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Nominated by: Srividya Sundararaman, Xencor (CA, USA)
Supporting comments from Mohammad A A Ibrahim, Viapath at King’s College Hospital (London, UK):
“Dr Sundaram has been with us in Viapath Analytics, responsible for R&D Immunology, for 3 years now. Her expertise is exploring the pathogenesis of immune disorders to identify potential drug targets and biomarkers, using a variety of cellular and molecular techniques. She has extensive experience in assay development. She and her team have introduced new assays that have led to the expansion of diagnostic tests offered by our department. Her persistence during budget cuts has been impressive and she consistently works on improving existing methods to save us time and money. She is an excellent team player, exemplified by the guidance she provides for the PhD students in her team. She is highly collaborative and never hesitates to seek and provide help where necessary. She always takes the initiative to gather and share knowledge on relevant cutting-edge technologies like NextGen sequencing data analysis and multicolor flow cytometry through departmental presentations. She was awarded the learning and development funding from Viapath for two consecutive years, to present her work at international conferences and she actively publishes. She is a great asset to the company and the bioanalysis community. I give her my highest recommendation for the BRS award.”
1Describe the main highlights of your bioanalytical work.
I am an immunology expert interested in translational research. In my doctoral dissertation, I identified transcription factor IκBζ as a potential therapeutic target for allergic asthma with RS-LPS and Anakinra as treatment choices. I also evaluated ways of tackling challenges associated with antibody specificity and sensitivity while using immunohistochemistry to explore protein expression in tissue samples.
In my current position as the R&D Immunology manager in Viapath Analytics, my team and me have designed and standardized four novel assays as tools for use in diagnosis of immune disorders including common variable immunodeficiency (CVID), and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We introduced exome sequencing as a diagnostic test for primary immunodeficiencies, a cell-based assay to detect the presence of anti-GMCSF autoantibodies in patient sera and a plate-based assay to quantify NFκB pathway activation as an indicator of disease severity in patients. We also identified CXCL13 as a potential biomarker for CVID and RA and blood subsets of T follicular helper cells as classifiers of heterogeneous CVID phenotype.
I have published five peer-reviewed papers, presented ten posters and given four oral presentations in international conferences like American Association of Immunologists (AAI), American Thoracic Society (ATS) and European Society of ImmunoDeficiencies (ESID).