Prof. P Appa Rao, Vice-Chancellor of University of Hyderabad (UoH) inaugurated the Laboratory of Translational Medicine in the old science complex on the campus. Dr. Hridayesh Prakash, who is a Ramanujan Fellow in the University, is the Principal Investigator and group leader of this laboratory. He is assisted by Dr. Vinodh Nadella, Research Associate, DRDO project; Dr. Lalita Sharma, Research Associate, DBT project; Mrs Aparna Mohanty, Research Assistant, DST Ramanujan grant; Mr. Varadendra Mazumdar, Research Assistant, DST Ramanujan project and Mr. Nandu Singh.
Dr. Prakash who is the group leader says, “I have been exploring macrophages as my research model for more than a decade in various discease models like hemopoietic syndrome, C. pneumoniae and mycobacterial pulmonary infection, ALRTI and pancreatic cancers. Macrophages are unique, ubiquitous and integrated part of both innate and adaptive immunity as well as components of tissue homeostatic apparatus. Both peripheral and tissue macrophages together constitute the Reticulo-endothelium system which play major role in sensing pathogens and tumor antigens for their effective eradication. Out of several immune cells, the macrophages display a range of plasticity in their phonotype in different pathological conditions which qualify them as one of potential target cells of body for the management of various human diseases clinically. Due to their plastic nature, these cells are literally involved in most of immunological and physiological process”.
Dr. Prakash further adds, “We are unraveling various molecular events which are responsible for plastic nature of macrophages and could enable Chlamydia and Mycobacterial pulmonary pathogens to escape from their eradication by these macrophages during chronic and persistent infections using transgenic and knock out mouse model systems. Our second major research focus is to unravel the impact of macrophage polarization during persistent infection induced cancer development in the host.”
This laboratory has received funding from DST, DBT and DRDO to the tune of Rs: 2.10 crores for a period of three years.
Speaking on the future vision of this laboratory Dr. Prakash says, “Our recent publications have shown M1dim phenotype of cIAP-1 KO and M2 polarization of XIAP KO (unpublished data) infected lung and alveolar macrophages during advance time point of Chlamydia pneumoniae pulmonary infection. This provides evidence for the first time that dysregulation of apoptosis pathways during the course of infection leads to alternative activation of M1 macrophage to their M2 phenotype. This seems to be the potential link to the sensitization for infection and may be for cancer development also. Therefore my vision lies mainly in the management of M1/M2 imbalance to minimize the risk of having cancer by chronic and persistent lung infection with intracellular pathogens like Chlamydia or Mycobacteria. This may be achieved by targeting major signaling pathways which drive M2 phenotype and are involved in cancer development e.g. Sphingolipids, Th2/Th17 responses.”
He further adds, “In the frame of above, our second major goal is to scan molecular events which are important for the initialization of polarization of M1 phenotype of macrophages to M2 during cancer development and to explore how selective activation of M1 macrophages could improve existing anti-tumor immune therapies in both mouse and human model of tumor with special emphasis on pancreatic, colorectal, lung cancers and various gastric inflammatory diseases like IBD which are responsible for global mortality.”
To achieve above goals, Dr. Prakash is collaborating with JALMA, Agra and NIRT Chennai (ICMR TB referral centers) and INMAS (DRDO organization) for the clinical studies.
Dr. Prakash can be reached on email: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org