The immune response at the retina is unique. While much has been learned from extrapolating the knowledge gained from studying immunity of central nervous tissue, there are cells and interactions which occur only at the retina. We use multiple molecular and imaging tools to assess and dissect the major contributors to retinal immunology. Inherently, the retinal immune response is geared to promote an anti-inflammatory milieu. Muller glia, the predominant glial cell at the retina, are critical in the innate immune response. Extensive molecular studies from our group shows their role in regulating immune response only when these cells are activated; when retinal tissue is under challenge from infectious conditions, such as TB and HIV. To this end, we have worked extensively with the endocannabinoid system at the retina. Like the CNS, the retina is peculiarly sensitive to equilibrating immunity and tolerance, as a measure of immune privilege. In this context components of the blood retinal barrier and secreted factors from retinal cells become important. Neuroimmune communications therefore represent a new avenue in controlling retinal immune homeostasis. Applying molecular and cellular techniques we investigate, etiology and pathology of different infectious eye disorders with an immune arm, including where peripheral immune system play roles in exacerbating disease progression. In collaboration with theoretical scientists, I also work with the C.elegans nematode. This model system allows functional dissection at cellular level. Exhaustive developmental and neuronal connectivity studies in this nematode also allows constructing a dynamical neural network simulator for the entire C. elegans somatic nervous system.
Our lab began its activities at Vision Research Foundation in 2007. We are interested in studying the different structural components of retinal immunology and their roles in both innate and adaptive immunity in the context of immune privilege. Our work is important in finding biomarkers and deciding monitoring policies inpatients with infectious diseases such as HIV.
Selected Publications and Books
NIH Office of AIDS Research Scholarship
2009 - 2010
ICMR International Fellowship for Young Biomedical Scientist
Visiting Fellow, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore
[Lab] Initiative Award, SANOFI-AVENTIS
1999 - 2001
Research Fellow, Indian Institute of Science (IISc.)
CSIR-UGC Research Fellow (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and University Grant Commission National Eligibility Test
Vision Research Foundation
No. 41 (old 18), College Road,
Chennai - 600 006, Tamil Nadu , India.
Ph No: +91-44-42271500,
Fax No: +91-44-28254180