The group Molecular Disease Biology lab (MDBL) is working in research areas on Viruses like Chikungunya, Dengue, SARS-CoV-2, breast cancer and chromatin biology. We are applying molecular biology, cell biology, Structural biology, biophysics and biochemistry approaches to study various diseases to understand the mechanism or cause of disease progressions and determine how new drug targets can be identified, followed by experimental validations. MDBL group is interested in virus-host interaction, basic understanding for virus pathogenesis and potential interceptors against chikungunya, Dengue and SARS-CoV-2.

SARS-CoV-2 project: During pandemic MDBL lab worked on repurposing of approved molecules against SARS-CoV-2 and reported a very effective antibiotic molecule Teicoplanin against SARS-CoV-2. Teicoplanin was found to be 10-20 fold more effective than the chief drugs being used against SARS-CoV-2, such as Lopinavir and Hydroxychloroquine in our laboratory conditions. Our team is also aiming at deciphering the structural determination of various proteins for mechanistic insights of viral pathogenesis which may help to combat any future pandemics to come.

Dengue Project: MDBL lab is interested to understand the host-virus interaction and their precise role in modulation of pathogenesis. Our lab has identified a non-canonical role of a host transcription factor STAT3 which has role contributing to viral replication. Our lab is elucidating the role of HMGB1 protein in dengue virus propagation. Lab investigation in dengue host virus interaction with better understanding of transcription factors and cytokines, may provide a new dimension in developing effective control measures.

Chikungunya Project: MDBL lab has identified novobiocin and telmisartan as potential inhibitors from in-silico and evaluated by in-vitro experiments for potential interceptors against chikungunya. Further research is required to establish the molecules as antivirals of clinical relevance against chikungunya. These molecules are under investigation on animals in collaborations.

Cancer Biology: In cancer biology, Lab is understanding kinases, cytokines and receptors for target identification for drug development. Our goal is to develop early diagnosis for breast cancer and assess ayurvedic drugs and bioactive constituents for effective & affordable candidate against breast cancer and pain management.

Chromatin Biology: MDBL lab is working on HMGB1 protein which is much more elevated in many cancers. Lab is investigating differential release of HMGB1 in response to DNA damage, necrosis and programmed cell death. We are interested in unravelling HMGB1’s role in DNA metabolism, in DNA binding/bending, chromatin assembly and reorganization to unravel deep understanding about the activation or stimulation of other pathways so that we may find the crucial players as target for possible therapeutics in pathology associated with HMGB1.

Kusuma School of Biological Sciences Indian Institute of Technology Delhi Hauz Khas, New Delhi - 110016