Current Members

Manju Narwal

Manju Narwal

Postdoctoral Scholar

Manju Narwal is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at Penn State University. She has done her doctorate in Structural virology (Supervisor: Dr. Shailly Tomar) from the Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee. Her research was mainly focussed on the structural and functional studies of the replication enzymes of the Alphavirus members. She investigated the structural aspects of non structural protease (esp. from Chikunugyna Virus) which are the main contributors in the specificity driven cleavage of its substrate sites. In addition, she has used the structural information to identify inhibitory molecules and studied their effects through biochemical activity assays. She has spend some time as DST N-PDF fellow in the lab of Dr. Manidipa Banerjee (KSBS, IIT Delhi). The research at KSBS was focused on the mechanism of human innate immunity factors NfκB processing by Hepatitis A virus (HAV) 3C protease by structural techniques (X-ray crystallography and cryo-EM). Presently in the lab of Prof. Katsuhiko Murakami, she is working on structural basis of bacterial RNA polymerase transcription and the SARS-CoV-2 polyprotein processing by PLpro and Mpro proteases by using cryo-EM and X-ray crystallography methods.

Rishi Kishore Vishwakarma

Assistant Research Professor

Rishi K Vishwakarma is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at The Pennsylvania State University. He received his PhD in Biotechnology from CSIR- National Chemical Laboratory/University of Pune, India (Supervisor: Dr. Bashir M. Khan). His PhD research was mainly focused on characterization of gene(s)/enzyme(s) involved in terpenoids biosynthesis in medicinal plant Bacopa monniera, and their overexpression in plant to enhance the triterpenoids contents. Just after Ph. D, he has spent some time in the group of Prof. Hsin-Shang Tsay as a postdoctoral researcher at Chaoyang University of Technology, Taiwan, to study genetic and plant tissue culture approaches for enhanced medicinally important metabolites in plants.  In 2014, he received postdoctoral fellowship from “Fondation Mediterranee Infection”, France and joined Dr. Konstantin Brodolin group (IRIM-CNRS, Montpellier) to study the transcription regulation in M. tuberculosis (Mtb). He was basically involved in study the role of mycobacterial transcriptional regulatory protein, RNA polymerase binding protein A (RbpA) in transcription activation. Along with molecular biology and biochemical approaches, he implemented single molecule FRET assay (in collaboration with Dr. Emmanuel Margeat, CBS-CNRS, Montpellier) to reveal the molecular basis of RbpA mediated transcription activation in Mtb. Later, he joined Dr. E. Margeat group to study molecular mechanism of transcription termination by the helicase Rho from E. coli and Mtb. He used different biochemical and biophysical techniques to decipher molecular interaction between the helicase Rho and the RNA polymerase. He was also involved in to setup a robust single molecule assay (based on TIRF microscopy) to measure Rho processivity and translocation speed, according to its nucleic acid and energetic context. Presently in the labs of Prof. Katsuhiko Murakami and Prof. Paul Babitzke, he is working on structural determination of bacterial RNA polymerase transcription complexes using cryo-electron microscopy and/or biochemical/molecular biology techniques.