Central University of Kerala

 

Smitha Sudheer  Dr. Smita Sudheer-Assistant Professor
Department Of  Genomic Science
School of  Biological Science
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Specialisation/Areas Of Interest: Pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) are self-renewing and pluripotent (can give rise to any cell type of the body). They also have the capacity to form germ cells (gametes: male or female reproductive cells) and extra-embryonic cells (placenta and yolk sac). These properties of PSCs make them a fabulous system to study development in a dish (in vitro). Our laboratory aims to understand how cell fate decisions are taken by PSCs either to maintain pluripotency or differentiate into a particular lineage during development and disease. We are particularly interested in understanding the events that specify human PSCs (hPSCs) towards the lineages of mesoderm (gives rise to embryonic tissues such as muscle, bone, cartilage, connective tissue, heart, blood cells, etc.) and trophoblast (gives rise to the extra-embryonic tissue, placenta that provides nutrients to the embryo during pregnancy). We are also interested in implementing these insights into human disease modelling and/or drug testing in vitro using patient-specific human induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs).
Course Offered: GEN515          Genomics Lab 1 (Microbiology)
GEN523          Developmental Genetics and Genomics 
GEN532          Biomedical Genomics
GEN535          Genomics Lab 2 (Molecular Biology)
Elective Course: GEN5014        Data analysis using R/Bioconductor
GEN5015        Human Genomics and Gene Therapy
GEN5019        Stem Cells and Regenerative medicine
GEN5020        Biological Literature
Brief Profile Smita Sudheer’s research has been on addressing some of the basic questions on mammalian preimplantation development and cell fate decisions of human and mouse Pluripotent Stem Cells. Owing to her training and experience in both molecular biology and Bioinformatics, her research has involved a combination of both.

Dr. Smita Sudheer worked as a postdoctoral scientist with Prof. Bernhard Herrmann at the Department of Developmental Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin, Germany (2010-2016). Her Postdoctoral research involved differentiation of mouse Pluripotent Stem Cells towards presomitic mesoderm (PSM), the progenitors of somites that give rise to axial skeleton and skeletal muscles, tendons, dorsal dermis, and adipose tissue. This work showed that the activation of WNT signalling in combination with FGF ligand induces embryo-like PSM at high efficiency and by varying the FGF ligand concentration, the state of PSM cells formed can be altered (Sudheer et al., Stem Cells. 2016). During her Postdoctoral period, she has taken lectures for international Masters students of Molecular Medicine and Biology from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany and Freie Universität Berlin, Germany respectively. She has also guided and supervised a bachelor student of Biochemistry from Freie Universität Berlin for internship and later on for Thesis.

She had pursued her doctoral work in Prof. James Adjaye’s Laboratory at the Department of Vertebrate Genomics, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin, Germany (2006-2010). Her PhD work was on human Pluripotent Stem Cells (hPSC) and preimplantation development, elucidating the crucial role of FGF pathway as a decision maker between the two lineages, mesoderm and syncytiotrophoblast (the epithelial covering of placenta, that establishes nutrient circulation between the embryo and mother during pregnancy) (Sudheer et al., Stem cells and dev. 2012) and investigation of genome-wide changes during mammalian preimplantation development (Sudheer and Kues et al., PNAS 2008, Sudheer and Adjaye, Brief Funct Genomic Proteomic 2007).

Before her PhD, she had worked at Indian Institute of Science, on a project on the study of glioma (a common brain cancer) using genomic approaches.  She obtained training in Bioinformatics via a Postgraduate course in Bioinformatics at the University of Cologne, Germany and an Advanced Diploma in Bioinformatics at Osmania University, Hyderabad

Selected Publications:

1. SudheerS§, Liu J, Marks, M, Koch F, Anurin A, Scholze M, Senft AD, Wittler L,  Macura K, Grote P, Herrmann BG§. Different concentrations of FGF ligands, FGF2 or FGF8 determine distinct states of WNT-induced presomitic mesoderm. Stem Cells. 2016 Apr 1.
§ Corresponding author

2. Sudheer S§, Bhushan R, Fauler B, Lehrach H, Adjaye J§.
FGF inhibition directs BMP4-mediated differentiation of human embryonic stem cells tosyncytiotrophoblast.Stem Cells Dev. 2012 Nov 1;21(16):2987-3000.
§ Corresponding author
A featured article in the journal.

3. Kues WA*, Sudheer S*, Herrmann D, Carnwath JW, Havlicek V, Besenfelder U, Lehrach H, Adjaye J, Niemann H. Genome-wide expression profiling reveals distinct clusters of transcriptional regulation during bovine preimplantation development in vivo. ProcNatlAcadSci U S A. 2008 Dec 16;105(50):19768-73.
* Shared first author

Conferences/Seminars/Workshops:

1. First Annual Symposium on Cell and Gene Therapy, Centre for Stem Cell Research, Vellore 5-6 August 2016

2. CRISPR/Cas9 Genome Editing Workshop, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom, April 15, 2016

3. The 8th International Meeting of the Stem Cell Network NRW, Bonn, Germany April 21-22, 2015

4. Day of Science at Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin, Germany February 10, 2014

5. First annual conference of the German Stem Cell Network, 2013

6. First Young Investigator’s Meet, Embassy of India, Berlin, Germany September 14, 2012.

7. XX International Congress of Genetics, Berlin, Germany July 12-17, 2008

8. Reprogramming Cell Fate: Basic Biology and Medical Perspectives Milan, Italy, December 11-13, 2009

9. Symposium for PhD students, Institute for Chemistry and Biochemistry, Thielallee 63, 14195 Freie University, Berlin November 27, 2009

10. 1st International BMP Workshop: Modern Trends in BMP Signaling, Berlin, Germany, September 6-9, 2009

Oral Presentations at Conferences/Meetings:

1. First Young Investigator’s Meet, Embassy of India, Berlin, Germany September 14, 2012.

2. Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Bangalore October 14, 2012.

3. Symposium for PhD students, Institute for Chemistry and Biochemistry, Thielallee 63, 14195 Freie University, Berlin November 27, 2009

4. 1st International BMP Workshop: Modern Trends in BMP Signalling, Berlin, 2009

Honors/Awards/Fellowships

1. Scholarship from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Germany for Postgraduate course in Bioinformatics at the University of Cologne, Germany

2. Scholarship from the Max Planck Society for PhD Research

3. Funding support from German Research Foundation (DFG) for PhD research as a part of the research consortium “Embryo-Maternal interactions-FOR 478”

4. Scholarship for attending and presenting at the 1st International BMP Workshop: Modern Trends in BMP Signalling, Berlin, Germany, September 6-9, 2009

5. Grant awarded from Max Planck Society for postdoctoral research, to promote cooperation with foreign country

6. Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) student during BSc.

Memberships: 

1. Max Planck Network (MaxNet)

2. German Stem Cell Network (Former member)

Teaching experience:

1. Lectures for the students of International Master’s program molecular medicine, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany and Masters students of Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

2. Guidance for internship of a Bachelor student of Biochemistry, Freie Universität  Berlin, Germany

3. Guidance and supervision for Thesis of a Bachelor student of Biochemistry of Freie Universität  Berlin, Germany 

Scientific reviewer:

1. Stem Cells and Development

2. BMC Genomics

3. BioMed Central

Collaborations:

1. Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin, Germany

2. Institute for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany

3. Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Munster, Germany

4. University of Edinburgh, UK

5. University of Birmingham, UK

6. Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA
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