ESR 14 Rechal Kumar, University of Exeter, Exeter

Prof. Michael Schrader Lab, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom

Supervisor: Prof. Michael Schrader

I received my Bachelor’s degree from St. Philomena’s College, Mysore, India. Due to my unconditional passion towards Microbiology, I pursued a MSc in Microbiology from the University of Mysore, Karnataka, India. During my Post-Graduation studies, I worked at the Defence Food Research Laboratory, Ministry of Defence, India (Project: “Identification, molecular characterization and expression analysis of a novel protein, Beta2 toxin from Clostridium perfringens”). During this period, I had the opportunity to improve my skills and ideas in the fields of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Microbiology and Immunology. Later on, I started my career as a Research Associate at Syngene International Limited, Bangalore, India. I was part of the integrated drug discovery program, where I was screening small molecule inhibitors that target a couple of Kinases through various cell-free and cell-based assays. A major part of my work involved high-throughput screening of small molecule inhibitors of kinases on luminescence and TR-FRET platforms, as well as profiling in cell-based assays.

Project title: The peroxisome –ER membrane contact sites in humans

Peroxisomes are key metabolic organelles, which must communicate and interact extensively with their environment to exchange metabolites and coordinate cellular responses. Membrane contact sites, where membranes of two organelles are physically tethered to enable rapid transfer of small molecules, enable organelle communication and are crucial for coordination of cellular functions and hence human health. Research on contact sites and transport proteins is a challenging, upcoming field in current cell biology.

We have identified novel peroxisomal proteins, which are involved in these processes, but it is still unclear, how these components mediate and regulate organelle cooperation. This 3 year research project aims to investigate the newly discovered peroxisome – ER membrane contact sites in mammalian cells. Studies will include the identification and characterization of interaction partners and regulators, the development of models and techniques for the analysis of lipid transfer between the organelles, and studies to address the physiological role of these contact sites in health and disease conditions.

Two major goals of my research project:

  • To identify and characterize interaction partners and regulators of the novel peroxisome-ER MCS mediated by the ACBD4/5-VAPA/B tether in humans
  • To develop and establish models and techniques for the analysis of lipid transfer between the ER and peroxisomes

I aim to complete this project with lots of contribution to the human health and disease. I look forward to improve my knowledge in the field of molecular cell biology and lipid biochemistry. 

I love spending my time with family and friends. My hobby is mostly gardening when I am at home, and cooking. I like listening to devotional songs and walking on a beach side.

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grant number 812968