COVID Biology Group 

Department of Biological Sciences
Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata

Research Interest

My laboratory is involved in the study of coronavirus induced disease (COVID) biology by using murine β-Coronavirus (m-CoV) (Mouse hepatitis virus; MHV) infection in mice as an experimental model system to understand the viral genomic determinants of pathogenic properties to design therapeutic targets. M-CoV; MHV infection in mice causes central nervous system (CNS) demyelination and consecutive axonal loss and mimics certain pathology of human neurological disease Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Demyelination is the process by which axons lose their normal insulating myelin. Myelin forms an insulating sheath surrounding axons in the central and peripheral nervous systems and is essential for rapid propagation of neuronal action potentials. Our laboratory is focused to understand the genomic control of disease phenotype of the MHV strains to empathize the cellular and molecular mechanism of viral induced demyelination in experimental animal model of MS, where we are investigating; 1) how acute viral infection initiate innate immune activation in the CNS which in turn can lead to chronic demyelination with or without involving the adaptive immune system; 2) whether cleavage and fusion properties of the spike protein plays any role in viral spread and neuronal tropism from gray to white matter and preferential neuronal tropism in the white matter can cause demyelination; 4) whether cell-cell interactions in the CNS through gap junction plays any role in neuroinflammatory cascade of MHV induced demyelination. In order to conduct these investigations, we have the important tools of a well-developed animal model system and reverse genetic systems of MHV with which to manipulate the viral genome. Our lab has extensive experience in making recombinant strains, phenotypic and pathological characterization of recombinant strains, including fusion, spread to neural tissues and differential neural cell tropism of isogenic recombinant strains in brain, spinal cord and optic nerve. We also have expertise in molecular, cellular, and in vitro neuronal cell and glial cell culture techniques required for our investigations. Our combined studies on the correlation between the genomic control of biologic phenotype of the MHV strains with demyelination and axonal pathology of mouse CNS in neuroinflammatory cascade will be able to establish a powerful approach to elucidate the cellular and molecular details regarding the pathogenesis of MHV induced neurological dystrophy. My long-term goal is to extend these studies to search for similarities in mechanistic pathways of the inflammatory processes associated with autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and other infectious diseases.

The insights from my studies will provide me proper knowledge and expertise to meet the challenge of future emerging coronaviruses and coronaviruses induced viral diseases (COVID).

About PI

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Jayasri Das Sarma, PhD

EDUCATION

  • PhD in Immunology/Chemistry, Jadavpur University, 1995

  • M. Phil. Environmental Science, Calcutta University, 1991

  • M.Sc in Zoology, Calcutta University, 1991

  • B. Ed in Education, Calcutta University, 1990

POSITIONS

> Professor, Department of Biological Sciences Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata (IISER-K) - Mar,2015-Present

> Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata (IISER-K) - Oct, 2008-Feb, 2015

> Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology Present University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA - Mar,2013

> Adjunct Faculty, Department of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, USA - Oct, 2012–Present

> Adjunct Faculty, Department of Neurology Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, USA - Oct, 2008– Sep, 2012

> Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, USA - 2004–2008

> Senior Research Investigator, Department of Microbiology University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA - 2003-2004

> Research Associate Institute for Environmental Medicine and Department of Physiology University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA - 2001-2003

> Post Doctoral Researcher Institute for Environmental Sciences and Department of Physiology University of Pennsylvania, USA - 1999-2001

> Post Doctoral Fellow, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA -  1997-1998

> Research Associate, Rockefeller Foundation Program, MRDG Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India - 1996- 1997

Institutional Committee Member (IISER-Kolkata)

> Senate Member of IISER-Kolkata - 2008-2012 & 2014-Present

> Convener & Chairperson Institutional Animal Ethical Committee (IAEC) 2010-2013 & 2014-Present

> Chairperson Institutional Bio-safety Committee - 2014-Present & 2010-2013

> Internal Complaints Committee Chairperson - 2014-Present

> Department Faculty Advisory Committee - 2010-Present

Teaching Experience

  • Indian Institute of Science Education and Research-Kolkata - 2008-Present
    > Neurobiology (Theory) 
    > Animal Dissection, Histology, Immunohistochemistry, Immunofluorescence (Laboratory)
    > Molecular Cloning (Laboratory)

    Indian Institute of Science Education and Research-Kolkata - 2009-2014
    > Immunology (Theory) 

  • Jefferson Medical College (Graduate courses)  Philadelphia - 2004-2008
    > First year Medical and Graduate Neuroscience 
    > Laboratory Teaching
    > Leading Clinical conference problems with 1st year medical student

    Editorial Board Member

    > Frontiers in Neuro-ophthalmology 2011 -Present> 
    > Journal of Ophthalmology 2014 - Present
    > Scientific report, NPG group Jan, 2016 - Present

    Reviewer for the International Journals

    > Journal of Immunology
    > BMC Neurology
    > Neuroscience
    > Journal of Neuroinflammation
    > Journal of Biosciences
    > PlosOne
    > Nanoscale

    Grant Reviewer

    > Department of Biotechnology (DBT) Neuroscience, India
    > Multiple SclerosisResearch Australia, External Grant Reviewer
    > ELA Research Foundation
    > International Scientific Community to submit leukodystrophies and myelin repair

    National Level Selection Committee Member

    > Member of taskforce on neuroscience (DBT) 2018-present
    > SRF/RA selection committee Council of Scientificand Industrial Research (CSIR) India 2010-2013
    > KVPY Special project Screening Committee Member India 2009-2012
    > Fulbright-Nehru Visiting Lecture Fellowship USIEF 2011-Present
    > Fullbright Reviewer USIEF
    > VisvaBharati Faculty Selection Committee member 2012

    Scientific Advisory Committee Member

    > IPGMRI, Biomedical Genomics Center (BMGC), India - 2010-Present
    > Member/Chair of the Graduate (PhD) Student’s Comprehensive Exam Committee ThomasJefferson University - 2005 – 2008

Achievement

Heading Level 3

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Awards and Honors

Elected Fellow of Indian Academy of Neuroscience (IAN) (2021)

Elected Fellow of Indian Academy of Science, Bangalore (IASc) (2021)

Elected Fellow of National Academy of Science, India (NASI) (2021)

Host for ASM-IUSSTF Indo-US Professorship Award of Professor Sharon Gusky from North Western Connecticut Community College, CT, USA (2018)

Elected Fellow of West Bengal Academy of Science and Technology (WAST) (2018)

Institute appreciation for contribution to Science and Administration on the occasion of Science Day (2018)

ASMCUE Leadership Award for International Educators Sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). (2017)

ASMCUE Leadership Award for International Educators Sponsored by the American Societyfor Microbiology (ASM). (2016)

ASM-IUSSTF Indo-US International Professorship Award To develop a bi-lateral researchrelationship between India and the US. (2013)

Science Horizon Research Internships-Mentor Award Bryn Mawr College, USA. (2007)

Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award/Junior Faculty Career Enhancement Award, USA (2007)

Dale McFarlin Award National Multiple Sclerosis Society, USA (2002)

Advanced Postdoctoral Fellowship Award National Multiple Sclerosis Society, USA. (2001)

STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENT (2009-Ongoing):

Prof. Jayasri das Sarma received the 2022 AAI Laboratory Travel Grant to present her work in Immunology 2022 Portland, the USA where Madhav Sharma was the second recipient.

Ms Grishma Kasle received the "ASBMB Graduate Travel Award" to present her work at the Experimental Biology 2022 conference held in Philadelphia, USA from 2nd April to 5th April 2022.

Mr Abass Alao Safiriyu got selected for the oral presentation under the Tulsabai Somani Education Trust Award category at the XXXVIX Annual E-Conference of the Indian Academy of Neuroscience jointly organized by the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata (IISER-K), in coordination with Netaji Subhas Open University (NSOU) and CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (IICB), 16th-19th Dec 2021

Mr. Madhav Sharma received Dr. SS Parmar Poster Award for best poster at the XXXVIX Annual E-Conference of Indian Academy of Neuroscience jointly organized by the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata (IISER-K), in coordination with Netaji Subhas Open University (NSOU) and CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (IICB), 15th-19th Dec 2021

Mrs. Fareeha Saadi received full scholarship registration waiver to attend and present poster at Keystone Symposia’s eSymposia on Neuroimmune Interactions in Health and Disease,2021.

Ms. Debanjana Chakravarty received full scholarship registration waiver to attend and present poster at Keystone Symposia’s eSymposia on Neuroimmune Interactions in Health and Disease, 2021

Ms Vaishali Mulchandani has received the prestigious PMRF fellowship in the Dec 2020 cycle.

Ms. Mithila Ashok Kamble was awarded the S.S. Parmar Research Foundation award for the best poster presentation at the XXXVIII Annual Conference of the Indian Academy of Neurosciences, November 2020.

Ms. Lucky Sarkar received "International American Society for Virology (ASV)" travel award to present her work in a 5' flash talk plus a poster in the Pathogenesis session at 39th Annual Meeting of the „American Society for Virology ASV, June 2020‟, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA (cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic).

Ms. Lucky Sarkar's work "Azadirachta indica A. Juss ameliorates Mouse Hepatitis virus-induced neuroinflammatory demyelination" was highlighted and selected to present for a 5' flash talk plus a poster in the Pathogenesis session at 39th Annual Meeting of the „American Society for Virology ASV, June 2020‟, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA (cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic).

Mr. Soumya Kundu received the ASBMB travel award to attend the Annual meeting of American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2020 at San Diego, California, USA (cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic).

Mr. Abhishek Bose got selected to deliver an oral presentation in the Society for Neuroimmune Pharmacology (SNIP 2020) international conference, April 2020 (cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic).

Mr. Abhishek Bose achieved Best poster award at "New Insights into the Inflammation, Immunity, and Pathobiology of Diseases, INDO-US Symposium" organized by IUSSTF/IISER Kolkata, December 2019.

Ms. Debanjana Chakravarty and Mr. Soumya Kundu got selected for the oral presentation at the "Indo-US Symposium on New Insights into the Inflammation, Immunity, and Pathobiology of Diseases", 2019.

Ms. Fareeha Saadi received the Young scientist best oral presentation award at Neuroupdate 2019, organized by CSIR-IICB, Kolkata, India.

Ms. Lucky Sarkar got selected under Dr. DM Kar Prize category and presented her paper at "XXXVII Annual Meet of Indian Academy of Neurosciences (IAN 2019)-Neuron to Behavior", AIIMS New Delhi, India, November 2019.

Mr. Sourodip Sengupta received Best poster presentation on "Role of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitor of MMPs (TIMPs) in Mouse Hepatitis Virus (MHV) induced neuroinflammation" at IBRO-APRC School on Blood-Brain-Barrier, November 4-9, 2019.

Mr. Abhishek Bose received International SERB travel award from Science and Engineering Research Board, India to present his work at "Society for Neuroscience SFN meeting (Neuroscience 2019)" at Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Ms. Debanjana Chakravarty received the American Association of Immunologist Laboratory grant 2019 to attend international conference "IMMUNOLOGY 2019" at San Diego, California, USA.

Mrs. Fareeha Saadi (SRF) received Department of Biotechnology, India travel grant to attend international conference "IMMUNOLOGY 2019" at San Diego, California, USA.

Mr. Soumya Kundu received best poster award at 43rd Indian Biophysical Society Meeting 2019, from 15-17th March, 2019, at IISER Kolkata.

Ms. Debanjana Chakravarty received 3rd best poster award at DBS Departmental Day, 2019 at IISER Kolkata.

Dr. Mahua Maulik received Wellcome Trust-DBT India Alliance Early Career fellowship (2018).

Mr. Abhishek Bose got selected for Poster presentation at 2018 ASCB/EMBO Meeting, San Diego, California, USA from 8th-12th December and he received the prestigious CSIR travel award for this conference.

Mr. Sourodip Sengupta received Best Poster award (Stutee Nag Prize) at XXXVI Annual Conference of Indian Academy of Neurosciences (29th-31st October, 2018) at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India.

Mr. Abhishek Bose got selected for the oral presentation (Dr. D. M. Kar Prize) at XXXVI Annual Conference of Indian Academy of Neurosciences (29th-31st October, 2018) at Banaras Hindu University 2018, Varanasi, India.

Mr. Manmeet Singh received Travel award to attend 34th congress of ECTRIMS (European committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis) in Berlin from 10th-12th October 2018.

Ms. Lucky Sarkar received third best oral presentation award in the young scientist category at "International Conference on Nutraceuticals and Chronic Diseases (INCD 2018)", 14th-16th September 2018, held at Dehradun, India.

Mr. Afaq Hussain received the travel award to attend the International congress of Cell Biology 2018, Hyderabad.

Mr. Sourodip Sengupta was selected to give oral presentation at Frontiers in Molecular biology conference (FIMB-2018) at IISER Kolkata, India.

Ms. Debanjana Chakravarty and Ms. Fareeha Saadi were awarded the Stutee Nag prize for the best presentation in the poster session at the XXXV Annual Conference of Indian Academy of Neurosciences and International Conference on Translational Neurosciences and its application in protection of Mental health, Cuttack, Odisha, 2017.

Mr. Soumya Kundu was awarded the S.S. Parmar Research Foundation award for the best poster presentation the XXXV Annual Conference of Indian Academy of Neurosciences and International Conference on Translational Neurosciences and its application in protection of Mental health, Cuttack, Odisha, October 2017.

Mr. Manmeet Singh was awarded the Travel award to attend the XXXV Annual Conference of Indian Academy of Neurosciences and International Conference on Translational Neurosciences and its application in protection of Mental health, Cuttack, Odisha, October 2017.

Mr. Abhishek Bose was selected for the Oral presentation in the category of Tulsabai Somani Education Trust at the XXXV Annual Conference of Indian Academy of Neurosciences and International Conference on Translational Neurosciences and its application in protection of Mental health, Cuttack, Odisha, October 2017.

Mr. Manmeet Singh received Prof. Don Gilden Memorial Award in an International Indo US Symposium on Central Nervous System viral infection and its Therapy 2016, India.

Mr. Soumya Kundu received Best Poster Award at “3rd International Meet on Advanced Studies in Cell Signaling Network (CeSiN 2016), Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (IICB), Jadavpur, Kolkata.

Mr. Manmeet Singh received the best poster award in Frontiers in Modern Biology, organized by Dept of Biological Sciences IISER Kolkata, 2015.

Mr. Manmeet Singh received the DuPre fellowship 2015 by Multiple Sclerosis international federation society UK.

Mr. Rahul Basu received the Best poster award at the Indo-US symposium on Neurovirology, organized by IISER Kolkata and NBRC, 2014.

Mr. Jibin Sadasivin received the DuPre fellowship 2014 by Multiple Sclerosis international federation society, UK.

Ms. Kaushiki Biswas was selected for Oral presentation at Indo-US symposium on Viral Infections of the Nervous System at National Brain Research Centre (NBRC), India, 2014.

Ms. Kaushiki Biswas was awarded 3rd prize in poster presentation competition at 1st departmental day of IISER-K, 2013.

Mr. Rahul Basu received the DuPre Grant, Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF), in the year 2012.

Mrs. Dhriti Chatterjee received best poster presentation award at Immunocon 2009 (Indian immunological conference 2009).