Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bengaluru
Maneesha Inamdar obtained her PhD from TIFR, Mumbai, and postdoctoral training at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is a Professor at the Molecular Biology and Genetics Unit, JNCASR, Bengaluru, where she has established an integrated laboratory of stem cell biology using human embryonic stem cells, mouse and Drosophila. She is also an adjunct Professor at inStem, Bengaluru. Inamdar’s research is centred on understanding cardiovascular development and physiology, an area that has application in prevention of congenital defects, adult disorders such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, as well as for regenerative therapies. She has established several new models of leukaemia, angiogenesis and cardiovascular development. She pioneered the use of human embryonic stem cell-derived models in the country, and has been instrumental in putting India on the stem cell map. She represents India in the International Stem Cell Initiative projects that include 22 countries and has several national and international collaborations. Her current focus is on disease models and stem cell engineering for cell-based therapies. She was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences in 2017.
Session 2B: Inaugural Lectures by Fellows
Chairperson: Veena K Parnaik, Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology, Hyderabad
Stuck in traffic: Transport and energy regulation in blood stem cells
The mammalian blood system consists of distinct functionally specialised cell types that are replaced at the rate of over a million cells per second in adult humans. This continuous replenishment is a tightly controlled process that depends on the presence and health of stem cells in the blood. Stem cells can self-renew as well as differentiate to give rise to the various precursor and mature cell types in the body. Molecular control of self-renewal and differentiation is key to maintaining blood cell homeostasis. Stress and ageing of the blood vascular system correlate to anaemia, decreased immunity and increased incidence of leukaemia. Despite their enormous clinical potential, mechanisms that regulate the vital properties of self-renewal and multipotency in stem cells are not completely understood. Using various model systems, the speaker and her group have identified molecular networks and processes that regulate blood stem cells. They have shown that cellular transport and energy machineries play an active role in controlling stem cell state and fate. Thus their findings reveal additional points of control for maintaining stem cells.