Research

Externally Funded Projects

1. Delivery of bacteriophages for treatment of antibiotic resistant TB infections

Funding Agency: Ramanujan Fellowship, Department of Science and Technology, India
Duration: Oct 2017 - March 2022

2. Delivery of Resolvin carrier for treatment of Osteoarthritis

Funding Agency: Early Career Research Award, Science and Engineering Research Board, India
Duration: June 2018 - March 2021

3. Innovation Derby: Phage Reduction of TB-Related Deaths

Funding Agency: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Duration: April 2019 - March 2022

4. Bacterial outer membrane vesicles coated nanoparticles for development of tuberculosis vaccine

Funding Agency: Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council, India
Duration: June 2019 - Oct 2020

5. Rapamycin carrier based sustained delivery for treatment of Osteoarthritis

Funding Agency: Har-Gobind Khorana-Innovative Young Biotechnologist Award, Department of Biotechnology, India
Duration: April 2020 - March 2023

6. Development of 3-dimensional necrotic tuberculosis granuloma mimic for studying lineage-specific drug efficacy

Funding Agency: Wellcome-Trust/DBT India Alliance, Intermediate fellowship, UK/India
Duration: January 2021 - December 2025

Private Funds

Thanks to Dr. Vijaya and Rajagopal Rao for funding support for a biomedical research facilty and setting up a corpus for research funding at BSSE. Our lab is using the facilities built from this support and also get research funds from the interest earned on the corpus.
Thanks to Mr. Lakshmi Narayanan for award of "Lakshmi Narayanan Young Investigator" award and research funding
If you are interested, you could support our research by donating through http://www.odaa.iisc.ac.in/.   Contact rachit@iisc.ac.in for more information.

Research Areas

Drug delivery for Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is characterized by progressive degradation of cartilage, typically in load-bearing areas of one or more joints. OA is characterized with decreased chondrocyte viability and increased proliferation, altered matrix synthesis, and increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1beta and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, resulting in elevated production of matrix degrading enzymes and reactive oxygen species. Our approach to OA drug delivery is currently based on two strategies.

1. As OA is regarded as a chronic inflammatory disease, therefore, reduction of inflammatory processes during OA progression represents a promising avenue for the treatment of OA. Hence we are developing carriers for controlled delivery and retention of inflammation resolving drugs for reduction of inflammation and OA progression.


2. In another approach, we are focusing on direct signalling to chondrocytes and neighboring cells to induce matrix production and reduce damage under adverse conditions. One such signalling that we are exploring is autophagy which has been shown to prevent cell apoptosis under stress conditions.

For acheiving these goals, we use the following tools:
a) Mouse model of post-traumatic OA: Destabilization of Medial Meniscus (DMM). This is done by performing of a surgery on mouse knees under the microscope that results in human OA like erosion of cartilage over the period of 2-3 months.

b) Polymeric and liposomal carriers that can modulate the release of small molecules over a period of a few hours to several days.

Biomaterial approaches for treatment of Tuberculosis

Indian sub-continent has one of the highest reported Tuberculosis (TB) cases. Recently multi drug resistant (MDR) and totally drug resistant (TDR) TB strain has been also reported in India which is resistant to all 1st and 2nd line of TB drugs. Antibiotics represent the standard approach, however, the efficacy of antibiotics is severely limited by dosing/delivery kinetics and development of multi-drug resistance, and many of the current antibiotics are ineffective in eradicating the bacteria once infection is established. Furthermore, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) can reside intracellularly and within complex 3D structures (granuloma) and is protected from many antimicrobial agents and host immune effectors, and these evasion mechanisms directly contribute to long-term persistence and evolution of antibiotic-resistance. Therefore, there is a significant and urgent need to develop new and innovative strategies to eradicate bacterial infections. Our approach to TB research is based on following three directions:

1. Inhalable dry powder based TB drug delivery: In this research project, we are developing biomaterial based dry powder formulations of anti-microbial drug carriers for patient compliant treatment of TB and its drug resistant variants. Polyermic microparticles are being synthesized that can encapsulate anti-microbials, are suitable for deep lung delivery and show enhanced uptake by phagocytic cells to target the intracelluar niche of bacteria.


2. In-vitro model of TB granuloma: In this project, we are using hydrogels to develop an in-vitro TB granuloma model that can be used to understand disease progression and screen libraries for new TB drugs.

3. TB Vaccines: This project is focussed on developing effective TB vaccines by combining biomaterials with Mycobacterium lipids and proteins.

For acheiving these goals, we use the following tools:

a) Mouse model of TB: This is done by aerosolized delivery of Mtb to mouse lungs that results in TB like infection and can be used to test various vaccines and therapeutics.

b) Polymeric carriers that can modulate the release of small molecules over a period of a few hours to several days (see above).

c) Lyophilied porous polymeric carriers that can be delivered by endotracheal intubation and delivered in mouse lungs.

d) Hydrogels to culture mammalian and bacterial cells in 3-dimensional matrix.


Teaching

BE210 Drug Delivery: Principles and Applications

This 3-credit course is taught in August semester. This course aims to introduce concepts of drug delivery for medical challenges. The course is designed to be modular, with each module focusing on the following topics: Diffusion and permeation of drugs in biological systems; Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics; Challenges and strategies for various drug delivery routes; Drug delivery systems: polymer‐drug conjugates, matrix based systems, reservoir and erodible systems; Responsive and targeted delivery systems; Nanotoxicology and Regulatory pathways. Course is open to all students registered for a PhD programme at IISc and to undergraduates who have completed their 2nd year.

Note: This course is also offered through the online NPTEL platform for everyone in the world. To check it out click here and here

BE203 and BE204: Bioengineering Practicum courses

These are 1-credit courses and are taught in both January and August semester. Bioengineering Practicum 1 and 2 provide bioengineering laboratory experience to enable the student to do practical work in a particular field of specialization by working in the laboratories of the thesis adviser(s). The student is expected to learn the experimental techniques and practical methods pertaining to the research topic undertaken. The student is also expected to understand his/her thesis project and should be able to explain its significance in the field. They are also expected to have started performing research in the lab and understand the principles behind the experiments being conducted. The purpose of this course is to enable the student to get familiar with the research topic and take the first steps in thesis research. The students are advised to take the initiative to thoroughly understand all the related material of each and every technique and experiment they learn and perform.