M Nair - CV

                      Dr.  Mrinalini Nair

                    Reader in Genetic Engineering

Education      : Ph.D from University of Sussex, UK


Experience    : Teaching  ---  18 Years

                             Research ---  24 Years


          My Research Lab


Research Area :

Expression of Omega-3 fatty acid desaturase.  The project is supported by DBT.  ‘Alpha linolenic acid-(ALA)’ is an essential omega-3 poly unsaturated fatty acid not synthesized by the body. Its derivatives eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) & docosahexanoic acid (DHA), are essential for brain / retinal development and function, serve as precursors to prostaglandin, leukotrienes, aid in vasodilation, coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes, inflammatory disorders, and cancer.  ALA is, poorly present in vegetable oils but the EPA/ DHA derivatives are found abundantly in fish oil. Since the  body can convert the  plant ALA to derivatives  found in fish, and since prolonged intake of fish oil may  result in cessation of transformation of ALA  by the body, it is desirable  to increase the intake of ALA by alternative diet.


The work is aimed to identify omega-3 desaturases, that can desaturate linoleic acid (found in vegetable oil) to ALA, characterize their activity so as to assess its potential for use in biotransformation of ω- 6 fatty acids of C18 or/and above, into linolenic acid ω-3 or higher derivatives, and express the gene  in yeast for secretion

Function of non coding RNAs in bacteria.  Several non coding RNAs are expressed in higher eukaryotes and are known to be involved in regulatory processes like gene silencing, translational regulation, trans-splicing, RNA editing etc. The large number of non coding RNAs recently identified in E.coli and other  bacterial genera. A few  of these RNAs are known to interact with regulatory proteins associated with virulence.  This inspired us to initiate studies on the function and mechanism of ncRNAs. The work is focused to identify pathogen specific genes which are regulated by ncRNAs in several bacteria for invasion / survival in the mammalian / human or a plant  host and (2) to investigate the underlying mechanisms involving RNA and protein interactions in the post transcriptional control.

Thermophilic amylase from local Bacillus : Functional characterisation, developing a repression free expression system for industrial applications.  This work received financial support from the International foundation for Science, Stockholm, Sweden.  A high maltose forming cyclodextrin hydrolyzing alpha amylase, calcium dependent, optimally active at 90° C and  a wide range of pH , produced by a local bacillus  is being functionally characterized, cloned  and developed  Although mutants, recombinant enzymes and solid state fermentations have been employed for increased production by several workers, a major limitation in most of these cases is the cessation (repression) of enzyme synthesis due to the accumulation of sugars during hydrolysis of starch in the production medium. The long term objective is to generate an expression system to overcome catabolite repression as well as extended higher productivity so as to achieve expression until C/N depletion.

DNA markers for the diagnosis for tuberculosis and animal brucellosis. This was initiated as a collaborative project with the National Dairy Development  Board. Brucellosis and tuberculosis are two major zoonotic  endemics  in the Indian cattle herds.  A project was initiated with the objective to develop diagnostics using DNA markers for the identification of diseased / vaccinated and uninfected human / animal subjects. DNA markers based on specific insertion elements and membrane proteins are being investigated / developed for distinguishing the pathogens from vaccine strains as well as studying the geographic origin.

Osmoregulation and osmoprotection in enteric bacteria / Rhizobium leguminosarum: Influence of transcription factors and nitrogen  status Analysis on expression of genes involved osmotic protection by betaine in E.coli and K. pneumoniae indicated that these are regulated by  the N -status of the cell and might be regulated by regulatory proteins of the N-metabolism. Approaches to identify the loci involved  in Rhizobium leguminosarum. We are trying to identify genes involved  salt stress protection in a Rhizobium leguminosarum  strain that is able to grow at 1M NaCl, isolated from an arid area. The project is at an initial stage. Cloning in conjugable cosmids and gene fusion techniques would be part of the strategies

Research Projects :

Funding Agency

Title of the Project



Dept. of Biotechnology,  New Delhi Micro RNAs in E.coli and other human and plant pathogenic bacteria Ongoing 2007-2010
Dept. of Biotechnology,  New Delhi Strategy to increase omega-3 fatty acid content in the food employing Omega-3 desaturase expressed in yeast Ongoing 2005-2008

NDDB, Anand

Development of assays based on PCR and non radioactive probes   for diagnosis ..... animal brucellosis & tuberculosis




International Foundation for Science, Sweden

Development of a thermophilic amylase from local bacillus  for industrial applications



M.S. University

Study of expression of osmoregulatory genes in Klebsiella pneumoniae



UGC- Minor Research Project

Characterisation & thermostability studies of a  thermophilic amylase from Bacillus sp.,



M.S. University

Regulation of an osmotically induced in E.coli by an alternate sigma factor  



Copyright © 2002
Bioinformatics Centre , Dept. of Microbiology and Biotechnology Centre
M.S. University of Baroda, Baroda, India 390002 Phone:91-0265-2794396 , Fax: 91-265-2792508

Last updated: Friday, 09 October, 2009 12:58 PM