Dr. Shruthi S Vembar

Dr. Shruthi S Vembar

Assistant Professor, Molecular Parasitology


Research Focus Key Words

Malaria, Plasmodium, Molecular parasitology, Gene regulation, RNA biology, DNA epigenetic modifications, CRISPR/Cas technologies, Host-parasite interactions, Genomics, Transcriptomics, Epigenomics

Background

Having obtained an Integrated M.Sc. (Hons.) degree in Biological Sciences from BITS-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 Long-Term Fellowship and the ERC’s Marie Curie-Sklodowska International Incoming Fellowship (FP7). Thus began Dr. Vembar’s rendezvous with the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, where she focused on using genome-wide approaches to understand gene regulation at the epigenetic and post-transcriptional levels, and how this affects host-parasite interaction. In 2018, Dr. Vembar returned to India to join IBAB as an Assistant Professor to head a research program in malaria molecular parasitology. She also received the prestigious Ramalingaswami Life Sciences Fellowship from the Department of Biotechnology, India, for the year 2018.

Education

  1. UG/PG: Integrated M.Sc. (Hons.), BITS-Pilani, Pilani, India
  2. Ph.D: University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA

Professional Experience

  1. Post-doctoral Research: Institut Pasteur, Paris, France
  2. At IBAB since December 2018

Research Interests

Dr. Vembar’s team focuses on using omics approaches to understand the molecular basis of interaction between the human host, mosquito vector and the malaria parasite, Plasmodium spp. (i.e., Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium knowlesi). Specifically, her team studies the following:

  1. The role of novel epigenetic DNA modifications, histone modifications and atypical RNA-binding proteins in regulating parasite gene expression and host-parasite interaction.
  2. Population genomics, epigenomics and transcriptomics of malaria parasites and mosquito vectors that are endemic to India
  3. The development of state-of-the-art CRISPR/Cas genomic and transcriptomic engineering technologies to perform forward genetic screens and identify new targets for anti-malarial drug development

Funding

  1. 2022-2025: Co-PI, SERB-Core Research Grant, Department of Science and Technology, India
  2. 2022-2025: PI, DBT-GET Grant, Department of Biotechnology, India
  3. 2021-2024: PI, SERB-Core Research Grant, Department of Science and Technology, India
  4. 2019-2024: Ramalingaswami Life Sciences Fellowship Contingency Grant, Department of Biotechnology, India
  5. 2019-2020: Industrial Research Grant, RL Fine Chem Pvt. Ltd., Bengaluru, India

Group Members

  • Dimple Acharya, PhD student (DBT-JRF; 2019)
  • Seshan D, PhD student (UGC-JRF; 2021)
  • Riya Mahapatra, PhD student (DST-INSPIRE JRF; 2022)
  • Varsha HJ, PhD student (DST-INSPIRE JRF; 2022)
  • Sneha Murthy, Project Assistant (Bio-IT Centre; 2019-)
  • Anitha Bavikatte, Project Assistant (Bio-IT Centre; 2019-)
  • Jaiganesh S, Project Assistant (Former MSc Dissertation Intern from VIT, Vellore; 2021-)
  • Anjani Rao, Project Assistant (2022-)
  • Elvis Christie, DST-JRF (2022-)
  • Sowmiya Ramesh, DBT-Project JRF (2022-)
  • Aabhas Martand, DBT-Project JRF (2022-)
  • Amruta Kulkarni, BTech Dissertation Intern (DY Patil Deemed to be University, Mumbai)
  • Shatabdi Das, MSc Dissertation Intern (Amity University, Gwalior)
  • Monsowi Chakraborty, MSc Dissertation Intern (IBAB)
  • Muskaan Sharma, MSc Dissertation Intern (IBAB)
  • Kanika Bhatia, MSc Dissertation Intern (IBAB)
  • Thrilok Gowda, MSc Dissertation Intern (IBAB)
  • Sowmyaa Sridhar, BTech Summer Intern (PES University, Bengaluru)

Lab alumni

2022

  1. Mohan Govindasamy, Project JRF — now pursuing a PhD at National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland

2021

  1. Ambika Doddamani, Project Assistant — now working at Syngene, Bengaluru
  2. Venkat Mudiyam, Project Assistant — now pursuing a Masters at the University of Bonn, Germany
  3. Kapil Pareek, Project Assistant — now pursuing a PhD at the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen, Germany
  4. Chondamma Bollachettira Vijaya, MSc Dissertation Intern (IBAB) — now purusing a PhD at Helmholtz Zentrum München, Munich, Germany
  5. Aishwarya Rajurkar, MSc Dissertation Intern (IBAB) — now pursuing an internship at IISER-Kolkata
  6. Ramyashree HJ, MSc Dissertation Intern (IBAB) — now working at Strand Life Sciences, Bengaluru
  7. Preshita Dave, BTech Intern (RVCE, Bengaluru) — now pursuing a Masters at Boston University, USA
  8. Tanvi Garg, BTech Intern (IIT-Kharagpur) — degree ongoing

2020

  1. Ria Sonigara, BTech Summer Intern (IIT-BHU) — degree ongoing
  2. Maanasa B, MSc Dissertation Intern (IBAB) — now pursuing a PhD at the University of Lille, France
  3. Vishnu Ashok, MSc Dissertation Intern (IBAB) — now working at JNCASR, Bengaluru
  4. Anshu Chitkara, MSc Dissertation Intern (IBAB) — now working at Novartis, Hyderabad
  5. Devangshu Nandi, MSc Dissertation Intern (IBAB) — now pursuing a Masters at IIT-Gandhinagar
  6. Nisha Madhukar, MSc Dissertation Intern (Banasthali University, Banasthali, Rajasthan) — now working at Syngene, Bengaluru
  7. Venitha Bernard, Project Assistant (Bio-IT Centre) — now working at InStem, Bengaluru

2019

  1. Shilpa Ajit, Project Assistant — now working at Jubilant Biosys Limited, Bengaluru
  2. Zara Anwar, MSc Summer Intern (Dayanand Sagar University, Bengaluru) — now working at Celegence, Bengaluru
  3. Chaitanyaraj Jadeja, MSc Dissertation Intern (IBAB) — now working at Strand Life Sciences, Bengaluru 
  4. Subrata Mishra, MSc Dissertation Intern (IBAB) — now pursuing a PhD at IIT-Mumbai

Publications

  1. Nadig S+, MurthyS, Vandanashree M, Hosahalli SS, Gopal B+ and VembarSS.
    Draft Genome Sequence of Staphylococcus aureus LVP-7 (ST88), a community-associated isolate from an eye infection.
    Microbiol. Resour. Announc. 2021, Feb 18;10(7):e00077-21.
    +Corresponding authors
  2. Rawat M, Kanyal A, Sahasrabudhe S, Vembar SS, Lopez-Rubio JJ, Karmodiya K.
    Histone acetyltransferase PfGCN5 regulates stress responsive and artemisinin resistance related genes in Plasmodium falciparum.
    Sci. Rep. 2021, Jan 13;11(1):852.
    An initial version deposited in biorxiv: https://doi.org/10.1101/679100
  3. Bernard V, Moudgalya S, Reegan D, Sreekanthreddy P, Mohan A, Hosahalli S, Vembar SS+, Ghosh S+.
    Whole Genome Sequences of Aedes aegypti (Linn.) Field Isolates from Southern India. 
    biorxivhttps://doi.org/10.1101/2020.05.08.083949
    +Corresponding authors
  4. Hammam E, Ananda G, Sinha A, Scheidig-Benatar C, Bohec M, Preiser PR, Dedon PC, Scherf A+, Vembar SS+.
    Discovery of a new predominant cytosine DNA modification linked to gene expression in malaria parasites.
    Nucleic Acids Res. 2020.Jan 10;48(1):184-199. 
    +Corresponding authors    
  5. Berglar A+, Vembar SS.
    Past, present and future of malaria prevalance and eradication in the light of climate change. 
    Book chapter in: Elsevier Science’s Encyclopedia of Environmental Health, 2e. 2019.
    +Corresponding author
  6. 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 Rep. 2019 e46331.
    +Corresponding authors
  7. Shurtleff MJ, Itzhak DN, Hussmann JA, Schirle Oakdale NT, Costa EA, Jonikas M, Weibezahn J, Popova KD, Jan CH, Sinitcyn P, Vembar SS, Hernandez H, Cox J, Burlingame AL, Brodsky JL, Frost A, Borner GH+, Weissman JS+.
    The ER membrane protein complex interacts cotranslationally to enable biogenesis of multipass membrane proteins.
    Elife. 2018 May 29;7. pii: e37018. 
    +Corresponding authors
  8. 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
  9. 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.
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. Scherf A+, Malmquist N, Martins RM, Vembar SS, Lopez-Rubio JJ.
    Gene regulation: New insights and possible intervention strategies. 
    Book chapter in: Wiley-IUBMB Series Recent Advances in Malaria. 2016.
    +Corresponding author
  14. Vembar SS+, Macpherson CR, Sismeiro O, Coppée JY, Scherf A+.
    The PfAlba1 RNA-binding protein is an important regulator of translational timing in Plasmodium falciparum blood stages.
    Genome Biol. 2015 Sep 28;16:212.
    +Corresponding authors
  15. 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.
  16. 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
  17. 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 16;285(29):22484-94. Epub 2010 Apr 29.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Feng D, Zhao X, Soromani C, Toikkanen J, Römisch K, Vembar SS, Brodsky JL, Keränen S, Jäntti J.
    The transmembrane domain is sufficient for Sbh1p function, its association with the Sec61 complex, and interaction with Rtn1p.
    J Biol Chem. 2007 Oct 19;282(42):30618-28.

Collaborators

  1. Prof. Pradipsinh Rathod, NIH’s ICEMR-MESA and Univ. of Washington, Seattle, USA
  2. Prof. Artur Scherf, CNRS, INSERM, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France
  3. Dr. Benoit Gamain, CNRS, INSERM, INTS, Paris, France
  4. Dr. Heather Painter, FDA, USA
  5. Dr. Vikram Alwa, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tuebingen, Germany
  6. Dr. Melissa Laird-Smith, University of Louisville, Kentucky, USA
  7. Dr. Sanjay Ghosh, IBAB, Bengaluru, India
  8. Dr. Shubhada Hegde, IBAB, Bengaluru, India
  9. Prof. R. Srivatsan, IBAB, Bengaluru, India
  10. Dr. Daniel Reegan, National Centre for Disease Control, Bengaluru, India
  11. Dr. Krishanpal Karmodiya, IISER-Pune, Pune, India
  12. Dr. Niti Kumar, CSIR-CDRI, Lucknow, India
  13. Prof. B. Gopal, IISc, Bengaluru, India
  14. Prof. Vir Negi, JIPMER, Puducherry, India
  15. Dr. Christina Mary Mariaselvam, JIPMER, Puducherry, India
  16. Dr. Bhaswar Ghosh, IIIT-Hyderabad, India
  17. Dr. Abhilash Mohan, IBAB and Merck Group, Bengaluru, India
  18. Prof. Shailja Singh, JNU, New Delhi, India

Address

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

Phone

285 289 00/01/02, extension 122

Email

ssvembar@ibab.ac.in