The doctrines of medicine and health management written in the past have always been plant-based system of therapeutics. There is availability of synthetic drugs, however, the potential of natural products to provide lead compounds for the development of novel therapeutic agents with increased biological properties cannot be undermined. This is mainly because of the presence of myriads of compounds with chemical variability in plants. However, the chemodiversity in plants make the detection and characterization processes challenging to perform.
Our laboratory is actively engaged in identification, characterization and evaluation of bioefficacy of bioactives/extracts from medicinal plants and their tissue culture.
My research work has focused on the isolation and identification of metabolites from medicinally important plants viz., Cassia occidentalis L., C. tora L. and Gymnema sylvestre R. Br. Callus culture of all the experimental plants was successfully done. Production of Rotenoids from culture of both the Cassia sps was enhanced using precursors (Phenylalanine and methionine) at different concentrations. Rotenoids were tested as an insecticidal agent against larvae of Anopheles stenphesi (malarial vector). Gymnemic acid from G. sylvestre was tested for the first time as a radioprotective agent on Swiss albino mice. The insulinotropic effect of the metabolite was also tested on HIT-T15 β cell lines. Primary metabolites, sterols and flavonoids were assessed from all three experimental plants, both in vitro and in vivo. My lab has further explored Moringa oleifera, Tecomella undulata, Bombax ceiba, Medicago sativa, Vigna radiata, V. unguiculata and other medicinally important plants for their metabolites and antioxidant activities.
A couple of my research articles have been accepted as an editor’s choice in the journal viz., “Groups of coevolving positions provide drug resistance to Mycobacterium tuberculosis: A study using targets of first-line antituberculosis drugs, 2019, International Journal of Antimicrobial. Moreover, PlumX Metrices, whose data is incorporated into Elsevier’s Mendeley and Scopus, highlighted that in 2018-2019 the aforesaid article had the most social media attention, and “Identification of flavonoids from plant parts and callus culture of Gymnema sylvestre R.Br.”, 2016, Current Bioactive Compounds.
I am interested to explore the metabolomic approaches that are applied to explore bioactive compounds from a plant viewing the significance of traditional herbal medicines. Metabolomics helps in study of the crude extract, which identifies a wide range of metabolites belonging to different chemical classes, without the need of time-consuming isolation procedures. Moreover, relating putative biological activities with metabolomics is feasible by integrating chemometric methods with bioactivity results. Also, deciphering the enzyme-encoding genes underlying specific phytometabolite using metabolomics and genomics fascinates me.