I am a research associate at the department of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. I have received my Ph.D. in microbial molecular biology from Catholic University of America, Washington DC, in 2010 under the mentorship of Dr. Venigalla Rao. My doctoral thesis involved the understanding of the mechanism of DNA packaging in the T4 bacteriophage virus. My thesis work has been published in a prestigious, international journal, the “JOURNAL OF VIROLOGY”. Because of importance and wide interest in this work that generated critical insights into the virus DNA packaging mechanism, my paper was selected as a most significant article of the issue and an image featured on the cover page of the journal. Over the last 6 years, I have been working in the field of lens biology focusing on the role of crystalline proteins in the pediatric and age-related cataract. We have generated alpha A crystalline transgenic and beta A3-crystalline knockout mouse models in our lab, that mimic the age-related and pediatric cataract respectively. We use these mouse models to study the molecular mechanism of crystalline mediated cataract development. Recently, I have also started working on the pediatric eye diseases called the persistent fetal vasculature (PFV), which occurs due to a failure of the fetal vasculature of the eye to undergo regression before birth. The beta A3-crystalline knockout mouse model that is available in our lab shows the features of PFV. I am using this model to determine the molecular pathways that are defective when the fetal vasculature persist. The information generated by this study will be important and useful in developing future therapeutics for PFV.
My research interest include identification of critical molecular pathways that are affected in crystallin mediated pediatric cataract and peristent fetal vasculature of the eye.