Our interests lie at the interface of chemistry and biology with particular focuses on structure-based drug design, bacterial signaling and regulation, chemical cross-linking development, and polymorphism in pharmaceutical co-crystals.


Quorum sensing

Quorum sensing (QS) is used by bacteria to sense their population density and accordingly regulate the expression of a myriad of genes involved in bacterial group behavior, including virulence factor production, biofilm formation, and toxin production. This communication is based on the secretion and recognition of small signal molecules called autoinducers. QS regulated phenotypes are essential for the successful colonization of diverse habitats, and govern the nature of a symbiotic or pathogenic relationship between the bacteria and their environment. Thus, inhibition of this crucial process has been proposed as a promising strategy to combat bacterial infections, and several successful applications have been reported. Our goal is disrupting such communication to  pathogenic bacteria. In order to do so, we worked on elucidating the molecular mechanisms underpinning these processes, and in parallel, designing new-targeted compounds to interfere with these communication pathways.


Chemical cross-linking for protein-protein interaction studies

We want to understand how proteins are correctly targeted to cell membranes and subsequently cross or integrate into them. More than a third of the proteome of all cells resides in membranes or is secreted across lipid bilayers. Membrane proteins catalyze solute transport, energy conversion, sensing and signal transduction and cell division. 30-50% of the top drug targets comprise membrane proteins such as G-protein coupled receptors and ion channels.

To achieve these goals, we are developing and applying new technologies that bridge the fields of chemistry and biology, since we believe that the most significant biomedical problems require creative multidisciplinary approaches for their solution. For instance, we are currently designing and synthesizing new cross-linking reagents in order to “freeze” the steps involving the interaction of preproteins with different components from the Sec machinery. With the ultimate goal of unveiling the elusive mechanism of how proteins are sorted in the cytoplasm. 

X-ray Crystallography, Polymorphism and Pharmaceutical cocrystals

Crystal engineering principles are amenable to improve the physico-chemical properties of the materials, especially in the pharmaceutical industry useful to improve the properties of the drug molecule such as solubility, dissolution rate and bioavilability via formation of salts, cocrystals, solvates, hydrates and screening of polymorphs etc.. without modifying the chemical bonds. Therefore, to further strengthen the field, our research group applied these principles which exist in the crystal engineering were employed to alter the solubility and dissolution properties of solid forms. 

 Research & Development of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API)

Our research projects mainly focused on synthetic organic chemistry which is directly connected to the Pharmaceutical industry. These ongoing projects involve design and synthesis of small molecules followed by biological evaluation. Our group contributed to many challenging research projects which provided us with a solid foundation in drug discovery, which includes rational drug design, multi-step synthetic organic chemistry, biochemistry, and pharmacology. We are currently working on synthesis of diverse class of heterocyclic compound libraries and developing efficient, economical and greener alternatives involving transition metal-catalyzed C-C bond formation, C-N bond cleavage, Lewis acid mediated C-C, C-O and C-N bond formation. 


 CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory

 Science and Engineering Research Board (DST, Govt. of India)