Education 2007-2012 Ph.D. in Biological Sciences, Area of Specialization: Neurosciences University of Toledo College of Medicine, Toledo, Ohio, 2004-2006 M.S. in Biotechnology Bangalore University, Bangalore, India 2001-2004 B.S. in Biotechnology Bangalore University, Bangalore, India Postdoctoral Training Jan 2013 - July 2014 Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Schepens Eye Research Institute, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA July 2014 - Current Research Scientist at University of Toledo, Toledo Medical Center, Toledo, Ohio, USA and in collaboration with Dartt laboratory at Schepens Eye Research Institute, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA Funding Sources July 2013 Postdoctoral Award grant from Fight for Sight for investigating the pathophysiology of dry eye in a novel dry eye mouse model. Past and current affiliations to Professional Societies Member of the American Physiological Society Member of the Biophysical Society Member of the Microscopic Society of America Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Honors and Prizes Sep 2015 Chosen as an Emerging Vision Scientist to attend “Emerging Vision Scientists” Exhibition at Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. held by the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research. This event included attending a Congressional briefing, visiting Congressional delegation offices and presenting research at a Congressional reception. June 2014 Invited poster at the 2014 Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology Trainee Poster contest. Poster winner in the Basic Science Category. Feb 2014 Invited poster at the Gordon Research Conference in Ventura, California Poster Title: “Alteration in Cell Structure and Function in Lacrimal Gland of Thrombospondin-1-/- Mouse Model of Sjögren’s Syndrome” July 2012 Invited talk at the Microscopy and Microanalysis Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona Talk title: “Spatiotemporal Properties of Purinergic-evoked Calcium Signals And Exocytosis in murine Parotid acinar cells” Recipient of Travel Award from University of Toledo College of Medicine Feb 2011 Invited talk at the Gordon Research Conference in Galveston, Texas Talk Title: “Differential effects of P2X4 and P2X7 receptor activations on Ca2 signaling and exocytosis in mouse parotid acinar cells” Recipient of Travel Award for Best Poster at Gordon Research Conference Recipient of Travel Award from University of Toledo College of Medicine Abstracts, Poster Presentations and Exhibits Presented at Professional Meetings May 2014 Poster presentation at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology held in Orlando, Florida. Poster title: Alteration in Cell Structure and Function in Lacrimal Gland of Thrombospondin-1-/- Mouse of Sjögren’s Syndrome Oct 2013 Poster presentation at 28th Biennial Cornea Conference at Schepens Eye Research Institute, Boston, Massachusetts Poster Title: Mechanism of Thrombospondin-1 Interaction with Parasympathetic & Sympathetic Neural Inputs in a Sjögren's syndrome mouse model May 2013 Poster presentation at Research Fellow Poster Celebration at Massachusetts General Hospital held by the Office of Research Career Development Poster Title: “Modulation of Purinoceptor mediated Ca2 signals by β-adrenergic receptor activation in Salivary Glands” April 2013 Poster presentation at Experimental Biology held by Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology (FASEB) in Boston, Massachusetts. Poster Title: “Modulation of Purinoceptor mediated Ca2 signals by β-adrenergic receptor activation in Salivary Glands” April 2011 Poster presentation at the Systems Biology Symposium held by Depart
Research interests: 1. Ophthalmology- dry eye, calcium signaling, lacrimal physiology, drug therapy 2. Cellular physiology – exocrine glands, signaling pathways and receptor function, cancer/tumor physiology My research interest is primarily directed towards understanding neural regulation of exocrine glands by modulation of calcium signals in normal and diseased animal models. In case of autoimmune disorders like Sjögren’s syndrome, both the salivary as well as the lacrimal glands are affected. This in turn leads to xerostomia (dry mouth) and xeropthalmia (dry eye). My Ph.D dissertation in Giovannucci laboratory was based on determining non-traditional calcium signaling pathways for salivary regulation in mice models. This work demonstrated purinergic receptors as a primary candidate in evoking protein secretion in the absence of a cholinergic and adrenergic contribution in parotid glands. Additionally, my work also identified P2X4R as a potential molecular target to enhance protein secretion in salivary hypofunction patients. My postdoctoral research goal in Dartt laboratory was mainly focused on investigating the pathophysiology of dry eye in an animal model. This included understanding the molecular interplay between calcium signaling cascades during xeropthalmia. Previous findings from the lab have successfully demonstrated lacrimal gland dysfunction during progression of chronic dry eye. I characterized the female TSP-1 null mouse and established it as a relevant animal model for Aqueous Deficiency Dry Eye (ADDE). TSP-1 null mouse has been shown to mimic human dry eye progression and development. My findings suggest that the TSP-1 null mouse model requires multiple hits for development of dry eye disease. Alterations in neural innervations, calcium signaling and protein secretion anomalies are hallmarks of a gradually progressing dry dye. The findings from the study suggest that glandular dysfunction precedes cellular inflammation in our animal model. Thus, based on my research interest and previous experience, I am well poised to investigate the interaction between intracellular Calcium signaling pathways in exocrine glands and how these pathways are altered in a disease model like Sjögren’s syndrome. Currently, I am a senior research associate at the University of Toledo, Toledo medical Center, OH, USA. I am working primarily on three research projects. 1. Investigating non-traditional pathways (purinergic, NAADP) and their role in saliva formation and dry mouth. 2. Determining the pathophysiological signatures of dry eye development in tsp-1 null mice and thereby identify specific molecular targets. 3. Investigating a potential therapy for treatment of dry mouth in humans. A human drug trial study is underway in this regard.