Shruthi S. Vembar

Shruthi S. Vembar

Faculty Scientist

Research Focus Key Words

Malaria, Plasmodium, Molecular parasitology, Gene regulation, RNA biology, DNA epigenetic modifications, Genetic diversity


Having obtained an M.Sc. (Hons.) degree in Biological Sciences from BITS-Pilani, Pilani, India, Dr. Shruthi S. Vembar moved to the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA, for her PhD work. For her thesis, she studied the molecular basis of Hsp70-Hsp40 interactions in budding yeast under the guidance of Dr. Jeffrey L. Brodsky. She then moved to Institut Pasteur, Paris, France, to work with Dr. Artur Scherf for her post-doctoral studies, which was supported by prestigious fellowships such as the EMBO LTF and Marie-Curie IIF and during which, she focused on understanding gene regulation in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Dr. Vembar joined IBAB in 2018 as a Faculty Scientist to head a research program in malaria molecular parasitology. She also received the Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowship from DBT for the year 2018.


  1. Integrated M.Sc. (Hons.), BITS-Pilani, Pilani, India
  2. Ph.D: University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA
  3. Post-doctoral Research: Institut Pasteur, Paris, France

Professional Experience

At IBAB since 2018.

Research Interest Profile

Dr. Shruthi Vembar is interested in understanding the molecular basis of gene regulation in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Specifically, she wants to study the role of atypical RNA-binding proteins, which are abundant in Plasmodium spp. parasites, and novel DNA modifications in parasite gene regulation and host-parasite interaction. Dr. Vembar plans to use molecular, cellular, biochemical, genetic (with state-of-the-art genome editing tools such as CRISPR/Cas9-Cas13) and omic approaches to understand these phenomena. She is also interested in the genetic diveristy of malaria parasites that are endemic to India and how host factors contribute to maintaining and/or amplifying this diversity. The ultimate goal is to identify new targets for anti-malarial drug and vaccine development.

Group Members

  1. Ambika Doddamani
  2. Shilpa Ajit
  3. Chaitanyaraj Jadeja (MSc intern)
  4. Subrata Mishra  (MSc intern)

Publications and Patents (select)

  1. Herrera-Solorio AM, Vembar SS, Macpherson CR, Lozano-Amado D, Meza GR, Xoconostle-Cazares B, Martins RM, Chen P, Vargas M, Scherf A+, Hernandez-Rivas R+.
    Clipped histone H3 is integrated into nucleosomes of DNA replication genes in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. EMBO Reports, In press. +Corresponding authors
  2. Zanghì G, Vembar SS, Baumgarten S, Ding S, Guizetti J, Bryant JM, Mattei D, Jensen ATR, Rénia L, Goh YS, Sauerwein R, Hermsen CC, Franetich JF, Bordessoulles M, Silvie O, Soulard V, Scatton O, Chen P, Mecheri S, Mazier D+, Scherf A+.
    A Specific PfEMP1 Is Expressed in P. falciparum Sporozoites and Plays a Role in Hepatocyte Infection. Cell Rep. 2018 Mar 13;22(11):2951-2963. +Corresponding authors
  3. Sierra-Miranda M, Vembar SS, Delgadillo DM, Ávila-López PA, Herrera-Solorio AM, Lozano Amado D, Vargas M, Hernandez-Rivas R. PfAP2Tel, harbouring a non-canonical DNA-binding AP2 domain, binds to Plasmodium falciparum telomeres. Cell Microbiol. 2017 Sep;19(9). Epub 2017 May 3.
  4. Cubi R*, Vembar SS*, Biton A, Franetich JF, Bordessoulles M, Sossau D, Zanghi G, Bosson-Vanga H, Benard M, Moreno A, Dereuddre-Bosquet N, Le Grand R, Scherf A, Mazier D.
    Laser capture microdissection enables transcriptomic analysis of dividing and quiescent liver stages of Plasmodium relapsing species. Cell Microbiol. 2017 Aug;19(8). Epub 2017 Mar 13. *First authors
  5. Vembar SS+, Seetin M, Lambert C, Nattestad M, Schatz MC, Baybayan P, Scherf A, Smith ML+.
    Complete telomere-to-telomere de novo assembly of the Plasmodium falciparum genome through long-read (>11 kb), single molecule, real-time sequencing. DNA Res. 2016 Aug;23(4):339-51. Epub 2016 Jun 26. +Corresponding authors
  6. Vembar SS+, Droll D, Scherf A.
    Translational regulation in blood stages of the malaria parasite Plasmodium spp.: systems-wide studies pave the way. Wiley Interdiscip Rev RNA. 2016 Nov;7(6):772-792. Epub 2016 May 26. Review. +Corresponding author
  7. Vembar SS+, Macpherson CR, Sismeiro O, Coppée JY, Scherf A+.
    The PfAlba1RNA-binding protein is an important regulator of translational timing in Plasmodium falciparum blood stages. Genome Biol. 2015 Sep 28;16:212. +Corresponding authors
  8. Vembar SS, Scherf A, Siegel TN.
    Noncoding RNAs as emerging regulators of Plasmodium falciparum virulence gene expression. Curr Opin Microbiol. 2014 Aug;20:153-61. Epub 2014 Jul 12. Review.
  9. Chêne A*, Vembar SS*, Rivière L, Lopez-Rubio JJ, Claes A, Siegel TN, Sakamoto H, Scheidig-Benatar C, Hernandez-Rivas R, Scherf A.
    PfAlbas constitute a new eukaryotic DNA/RNA-binding protein family in malaria parasites. Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Apr;40(7):3066-77. Epub 2011 Dec 13. *First authors
  10. Vembar SS, Jonikas MC, Hendershot LM, Weissman JS, Brodsky JL. J domain co-chaperone specificity defines the role of BiP during protein translocation. J Biol Chem. 2010 Jul 6;285(29):22484-94. Epub 2010 Apr 29.
  11. Vembar SS, Jin Y, Brodsky JL, Hendershot LM.
    The mammalian Hsp40 ERdj3 requires its Hsp70 interaction and substrate-binding properties to complement various yeast Hsp40-dependent functions. J Biol Chem. 2009 Nov 20;284(47):32462-71. Epub 2009 Sep 11.
  12. Vembar SS, Brodsky JL.
    One step at a time: endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2008 Dec;9(12):944-57. Epub 2008 Nov 12. Review.

Research Grants

Ramalingswami Re-entry Fellowship Contingency Grant = 2019-2023 (5 yrs)


Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology
Biotech Park, Electronic City Phase I,
Bengaluru 560100,


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