Group research focus
My research is focused on elucidating the molecular mechanism of the O-antigen modification in Shigella flexneri, studying the molecular biology of serotype-converting bacteriophages and developing strategies for vaccine design against shigellosis.
My group discovered the genetic basis of serotype diversity in S. flexneri by identifying bacteriophage-encoded serotype-converting factors (O-antigen modifying acetyl and glucosyltransferases) from different serotypes of S. flexneri. These findings opened avenues for future research aiming to develop Shigella vaccines with potential to offer protection against multiple serotypes.
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
I enjoy sharing my enthusiasm and passion for microbiology with students. It gives me a sense of accomplishment when I see them develop knowledge and skills in microbiology.
Who is your science hero?
Joshua Lederberg (1925-2008) – a bacterial geneticist. He was able to show for the first time that bacteria can exchange DNA by a process called mating or conjugation. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology/medicine for his pioneering work in bacterial genetics when he was only 33 years old.
- This profile originally appeared in the RSB newsletter, Issue 68, September 2015.
- Verma group - bacterial and bacteriophage genetics, and vaccine development.