Champion CS Deivayanagam, Ph.D.
Research Associate Professor, Department of Vision Sciences

Areas of focus: X-Ray Crystallography, Dental Caries, Bacterial Surface Proteins, Enzymes


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Research Interests:

Bacterial pathogenesis is a multi-factorial process and bacterial infection can be considered as a battle between the host's immune system and the invading microbe. Both the microbe and the host invoke a myriad of faculties in this process as the battle between the microbes and the host's immune system begins to unfold. The primary resources that are invoked by the microbes are perhaps crucial for its survival. It is here that the adhesive and the secreted proteins appear to form the first line of scrimmage for the microbe. The interactions (adhesion) that occur between the microbes and the extracellular matrix components appear to play an important role. The goal of studies in my lab is to elucidate crystal structures of these adhesive molecules and identify their respective binding-motifs. This would first satisfy the academic quest towards understanding the fundamentals of bacterial adherence, and secondly extend into the applicative realm wherein, the design of inhibitors or passive immunization directed at the binding-site could provide a viable avenue toward development of therapeutics.

We are now funded by NIH to structurally elucidate the interactions that occur between the surface protein Antigen I/II of Streptococcus mutans, a dental pathogen and a known etiological agent in dental caries.

We are also interested in studying, the fimbriael proteins of Porphyromonas gingivalis, another dental pathogen. Towards this we have now cloned and expressed two fimbriael proteins fimA and Mfa1.

In addition to these projects, we have embarked upon utilizing the Streptococcus agalactiae bacteriophage's hyaluronan lyase, HylP in cancer cells, which has now been shown to inhibit both breast cancer cell proliferation and invasion. Structural studies are being carried out in a effort to identify its active site.