India.

  • EMBO short-term fellowship: Max-Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany, 2017.

  • Young Scientist in Protein Purification Award, Given by “Society for BioChromatography and Nanoseparations”, France, Feb 2010.

  • DBT-NER Chemical Ecology fellowship, 2016 - 2019.

  • DBT-RA fellowship, 2012 – 2016.

  • VIT University fellowship for doctoral research, 2017 – 2012

  • Bio-Separation fellowship – to get training in “Bioseparation” at Dept of Genie Biologique, University de Technologie, Compiegne, France, 2010.

  • DBT, DST, and CICS Travel grants, Gordon Research Conference, Massachusetts, USA, July 2016.

  • DST, DBT Travel grants, RNase H 2014 conference, Virginia, USA, Sep 2014.

  • INSA Travel Grant: 14th International Biotechnology Symposium, Italy, 2010.

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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 to present

Postdoctoral Felow

nehajha {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

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 Student

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

Integrated PhD Students

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Rashmi

June, 2019 - Present

Integrated PhD Scholar

rashmi1 {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

I am a biochemist, curious to know about the evolution of snake venom, in particular, how they affect the different biochemical pathways of their predator and the physiology of their bite victims. Such studies can provide better understanding of venoms and will be helpful for antivenom manufacture for snakebite therapeutics.
I am currently using different molecular techniques to unravel venom variation at different geographical level in common krait.

I am also trying to look into the efficiency of Indian medicinal plants in treating snakebite wounds and using it as an ancillary treatment with antivenom for snakebite.

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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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Suyog Khochare
October, 2018 - Present

Project Associate

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.
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Naeem Shaikh
October, 2020 - Present

Project Associate

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

I am a keen observer of nature and am fascinated by its various facets. 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.

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Anurag Jaglan
September, 2021 - Present

Project Assistant

anuragjaglan {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

Being a child who used to switch cartoons with documentaries of snakes on Nat Geo and Discovery, I have always been interested in these fascinating creatures. Ever since, I have kept in touch with herpetofauna on a personal scale and via volunteering in related programs. I did my Masters in Zoology from University of Delhi. I am very curious about how venoms work on a molecular level and how evolution has shaped the functioning of these cocktails. My focus lies in characterization of novel components in snake venom of big-four as well as neglected many, with aim to increase the efficacy of currently present antivenom therapies as well as coming up with next-generation therapy for snake bite treatment in India.

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Salil Javed V P
November, 2021 - Present

Project Assistant

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 to 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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Navaneel Sarangi
August, 2023 - Present

Project Assistant

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

Lab Manager

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Surbhi Saxena
August 2023 - Present

Program Manager

surbhisaxena {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in
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Roopashree
June 2023 - Present

Secretarial Assistant

roopashreen {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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