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Lab Members

Recent PhD students and postdoctoral fellows at King’s College London who have all moved to:  university academic positions or into Medicine or Dentistry or to academic positions in industry.

Dr. Oliver Hickman, PhD student, 2011-2015.  
Dr. Raskit Lachmann, postdoctoral fellow, 2012-2014. 
Dr. Georgina Thorborn, PhD student, 2008-2012 
Dr. James L Reading, PhD student, 2007-2011 
Dr Raymond Alvarez, PhD student, 2003-2007 
Dr Deborah L King, PhD student, 1999-2003 
Dr Madeleine Hayes, PhD student, 1999-2002 
Dr Taylor MacKey, PhD student, 1999-2003 
Dr Josiah Eyeson, PhD student, 1999-2003 
Dr Mark Boaz, PhD student, 1999-2002

Vyakarnam Lab at Centre for Infectious Disease Research, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. 2013-current 
  

Postdoctoral Researchers:
  
Dr. Asma Ahmed. Joined 2014 
PhD in Immunology, Department of Biochemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. 
  
Interest/Project: To understand Treg/Teffector cell imbalance in HIV, TB and HIV-TB coinfection.  I also optimized the TRUCOUNT assay to monitor abosolute changes in circulating frequencies of innate and adaptive cells as part of the Human Immunology Project Consortium project titled “Innate Predictors of Adaptive BCG and HBV Vaccine-induced Responses in Bangalore Adolescents”. 
  
Dr. Arunachalam Ramaiah; Joined 2014
Ph.D in Bioinformatics (Jointly from Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, India / Abo Akademi University, Finland.

Interest / Projects:
I’m employing bioinformatic and immunological approaches to determine CD4 T cell epitope evolution in Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains from South India using deep-sequencing technology and measuring the functional significance of CD4 T cell responses directed to these new epitopes for sub-unit vaccine development. I’m collaborating with Dr Srabanti from our group for experimental studies. Major collaborators are Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, NIRT-ICMR, Chennai and Dr. Ashlee Earl from Broad Institute, USA for accessing clinical cohorts and NGS data, respectively. Arun left in August 2016 to work as a Fellow at CDC, Atlanta, USA.

Dr. Srabanti Rakshit. Joined 2014 
Postdoctoral Research, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Karnataka, India. 
Ph.D. in Cancer Immunology, Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (CSIR-IICB), Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

Interest / Project  
Heterogeneity and diversity of antigen-specific immune responses in HIV, TB and HIV-TB coinfection; to understand the fine specificity and evolution of pathogen specific T cell responses in HIV-TB Coinfection.   In addition, I am looking at the functional diversity of T cell responses as part of the Human Immunology Project Consortium project titled “Innate Predictors of Adaptive BCG and HBV Vaccine-induced Responses in Bangalore Adolescents”. 
  
Dr. Nitin K. Hingankar. Joined 2016 
Ph.D. in Biotechnology (Molecular Virology), National AIDS Research Institute, S.P. Pune University, Pune, India. 
  
Interest / Project: 
HIV-1 compartmentalization to T cell subsets and assessment of cell associated virological markers (HIV DNA and RNA forms) to investigate the degree of HIV persistence, residual viral replication and size of dynamic viral reservoir in Indian HIV patients. Emergence of drug resistance mutation pattern in Indian subtype C and impact of resistance mutations on HIV-1 replication fitness and drug susceptibility in the context of Indian subtype C genetic backbone. 
  
Dr. Bharath K. Sundararaj. Joined 2013 
Ph.D. in Molecular Parasitology, University of the West of Scotland/University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK 
  
Interest / Project: 
I am interested in elucidating the immune-modulatory role of PS20/WFDC1 protein belonging to whey acidic protein family (WAP) in infection and inflammatory conditions, particularly in CD4+ T lymphocytes in HIV, TB and HIV-TB co-infections.  I was involved in helping set up the laboratory between 2013-2014.

Dr. Prabhat K Sharma. Joined 2015 
PhD in Immunology from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi 
  
Interest /Project: 
Understanding diversity of Th17 CD4 T cell response in HIV-TB infection. 
  
 Research Assistants / Associates 
  
Ms. Soumya Nayak. Joined 2014. 
Post Graduate Diploma in Bioinformatics, Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology, Bangalore, India 
B.Tech In Electronics and Applied Instrumentation, Silicon Institute of Technology, Biju Patnaik University of Technology, Bhubaneswar, India 
  
Interest / Project 
I have worked on various bioinformatics projects specifically in the area of Next Generation sequencing and Microarray analysis. My projects involve Immuno-informatics, Comparative genomics, Assembly and annotation of genomes as well as statistical and phenotype analysis of flow cytometry data using softwares such as MIMOSA and SPICE.  My laboratory work is on a project to identify blood-based biomarkers for pulmonary tuberculosis by modeling and mining molecular interaction networks in collaboration with Dr N Chandra, Dept. Biochemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and DrAsma Ahmed in Dr Vyakarnam’s group. I have verified the identified biomarkers using qRT PCR.

Mr. Vasista K Adiga.  Joined 2016
Flow Cytometry Specialist 
BE in Biotechnology from PESIT Bangalore 
  
Interest/Project 
Responsible for maintaining FACS ARIA FUSION in the Biosafety Level 3 Facility located at the Centre for Infectious Disease Research, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. Involved in Human Immunology Project Consortium project titled “Innate Predictors of Adaptive BCG and HBV Vaccine-induced Responses in Bangalore Adolescents”. 
Extensively working on 16-colour Whole blood ICS panel. Multicolour data analysis and representation using FlowJo, FACSDiva, Pestle and Prism softwares. Sorting of HIV-TB patient samples (multicolour) to probe T cell subsets. Sorting of MDR -XDR strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis for Dr Amit Singh’s laboratory, IISc, Bangalore. 
  
Ms. Pravat Nalini Sahoo.  Joined 2015 
M.Sc Biotechnology from Bangalore University, India. 
  
Interest/Project  
Working on detection of cell associated HIV-1 RNA/DNA by real-time PCR to monitor viral replication and persistence. 
Ms Shuba Varshini Alampalli.  Joined 2016 
B.E Biotechnology from PESIT, Bangalore and MSc Bioinformatics and Biotechnology from Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology (IBAB), Bangalore 
  
Interest/Project: 
Probing HIV evolution and diversity in India.  Optimising methods for analyzing whole genome evolution of HIV.  Developing a bioinformatics pipeline for analyzing the diversity of Indian strains based on de novo assembly of the viral genome. Our collaborators on this project are:  Dr Neil Berry and Mark Preston at National Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC), UK.