Dr. RACHANA BANERJEE

Assistant Professor

Centre for Health Science & Technology

email: rachana@jisiasr.org

Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=CBsU258AAAAJ&hl=en

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Structural biology and Bioinformatics, CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata.

Phd: Department of Biophysics, Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India.

Professional Engagements:

2019 – Present: Assistant Professor, JIS Institute of Advanced Studies and Research Kolkata.

2016-2019: DBT Research-Associate, Department of Structural biology and Bioinformatics, CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata.

Research Topics:

Molecular Evolution, Extremophilic adaptations, Host-virus interaction, Bacterial Pathogenesis, Comparative Genomics, Human Microbiome.

Research Focus:

The genomic and proteomic signature pattern of an organism not only influences its phylogenetic arrangement, but also the mode of lifestyle to which it is adapted. Today with the advent of genomics and high throughput sequencing technologies, we are able to elucidate a completely different view of biology and therefore, I have concentrated on computational data mining approaches to evaluate the relevant information contained in the myriad of available data in a significant approach. My primary research interest involves the following four topics.

  1. Resolving the intricacies of evolution of genes and genomes, struggling to survive and inhabit under stressed conditions.

Microbes are known for their unique ability to adapt to varying lifestyle and environment, even to the extremely adverse ones. My studies involving few extremophilic bacterial groups have revealed specific genomic and proteomic signatures that have helped them to get acclimatized in their distinct lifestyles or ecological niches.

  1. Proposing a model to typify a viral strain from the perspective of its pandemic causing potential.

I worked over the first pandemic of this decade in 2009, caused by the H1N1 virus (swine flu) and observed a particular pattern of amino acid usage in them that provides them evolutionary significance and biochemical basis of the selective advantage to hemagglutinin (HA) genes in 2009. This assisted the H1N1 virus in having the potential to become infectious and enunciating a global menace to public health. I also found that the increased potential for antibody escape to enhance pathogenicity for the H1N1 samples of 2013 and 2014.

  1. Analyzing the effects of host factors that can govern a viral infection.

I have found that the genes, coding for the env glycoproteins, experience severe selection constraints from the host due to their constant exposure to the host immune system and thereby, suggested that the env gene evolution occurs mainly by negative selection with the occurrence of mutation that might
not reach fixation in the viral population.

  1. Analyzing genomic signatures of the pathogenic microbes, which are evolving their genetic constructions frequently to get adapted against the adverse conditions generated by their host-immune system or by the antibiotics taken by their hosts to fight against the infectious disease caused by these microbes.

 I analyzed the key determinants for rapid evolution of Vibrio cholerae, specially targeting its genetically and phenotypically varied pandemic clones found in Asia and Africa during the last decade. I have found various mobile genetic elements to be responsible for the evolution of this cholera pathogen, which can be used as a marker of differentiation of all seventh pandemic clones of this pathogen with very similar core genome. Fast evolution of V. cholerae certainly has pointed towards the someway irrational use of antibiotics against this pathogen.

 Currently, I aim towards the following research goals:

  1. Interpreting molecular signatures in microbial genomes responsible for hospital-acquired or nosocomial infection, signifying their evolutionary and adaptation strategies.

 These groups of microbial genomes, with restricted pathogenic ability or “opportunistic pathogens” fail to infect healthy individuals; rather they require immuno-compromised individuals to induce disease. I am interested to explore new horizons related to genomic diversities, speciation as well as host resistance features in these groups of microbial genomes.

I also aspire to develop effective strategies to prevent infections as well as to predict the type of infections caused by the opportunistic pathogens in an immune-compromised host, through studying the evolutionary pattern of drug resistance, disease progression and host adaptation in chronically infected patients.

  1. Determining the functional attributes of the human microbiome (collective genetic material of microbiota), essential to infer their role in host metabolism and disease.

 I aim to identify molecular biomarkers to accurately classify a particular disease, by correlating the taxonomic and metabolomic profile variation of the microbiome for both diseased and healthy state.

 Journal Publications:

  1. Gene duplication and deletion, not horizontal transfer, drove intra-species mosaicism of Bartonella henselae. R Banerjee, O Shine, V Rajachandran, G Krishnadas, MF Minnick, S Paul, S Chattopadhyay. Genomics, 112 (1), 467-471, 2019.
  2. HIV progression depends on codon and amino acid usage profile of envelope protein and associated host-genetic influence. A Roy, R Banerjee, S Basak. Frontiers in microbiology, 8, 1083, 2017.
  3. Similarity of currently circulating H1N1 virus with the 2009 pandemic clone: viability of an imminent pandemic. R Banerjee, A Roy, S Das, S Basak. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 32, 107-112, 2015.
  4. Molecular characterization influencing metal resistance in the Cupriavidus/Ralstonia P Chakraborti, R Banerjee, A Roy, S Mandal, S Mukhopadhyay. Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics. 33 (11), 2330-2346, 2015.
  5. Deconstruction of Archaeal genome depict strategic consensus in core pathways coding sequence assembly. A Pal, R Banerjee, UK Mondal, S Mukhopadhyay, AK Bothra. PloS one, 10 (2), e0118245, 2015.
  6. Distinct molecular features facilitating ice-binding mechanisms in hyperactive antifreeze proteins closely related to an Antarctic sea ice bacterium. R Banerjee, P Chakraborti, R Bhowmick, S Mukhopadhyay. Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics, 33 (7), 1424-1441, 2015.
  7. Dynamics in genome evolution of Vibrio cholera. R Banerjee, B Das, GB Nair, S Basak. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 23, 32-41, 2014.
  8. Genomic and proteomic signatures of radiation and thermophilic adaptation in the Deinococcus-Thermus R Banerjee, A Roy, S Mukhopadhyay. Int. J. Pharm. Pharm. Sci, 6, 287-300, 2014.
  9. Conserved C-terminal nascent peptide binding domain of HYPK facilitates its chaperone-like activity. S Raychaudhuri, R Banerjee, S Mukhopadhyay, NP Bhattacharyya. Journal of biosciences, 39 (4), 659-672, 2014.
  10. Evolutionary patterning of hemagglutinin gene sequence of 2009 H1N1 pandemic. R Banerjee, A Roy, F Ahmad, S Das, S Basak. Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics, 29 (4), 733-742, 2012.
  11. Niche specific amino acid features within the core genes of the genus Shewanella. R Banerjee, S Mukhopadhyay. Bioinformation, 8 (19), 938, 2012.
  12. Evolutionary perspective on the origin of Haitian cholera outbreak strain. A Dasgupta, R Banerjee, S Das, S Basak. Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics, 30 (3), 338-346, 2012.
  13. Codon usage and gene expression pattern of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia R551-3 for pathogenic mode of living. R Banerjee, D Roy. Biochemical and biophysical research communications, 390 (2), 177-181, 2009.
  14. Influence of domain architecture and codon usage pattern on the evolution of virulence factors of Vibrio cholera. S Basak, R Banerjee, I Mukherjee, S Das. Biochemical and biophysical research communications, 379 (4), 803-805, 2009.
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