Patrick D' Silva

Associate Professor
Department of Biochemistry
Research Areas: 
Chaperone Mediated Protein Folding in Cell, Mitochondrial Protein Transport, Heat Shock Protein-based Therapeutics, Iron-Sulphur (Fe-S) Proteins
Research Highlights: 

The long-term goal of our research is to understand the intricate functional network of the heat shock proteins Hsp70 and Hsp40/J-class in the cytosol and in different cell organelles. By utilizing yeast and mammalian model systems, my lab will investigate the cellular functions of molecular chaperones using a combination of experimental tools from genetics and cell biology with biochemistry and biophysics. Our current projects include: (1) Protein translocation across mitochondrial inner membrane - Mitochondria are essential organelles and the 'power plants' of the cell. The biogenesis of mitochondria requires the import and folding of hundreds of proteins that are synthesized on cytosolic ribosomes. We plan to characterize the components of the 'import motor' for mitochondria in human cells and its mechanism of regulation in order to understand the fundamental aspects of the mitochondrial protein transport process in higher organisms. (2) Protein folding in cell: mechanism and regulation - As a long-term goal, we will dissect the intricate functional network between Hsp70 and J-proteins present at different cellular locations in humans. Our lab will also investigate how these 'chaperone machines' prevent aggregation of proteins and aids in proper folding under stress conditions using mammalian model systems. (3) Biogenesis of Iron-Sulphur Clusters (Fe/S centers) in Proteins - Fe/S clusters are vital moiety of proteins involved in diverse cellular process. We will be investigating the molecular mechanisms of Fe/S cluster formation and iron homeostasis in mammalian mitochondria. (4) Role of Heat Shock Proteins in Health and Diseases - We are also interested in the role played by heat shock proteins and molecular chaperonins in tumorigenesis and cancer. We hope to develop novel therapeutic approaches by targeting heat-shock protein function for a broad spectrum of tumor types, various pathogenic disease states, and protein conformational diseases. (5) ROS signalling and nano material Therapeutics- Recently our lab working on understanding the free radical signaling networks in eukaryotic system, especially uncovering the novel ROS regulator protein that modulates redox homeostasis in the cell. In this direction, our lab also focusing on design and synthesis of small organic molecules and nanomaterials/nanozymes with robust antioxidant property for the treatment of oxidative stress disorders including neurodegenerative disorders (PD, ALS, AD), diabetes mellitus and atherosclerosis.

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