Prospective Ph.D. projects

22-11-2022: Provisional list of candidates eligible for Ph.D. program at MRDG

Important information for Ph.D. applicants interviewing at the Department of MRDG during November 2022.

We encourage you to explore the department webpage to know more about our research.

The following faculty at MRDG are considering accepting PhD students.
Click on the names to open the faculty home page in a new tab.

Prof. Annapoorni Rangarajan

Lab research topic: Cancer Stem Cells

3-dimensional organoid models to study cancer stem cell biology:

Failure of anti-cancer therapy is majorly attributed to the presence of cancer stem cells (CSC) that remain refractory after drug treatment and cause disease relapse. Interaction of cancer cells with the matrix and tumor micorenvironment plays an important role in determining CSC fate and drug resistance. However, routine cell culture in plastic dishes fails to recapitulate the in vivo complexity including 3-dimensionality. This project will aim to develop 3-dimensional models to study epithelial cancer stem cells, interaction with stromal microenvironment, and effect of drugs on CSC fate using promoter-reporter constructs. Novel 3D-bioprinting approaches will be employed in collaboration with Prof. Kaushik Chatterjee (Dept. Materials Engineering, IISc).

Relevant techniques: Cell culture, 3D bioprinting, confocal microscopy, molecular biology, transcriptomics 


De T, Goyal S, Balachander G, Chatterjee K, Kumar P*, Babu K*Rangarajan A*. A Novel Ex Vivo System Using 3D Polymer Scaffold to Culture Circulating Tumor Cells from Breast Cancer Patients Exhibits Dynamic EM Phenotypes. J. Clin. Med. 2019 Sep;8(9):1473. 

Andugulapati SB, Sundararaman A, Lahiry M, Rangarajan A. AMP-activated protein kinase promotes breast cancer stemness and drug resistance. Disease Models & Mechanisms. 2022 Jun 1;15(6):dmm049203.

Paranjape, A.N., Mandal, T., Mukherjee G., Vijaya Kumar, M., Sengupta K. and Rangarajan, A. (2012).Introduction of SV40ER and hTERT into mammospheres generates breast cancer cells with stem cell properties. Oncogene, Apr 12;31(15):1896-909.

Dr. Tanweer Hussain

We are interested in understanding the protein synthesis and its regulation. Although translation initiation is a fundamental and indispensable process, many of its aspects are poorly understood.  We employ biochemical, mutational and structural biology approaches to understand the molecular details of the initial steps of protein synthesis and to figure out how it is regulated. This understanding will be beneficial for treating many human disorders and cancers. Further, it may provide avenues to develop strategies for development of novel therapeutic strategies against bacterial, fungal and viral infection.


Phone: 08022932764 & 08022933676 

Lab webpage:
Laboratory: GB 04, B wing, MRDG 

Selected publications:

Singh J*, Mishra RK*, Shreya AA, Hussain T#, Varshney U#  The initiation factor 3 (IF3) residues interacting with initiator tRNA elbow modulate the fidelity of translation initiation and growth fitness in Escherichia coli. Nucleic Acids Res. (2022) (in-press)

M Afsar, R Narayan, MN Akhtar, Das D, H Rahil, Nagaraj SK, SM Eswarappa, S Tripathi, Hussain T#. Drug targeting Nsp1-ribosomal complex shows antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2. eLife(2022);11:e74877 doi: 10.7554/eLife.74877

Basu I, Gorai B, Chandran T, Maiti PK# and Hussain T# (2022) Selection of start codon during mRNA scanning in eukaryotic translation initiation. Commun Biol. (2022) 5:587; doi:

Ll├ícer JL*#, Hussain T*#,  Dong J*,  Villamayor L, Gordiyenko Y, Hinnebusch AG# (2021) Large-scale movement of eIF3 domains during translation initiation modulate start codon selection. Nucleic Acids Res. (2021): 49 (20): 11491-11511. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkab908. 

Kumar R, Afsar M, Khandelwal N, Chander Y, Riyesh T, Dedar RK, Gulati BR, Pal Y, Barua S, Tripathi BN#, Hussain T#, Kumar N#. Emetine suppresses SARS-CoV-2 replication by inhibiting interaction of viral mRNA with eIF4E. Antiviral Res. (2021):189,105056. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2021.105056. 

Mishra RK, Datey A, Hussain T#. mRNA recruiting eIF4 factors involved in protein synthesis and its regulation. Biochemistry (2020): 59: 34-46. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.9b00788.

Dr. Sona Rajakumari

Dr. Shantanu P Shukla

The research group studies the role of the microbiome in host nutritional physiology and the emerging consequences on host dietary adaptation. 

Research in the lab is placed at the intersection of molecular biology, metagenomics, microbiology, insect physiology and ecology.

Ph.D. students can choose to work on projects involving amplicon and metagenome sequencing, transcriptomics, bioinformatics, microscopy, metabolite assays, and host-microbiome evolution .

Currently, we are interested in characterising the microbiome of various insects to elucidate the molecular pathways involved in digestion and supplementation of essential nutrients. The projects will provide possibilities to acquire a broad set of skills combining analyses at the molecular, cellular and organismal level, quantitative and statistical methodologies, and provide opportunities for collaborations. 

For more information visit the lab page at

or send an email to