Central nervous system (CNS) is a collection of complex group of cells that co-exist to carryout the function of impulse conduction to intelligence and cognitive functions. The simplest functional unit of CNS comprises the neuron and its supporting cells. For a neuron to engage in proper conduction of impulses (a form of current), the axon, an extension of neuron that conducts the impulse requires adequate insulation. This insulating sheath called myelin is a membranous extension synthesized and delivered by oligodendrocytes, one of the supporting cells of CNS. The meticulously organized myelin is wrapped around the axon by the concerted action of both oligodendrocyte and the underlying axon leading to proper conduction of impulses. Communication between the two is critical for the mutual survival and function. In many disorders affecting the CNS, to name a few, such as alzheimerís disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), schizophrenia and other neurodegenerative disorders found in India, either axon or oligodendrocytes or both are affected.
Currently our research is focused on the molecular and biochemical mechanisms involved in maintenance, repair and damage of myelin and axon; the very components that are severely affected in many neurodegenerative disorders that affect large number of young adults with more than 2.5 million casualties world wide. Achieving early detection and functional recovery following myelin-axonal damage has important clinical significance. In this regard, recently we have developed an innovative technique by which we could detect potential biochemical and immunological molecule that are found in the CSF of patients with demyelinating disorders such as diabetic neuropathy, multiple sclerosis or peripheral neuropathy. Apart from the potential of these molecules in the understanding, treatment and diagnosis of these neurodegenerative disorders, the technique at large could serve as a platform for the analysis of other brain disorders such as tropical spastic paraplegia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia and other demyelinating disorders prevalent in India. Based on our findings, the goal is to identify:
Applications are sought from CSIR/UGC qualified students who are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in my lab by email.
- Identification of biomarkers in neurodegenerative disorders and the functional significance of identified molecules in the development of diagnostics and clinically relevant therapeutical agents to treat brain related disorders that affect axon and myelin.
- Role of autoantibodies in inducing biochemical degradation of myelin and axons.
- Development of an invitro technique to study the process of molecular architecture involved in myelination by co-culturing of oligodendrocytes and neurons generated from stem cells.