Dr. Shilpa Jamwal received her Ph.D. (JNU, Jaipur 2013) in Biotechnology working in the Immunology Group at ICGEB, New Delhi. Her research focus involved understanding Host – Pathogen interactions in cells infected with strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). She approached this problem through an integrated multi-dimensional approach, which subsequently yielded novel insights into the molecular interplay that facilitate adaptation of virulent mycobacteria within the hostile intracellular milieu of the host macrophage. Intensive ultrastructural analysis employing Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), coupled with Confocal microscopy imaging and proteome analysis uncovered prominent alterations in the structural and functional dynamics at the organelle level of host cell. Importantly, Shilpa could correlate altered functional dynamics of host cell mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum to the observed ultrastructural changes reflecting initiation of the mitochondrial triggered death pathway. After completion of her PhD, Shilpa continued in the same lab as a post – doctoral fellow to exploit her earlier findings to define correlates of mycobacterial virulence. These studies proved significant as they revealed the evolutionary plasticity in the adaptation strategies that Mtb, employs for survival in the host macrophage. By probing pathogen-induced regulation of the host cell metabolic machinery, Shilpa identified that mycobacterial virulence was exercised through manipulation of a unique subset of host pathways. Further detailing then led to elucidation of how the adaption mechanisms are recalibrated by pathogen, to produce the phenotypic variability seen in infected individuals. These works have been acknowledged by reputed international journals.
To pursue her interest in probing cellular mechanisms, and also to exploit her expertise in imaging techniques, she joined DDRC in 2014 to lead the High Content Screening team. Her endeavor here is to establish and develop a robust high content screening platform, and design throughput screening assays to accelerate and strengthen the drug discovery pipeline. Employing the state-of-the-art facility, Shilpa is focused on identifying new chemical entities through screening of compounds (synthetic and natural) with potential therapeutic value for treatment of the metabolic syndrome and related complications. In addition, her interests also are to decipher the events leading to adipose tissue dysfunction in metabolic syndrome. This involves delineating early perturbations and markers in adipose dysfunction mediating obesity driven diabetes. Her intent in this exercise is to support the drug development efforts at DDRC by identifying the key players/targets that drive the initiation of adipose dysfunction.