Rajagopalan, Malini, Ph.D.

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Ph.D, 1986, The University of Delhi, India

Research Interest:

Mycobacterium tuberculosis multiplication: Players and Pathways.

Current Projects:

  • Proliferation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
  • Regulation of cell cycle of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Lay Summary:

Infections with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) are responsible for active tuberculosis in 14 million people worldwide and tuberculosis continues to be a leading cause of death due to a single infectious agent. The deadly synergy of tuberculosis with HIV/AIDS combined with the worldwide spread of MDR- and XDR- tuberculosis emphasizes the need for new effective and faster acting TB drugs to provide shorter (and less toxic) therapy regimens. A hallmark of tuberculosis is latency/dormancy where the bacterium maintains low turnover rate without causing any disease. While it is known that the lipid-rich thick cell walls allow the pathogen to withstand the actions of antibiotics and antimicrobial peptides, the bacterial factors regulating the entry into and exit from dormancy are not completely understood. Thus, studies on pathways responsible for bacterial multiplication can provide critical insights into the survival mechanisms used by Mtb.

Research Overview:

We have been studying the cell cycle of Mtb with a goal of identifying key players that can serve as potential drug targets. Over the past decade, we have uncovered several novel aspects of Mtb multiplication and identified some novel protein engaged in the process (see publications). Some of our current work involves evaluating the role of these proteins on survival of Mtb in macrophage and animal models. Other ongoing studies are focused on understanding the regulation of Mtb cell cycle using biochemical and genetic approaches.

Selected Papers and Abstracts:

NOTICE: Protected health information is subject to electronic disclosure.