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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.

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.
May 2022 to 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: To work at 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, 2010: 14th International Biotechnology Symposium, Italy, 2010.

Dr. Rudresha GV
August 2022 to 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.

Dr. Siddharth Bhatia
April 2023 to present

Postdoctoral Felow

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

PhD Students

senjir {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in
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
Vivek Suranse_edited.jpg
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
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

Neeraja P S

January, 2021 - Present

PhD Student (Co-advised with Dr. Rachit Agarwal)

neerajap {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

I am a strong believer in interdisciplinary research, and I aim to serve society through novel therapeutics for better health and long life. I am currently fascinated by the diversity of snake venoms. I am hoping to develop improved therapeutics for snakebite envenoming by inculcating bioengineering principles and insights on potent snake venom inhibitors.

Integrated PhD Students


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.

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

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 16 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.

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

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.
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.

Priyanka Jaikumar
August, 2021 - Present

Project Assistant

jpriyanka {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

I have always been a curious child, seeking the reason and philosophy behind my observations of the world around me. On this journey, I discovered a deep fascination with herpetofauna and venom in particular. This subject piqued my curiosity and understanding it gives me a sense of accomplishment. Eventually, I began volunteering to participate in various herpetofauna studies and learning molecular techniques in parallel. To deepen my commitment to science, I completed my Master's degree in Molecular Diagnostics and Biotechnology at the University of Camerino, Italy. In the Evolutionary Venomics lab, I will work to understand snake venom-induced nephrotoxicity by applying different analytical molecular techniques and hoping to gain new insights.

  • Recipient of ERDIS Marche Scholarship, Italy 2017-2019
  • CV Raman Scholarship, Govt of Karnataka 2015-2017
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.

Aravind CK
October, 2021 - Present

Project Assistant

aravindck {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

I am a Postgraduate in wildlife biology, who is keenly interested in Herpetology, especially frogs, in their behavioural ecology and bioacoustics. My thesis work for my master’s degree was on the population ecology of Indian gaur. Previously I have worked at the environmental management and policy research Institute, Bangalore, as a Junior Research Fellow on a project, titled the impact of increased timing of main pipe conveyor belt on Wildlife.

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
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.

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.

S Birendra Kumar
October 01, 2022 - Present

Project Assistant

birendrak {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

I'm fanatic about science. Coming from biotechnology background, my interest lies in investigating the imperative units of a cell, focusing on DNA, RNA, Protein etc. Currently, I'm exploring computational omics domain at EVL

Prasad Gond
June 01, 2022 - Present


prasadgond {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

Lab Managers

Bhavya Sathenapalli
November 01, 2022 - Present

Program Manager

bhavyas {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in

I am an M.Com Graduate and versatile professional with over 10+ years of rich experience in performing Administrative activities and acting as a liaison between Scientists and Institutes. Part of my work also includes document preparation for various government approvals [with respect to the Nodal Ministry – DAE (Department of Atomic Energy), DBT (Department of Biotechnology), DST (Department of Science and Technology), MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) and MEA(Ministry of External Affairs)]. My experiences are associated with various departments, such as :

  1. Administrative Assistant, Centre for Ecological Science Department under Long Term Ecological Observatories (LTEO) Programme, Indian Institute of Sciences

  2. Project Assistant (Meeting office) at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem) & Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP) 

  3. Secretarial Assistant Trainee, ICMS Department at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advance Scientific Research.

Ranjitha Rangaswamaiah
November 15, 2022 - Present

Lab Manager

ranjithar {at} iisc {dot} ac {dot} in


Stefen Kumar
November, 2020 - Present

Lab Assistant

Santosh Nayak
February, 2022 - Present

Lab Technician

Dissertation Students



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