Director's Profile

Dr. Kalimuthusamy stepped in as the Director of the Indian Council of Medical Research Regional Medical Research Centre Northeast (ICMR-RMRCNE) in the winter of 2023. As the nodal Institute in biomedical research, it serves as the central hub linking all Northeastern States of India.

Dr. Kalimuthusamy's research interests involve a comprehensive understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms associated with the progression of infectious and inflammatory diseases. He started his research career studying the prevalence of leptospirosis, a zoonotic disease in tropical countries. He was working for almost two decades on leptospirosis and conducted pioneering work in this field. His team developed newer diagnostics (mSphere, 2020; Scientific Reports, 2017; PloS One, 2015) and vaccination strategies for leptospirosis (Scientific Reports, 2018). During his tenure as a full Professor at Bharathidasan University, he served as the Chair of the Department of Microbiology. Dr. Kalimuthusamy has mentored 18 graduate students and 4 postdoctoral, who have gone on to have independent laboratories. His laboratory was well funded by research grants from several funding agencies in India, including the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), the Department of Science and Technology (DST), and the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Dr. Kalimuthusamy received funding for exchange visits from the Department of Biotechnology (2008-2009) and the Department of Health (DHR) Indian Council of Medical Research (2012-2013) and visited the Gluck Medical Centre at University of Kentucky and the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, USA where he gained expertise in genomic Libraries, big data analysis and the important secondary messenger the calcium to predict the molecular pathogenesis by Ca 2+ imaging in live cells, ex vivo, in vivo, and fixed tissues by confocal microscopy, molecular techniques, protein chemistry and generation of transgenic mouse models. His specialized expertise in Ca 2+ signalling and mitochondrial bioenergetics propelled him to become a visiting scientist at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine, where he contributes to the Department of Neuroscience and Gene Editing in HIV/cocaine induced disease conditions.

At Temple University, Dr. Kalimuthusamy was involved in discovering the molecular mechanism that regulates glial metabolism during HIV infection and drug abuse. He recently showed how HIV/cocaine modulates mitochondrial Ca 2+ and glial metabolism (Cell Death and Disease, 2018), disrupts astrocytic cholesterol homeostasis (Glia, 2018), and cellular energy metabolism (Progress in Neurobiology, 2019). He investigated for the first time the previously unexplored pathway of metabolic switch in astrocytes and identified a novel contributor to the pathogenesis of HAND in the context of HIV infection/cocaine use. Also, newly shown TNFα- mediated activation of MEF2A via increased cellular calcium-induced PINCH expression in neurons. The induced PINCH expression disrupted the PIP ternary complex, cofilin activation by TESK1 inactivation, and actin depolymerization (Translational Neurodegeneration, 2020). His primary research focus is to understand the mechanism by which mitochondrial Ca 2+ overload and oxidative stress are causal factors for the development of mitochondrial malfunction in neurological diseases and in aging. Intensely studied the molecular mechanism and regulation of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) complex by proteins, ions, and redox signaling. Multiple lines of evidence indicate Ca 2+ to be a versatile ion of the mitochondria as it stimulates ATP production, shapes, and cytosolic Ca 2+ oscillations, contributes to spatial positioning, cell differentiation, and cell maturation, and can trigger cell death. Mitochondrial calcium overload is observed in a wide range of pathology, including neurodegeneration and ischemic injury, and mitochondrial Ca 2+ uptake may be central to physiology and disease in CNS (Ageing Research Reviews, 2020; Science Signaling, 2020; Nature Communications, 2018; Cell Reports, 2013).

Dr. Kalimuthusamy is currently leading research projects on communicable and non- communicable diseases in the northeastern region.

He is closely monitoring disease prevalence and outbreak situations and working on implementing disease interventions to achieve One Health and ensure the health benefits for the entire community of NER. His team is involved in studying molecular intervention strategies for lipid trafficking linking neurons and astrocytes in the brain during HIV/cocaine abuse, as well as mitochondrial SLC25A citrate carriers. They have implemented interventions to reduce perinatal transmission of HIV in the Northeastern region to achieve the National target. The group is also identifying unique bioenergetics profiles and mitochondrial function in tea garden workers to study the underlying mechanisms of mitochondrial bioenergetic crisis in noncommunicable diseases. This research will help in intervening and reducing the prevalence of diseases such as HT, CVD, and Anaemia, which are the prevailing problems associated with this region of our country.


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