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Education- B Tech, Chemical Engineering, IIT Bombay (1998)
- MS, Chemical Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2000)
- PhD, Chemical Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2002)
Courses- CH 242 Special Topics in Theoretical Biology
- BE 202 Thermodynamics and Transport in Biological Systems
ResearchOur research focuses on the development of mathematical and computational models of biological phenomena with the goal of improving our ability to combat infectious diseases. Our current focus is on HIV, hepatitis C, and tuberculosis. These infections affect hundreds of millions worldwide. Current treatments often fail and no vaccines exist. The goal of our research is to identify ways of improving the outcomes of current therapies and to devise strategies for the design of new, more potent therapies and vaccines.
The remarkable evolvability of these pathogens makes the design of robust drugs and vaccines a challenge. Our recent efforts have been to develop quantitative descriptions of viral and bacterial evolution using mathematical models and sophisticated computer simulations in order to identify the nature of drugs and vaccines that might exhibit lasting activity. A second limitation of current therapies is their severe side effects. Using tools from pharmacokinetics and disease dynamics, we are developing dosing strategies that strike a balance between the medicinal and toxic effects of drugs, potentially enabling personalized medicine and minimizing costs and treatment duration.
At a more fundamental level, our research is focused on understanding how pathogens evade our immune system. Our immune responses are orchestrated at multiple levels of hierarchy. Following pathogen recognition, a large series of signaling events suppresses pathogen replication within infected cells. Subsequently, other arms of our immune system are recruited to eliminate infected cells and cell-free pathogens. The immune response also evolves in response to pathogenic evolution. Yet, these pathogens, often using a handful of genes, overcome this remarkable immune machinery. We employ ideas from reaction network theory to understand these host-pathogen interactions and identify ways to tilt the balance in favor of the host. The resulting insights would lead to guidelines for vaccine design.
Awards & Honors- Senior Fellowship, Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance, 2015-2020
- Medal for Young Scientists, Indian National Science Academy, 2010
- Associate, Indian Academy of Sciences, 2008-2011
1. Shet A, Nagaraja P, Dixit NM. Viral decay dynamics and mathematical modeling of treatment response: Evidence of lower in vivo fitness of HIV-1 subtype C. J Acq Immun Def Synd 2016; 73:245-251. pdf
2. Nagaraja P, Alexander HK, Bonhoeffer S, Dixit NM (2016) Influence of recombination on acquisition and reversion of immune escape and compensatory mutations in HIV-1. Epidemics 14, 11-25.
3. Padmanabhan P, Dixit NM (2016) Models of viral population dynamics. In: Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. DOI: 10.1007/82_2015_458
4. Gupta V, Dixit NM (2015) Scaling law characterizing the dynamics of the transition of HIV-1 to error catastrophe. Physical Biology 12:054001.
5. Padmanabhan P, Garaigorta U, Dixit NM (2014) Emergent properties of the interferon signaling network may underlie the success of hepatitis C treatment. Nature Communications 5:3872.