The National Centre for Biological Sciences is delighted to welcome Shruthi Viswanath, who joins the Centre as its newest faculty member.
Shruthi's research is in the area of computational structural biology. She focuses on modeling the three-dimensional structures of protein complexes, assemblies, and larger cell components using integrative methods, combining complementary experimental and computational methods to determine the structures. The broad goal of her field is to get a comprehensive structural understanding of cells at multiple scales and times.
During her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California San Francisco, Shruthi led a multi-lab collaborative effort to determine the structure of the yeast centrosome using integrative modeling. The structure informed how centrosomes assemble and change size during the cell cycle. she was also instrumental in developing key modeling methods, including those for validating integrative models and determining how they should be represented. Prior to that, during Shruthi's PhD at the University of Texas at Austin, she developed methods for determining in-silico structures of protein-protein complexes (e.g., enzyme-inhibitor or antibody-antigen) using large-scale machine learning. She applied these methods to study the amyloid precursor protein, implicated in Alzheimer's disease.
In her own laboratory at NCBS, Shruthi will characterize the structures of membrane protein assemblies; her initial focus will be on assemblies in cell-cell junctions. These assemblies are responsible for heart and epithelial tissue integrity. Their structures can explain the molecular mechanism of adhesiveness in tissues, as well as rationalize the molecular basis of mutations in heart and skin diseases. She will also continue to develop methods that make modeling more accurate and precise, applicable to larger systems and new types of experimental data.