Scientist at AFRRI with the Henry M Jackson Foundation, Bethesda
Vidya Prasanna Kumar
Cell culture systems
- Maintenance and growth inhibition assays on in vitro culture for P. falciparum, and test for bioavailability in Caco-2 cell line and cytotoxicity tests in human & murine macrophages, HEK2 (kidney) and HepG2 (hepatocytes) cells.
Cloning, expression and purification of proteins
- Isolation of parasite DNA and mRNA, cDNA synthesis followed by cloning of P. falciparum, M. tuberculosis and human genes
- Hyper-expression of the above genes in various bacterial systems
- Purification of tagged and untagged proteins using FPLC for enzyme assays and crystallization as a core facility
In vitro enzyme assays
- Development of novel assays for enzymes in peptidoglycan synthesis, protein kinases with various readouts such as paper chromatography, spectrophotometry, scintillation proximity and reverse phase HPLC
- Adaptation of enzyme assays to suit HTS and running them on Tecan and Beckman robotics to detect inhibitors. Mechanism of inhibition studies.
In vivo studies
- Establishment of animal model of malaria (in mice and rats) and screen for efficacy of compounds on the disease model. Transfer of this expertise to the veterinarian.
Scientist at AFRRI with the Henry M Jackson Foundation, Bethesda, MD.
Honors and Awards:
- Recipient of Cleo Cross International Student Award in 2011 given by University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
- Recipient of Belle W. Goodman Scholarship in 2011 given by Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
- Recipient of Robberson Research Grant in 2009 given by OU Foundation, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
- Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry given at the Arts and Sciences Student Awards Ceremony in April 2009 and April 2010
- Sooner Heritage Scholarship 2007 – 2011 by University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
- Initiative Award 2002 given by AstraZeneca India for adaptations of short timescale enzyme assays to robotics
- Valuable contribution Award given by AstraZeneca India for Malaria project
- Young Scientist 1998” Award by The Indian Society for Parasitology for the oral presentation at 13th Congress of Parasitology held at Bangalore in February 1999
- National Merit Scholarship in 1983 to support Pre-university & University education in India
Scientist and Co-PI on IACUC protocols: AFRRI, Bethesda, MD (Feb 2015 – present)
Development of medical countermeasures against radiation injury
- Take complete responsibility to plan and conduct studies to screen and develop new countermeasures in murine model for radiation injury
- Development of new methods for detection of biomolecules using ELISA, HPLC and arrays
- Conceptualize and develop murine models to study effects of partial body irradiation using SARRP, LINAC and other radiation sources.
Determination of mechanism of action of the promising countermeasures in the study
- Implement new techniques and software to aid data analysis to identify the mechanism of action of the efficacious candidate drugs
Data analysis and data mining of vast data generated by large sets of genomic and proteomic arrays to identify patterns and relationships to evaluate and understand the mechanism of action of the promising countermeasure
- Writing, editing and implementing IACUC protocols and amendments (Co-PI on most IACUC protocols for which Dr. Sanchita P. Ghosh is the PI)
- Assist PI in writing quarterly/ annual reports, grant proposals and manuscripts
Impact of my research efforts at AFRRI:
- In the event of a nuclear disaster/ accident, identification and development of new radioprotectors would benefit and protect the military personnel and the first responders deployed in the harm’s way. The mitigators of radiation injury would benefit the civilians exposed to the radiation in the event of an accident or a planned radiation therapy.
- The new candidates identified in the murine models could be evaluated in non-human primates progressing to an approval for human use under FDA’s Animal Rule.
- The final goal is to get the approved drug added to the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) for the benefit of the military personnel, the first responders and civilians as a measure of preparedness in the event of a nuclear disaster.
Training and Supervision: AFRRI
- Training the team of coworkers in various animal manipulation techniques (currently certified to train staff in blood collection via inferior vena cava and orogastric administration (oral gavage) of drugs, various laboratory techniques and usage of instruments and analysis of experiments including statistical analysis
- Supervise animal experimentation and in vitro experiments in the lab and documentation of the studies carried out by the group
Honorary responsibility: Treasurer for The Oxygen Club of Greater Washington DC
Actively involved in organizing symposium to celebrate 30th anniversary of the Club