Ajay Akhade’s long-term research interests involve studying the dynamic interaction of the innate immune system with invading pathogens. Ultimately, he plans to extend the realm of his research to human diseases such as autoinflammatory disorders and cancer. A bachelor’s degree in Microbiology piqued his interest in understanding the microbial world. During this time, he performed a research project entitled “Isolation and characterization of oligophiles and bioluminescent bacteria and its use for biosensing”, which helped him gain basic hands on experience in microbiology research. During his master’s degree, he worked on a dissertation entitled “Metagenomic studies on soil: Culture independent and culture dependent approach for isolating biotechnologically important molecules”. This work further expanded his knowledge in microbiology and also exposed him to cutting edge molecular biology techniques.
Moving past studying microbes in isolation, he started his graduate research work in Immunology with a focus on host-pathogen interaction. This helped him broaden his outlook and look at microbes from a “pathogenic” point of view. Central to his PhD thesis was understanding the regulation of Toll-like receptor (TLR) activation of immune cells. Since that time he has developed a curiousity about roles of microbes in various disease settings such as autoinflammatory disorders and cancer. Currently, his position in Dr. Naeha Subramanian’s lab at ISB, is focused on understanding the function and regulation of intracellular sensors of the NLR (NOD-like receptor) family in cancer. He is also ardently pursuing developing a comprehensive understanding of how host factors impact the expression of bacterial molecules and shape host-pathogen crosstalk.
When not in the lab, he enjoys bird watching, watching and playing Tennis (Huge Williams supporter), table tennis and badminton. He also likes exploring national parks in the US and aims to visit all states of the USA.