Dr. Shruthi Viswanath
Integrative Structural Biology @ NCBS
We are an interdisciplinary research group at NCBS in the area of structural biology. Broadly, we seek to understand protein organization in cells by characterizing their structures in binary complexes, macromolecular assemblies, and nanoscale architectures. These structures are key to understanding the mechanistic details of cellular processes. They provide insight into how molecular machines function, how they evolved, how they assemble, and how they are regulated.
Structures of large assemblies are usually difficult to obtain using any single experimental method. Therefore, we use an integrative approach, combining various sources of available experimental data along with physics principles and statistical inference for structure determination. Opportunities exist in our group to work on several such assemblies. Three broad areas include (a) assemblies involved in regulating gene expression, including chromatin remodelers (b) assemblies at cell-cell junctions, and (c) cellular machineries involved in cell division such as centriolar and centrosomal protein complexes. We collaborate with other cell and structural biologists to validate predictions from our models and generate data for the modeling.
Our other focus is in developing rigorous methods and software for computational modeling of protein organization at the above scales. These methods make structure determination more accurate and efficient by improving upon approaches that aread hoc, semi-automated, based on trial-and-error, and/or require manual expert intervention. For this purpose, we are inspired by algorithms from the fields of computational statistics, statistical physics, machine learning and statistical inference, optimization, computer vision, and graph theory.