Research


Our interests lie in general area of cellular neurobiology and specifically in the process of axonal transport. We are interested in how mechanisms of axonal transport regulate biological processes, and ultimately contribute to animal behavior or to neurodegenerative processes.


Current Projects in Lab


Regulation of pre-synaptic vesicle transport

Cloning and charcterization of suppressors and enhancers of the synaptic vesicle motor mutant unc-104.
Understanding regulation of and contributions by the two Kinesin molecular motors UNC-104(Kinesin-3) and UNC-116(Kinesin-1)
Understanding how development regulates the transport of pre-synaptic vesicles in neurons.

Regulation of mitochondrial transport and distributions in neurons.

Cloning and charcterization of mutants that control mitochondrial transport in neurons.
Understanding the roles of UNC-116(Kinesin-1) and other known interactors of this motor.
Understanding the contribution of regulated neuronal distributions of mitochondria to behaviour

Developing new in vivo tools to help us both disrupt and image cargo transport in neurons. Many of these studies are carried out collaboratively.

Developing PDMS platforms to carry out functional imaging studies.
Developing long-term imaging strategies to visualize transport during key developmental processes.
Exclusive tracking of retrogradely moving cargo.
We are interested in extending the repertorie of methologies available to study transport in vivo in the C. elegans model.

Quantitative understanding of pre-SV transport

Developing mathematical models to explain observed experimental features of axonal transport.
Determining the 'transport' phenotypes of loss of the many well established players in axonal transport to benchmark the model


Research Training


Funding

Collaborators

  1. Gautam Menon (NUS & IMSc): Constructing mathematical models for cargo transport along the neuronal process.

  2. Venkatraman V. (IISc): Developing microfluidic architectures to assay transport, development and neuronal function in C. elegans.

  3. Yamuna Krishnan (University of Chicago): Using DNA-based sensors in vivo.

  4. Naoki Hisamoto (Nagoya University, Japan): Role of UNC-16/JIP3 in neuronal regeneration and trafficking of synaptic vesicle proteins.

  5. Ankona Dutta (DCS-TIFR): Designing novel small molecule imaging probes for assaying PIP2 distribution in C. elegans neurons.

Past collaborations

  1. Peter Juo (Tufts University, USA): Dynamic imaging of axonal transport of glutamate receptors in a C. elegans motor mutant.

  2. Dieter Klopfenstein (University of Goettingen, Germany): Analysis of in vitro lipid binding profiles of various UNC-104 cargo binding defective mutants.

  3. Kaustubh Rau (formerly NCBS-TIFR): Developed a laser axotomy based assay to study transport.

  4. Sowdhamini Ramanathan (NCBS-TIFR): Modeling the cargo binding domain of the C. elegans UNC-104 molecular motor.

  5. Mahadevan Subramony (IISc): Characterizing the effects of metabolites of the E. coli bgl operon in C. elegans

  6. S. Ramaswamy (C-CAMP & inSTEM): Characterizing phenotypes of a C. elegans orthologue of Rieske Ferredoxin reductase

  7. Doris Heinrich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany): Motion analysis of vesicle dynamics in vivo.

  8. David Hall (Albert Einstein College of Medicine): His lab hosts the C. elegans center for Anatomy and helps us with all our ultrastructural projects.