Academic interests

I work on different objects now, but my primary focus has been on icosahedral virus capsid structure determination and function correlation. I have dabbled with the biophysics of capsid assembly, disassembly and conformational variation as well. So far, I have dealt with Adeno-Associated virus and Hepatitis B virus structures in depth. I have also been involved with some other parvoviruses, vaccinia virus, poliovirus, the Chp2 chlamydiaphage, HIV and maize streak virus collaboratively. I have worked on a few other proteins but they are not as much fun as viruses. My primary tool-set includes crystallography, Cryo-electron microscopy, Small-angle X-ray and neutron scattering, Circular Dichroism, chromatography and data-mining based computational tools but I tend to use other biochemical and biophysical methods where necessary. It is hard to decide to be more object-driven or method-driven; so far I have had the good fortune of keeping the drives in equilibrium. I am fascinated by the large variety in the life-cycles and mechanisms of function between seemingly-similar viruses and the amazing similarity between dissimilar viruses. It is very interesting to note how these viruses evolved to be this way. I am particularly drawn to the role of the virus capsid in these processes - how a virus capsid can be the determinant of infectivity and replication and genome protection and pathogenesis and a whole much more.

From a distance, I also like and follow molecular biology, metabolic engineering, enzymology and spectroscopy. Just very cool science. I love teaching and enjoy teaching-oriented research programs. I have had teaching opportunities at my workplace and I do make the most of them. I believe that academia should always be teaching and learning driven over a drive for commercially viable results, patents and publications. I have also learnt that a healthy respect for the industry is good for academia. 

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