Prof. Udaykumar Ranga
Dr Udayakumar Ranga has a broad background in microbiology and immunology with special training and expertise in the molecular biology of HIV, SARS, and several other viruses and bacteria of clinical importance. He has been conducting HIV research for the last 35 years. His research focuses on HIV-1C, emphasising how the subtype-specific molecular differences might influence the biological properties of HIV genetic subtypes. His first publication from India (Ranga U et al., J Virol, 2004) is a landmark finding regarding subtype-specific variations influencing pathogenesis. His laboratory is the only one globally examining the molecular properties of HIV-1 HIV-1C, responsible for half of HIV infections. One of the most challenging aspects of his work is studying the transcriptional silence (latency) of HIV-1. Dr Ranga has collaborated extensively with other researchers at the national and international level and with several clinical institutes and NGOs that specialise in HIV management and produced peer-reviewed publications from each of the projects. He has published nearly 80 research articles in peer-reviewed journals such as PNAS, J Virol, JBC, and AIDS. He is also on the editorial board of VirusDisease and he reviews several manuscripts for other journals. His services are regularly sought by national (DBT, DST, ICMR, and BIRAC) and international funding organisations (Welcome, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, Indo-French, and Indo-Australian), regulatory agencies, journals, sister institutes, biotechnology companies, and NGOs. He has also been serving as an expert of the National Biopharma Mission of DBT and BIRAC, monitoring vaccine development projects of several Indian companies, such as Bharat Biotech, Genova, Serum Institute, Biological E, Cadilla, and others making vaccines for SARS and several other infections. He has been monitoring the work progress of hundreds of biotechnology companies in India during the past decade. Dr Ranga has mentored several students, including fifteen Ph.D. students (completed), seven Ph.D. students (ongoing), three doctoral students, three visiting international students, fifty R&D assistants, up to thirty trainee students, and several junior faculty members. He teaches courses in Immunology and Virology at JNCASR and a few other institutes. He has also traveled extensively to remote parts of India over several years to popularise science under science-outreach programs. Additionally, he has organised several hands-on SARS PCR training camps for lab technicians, a unique program in the country, and is an active participant in the INSACOG sequencing national campaign. Dr Byrareddy is his long-term collaborator and together they discovered subtype-specific differences in HIV clades a decade ago and co-published several manuscripts, and are currently collaborating on other projects.