We are broadly interested in studying biological roles of innate immune cells in the brain. Microglia, the brain-resident innate immune cells contribute to neuronal circuit formation during brain development. These cells are also known to trigger neuroinflammation and neuronal cell death in aging and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Multiple Sclerosis (MS) etc. In our laboratory, we employ an integrated research approach by combining methods from synthetic chemistry, chemical biology, immunology and neuroscience to investigate and modulate the function of microglial cells in health and disease.

The four main research areas that we are currently focusing are:
  1. Design and development of new chemical tools for studying microglia and macrophages in vivo
  2. Chemical biology approaches for reprogramming harmful microglial cells in the CNS
  3. Mechanistic investigations of microglial activation and immune suppression in the context of aggressive brain tumor- glioblastoma
  4. Chemical biology approaches for engineering synaptic connections
For our research, we will use 2D & 3D co-culture systems, larval zebrafish, and mice as model organisms. To visualize in vivo dynamics and functions of immune cells, we will use high-resolution fluorescence microscopy and whole animal imaging techniques.