Mahendran K.R, PhD

DBT-Ramalingaswamy Faculty Fellow


Saraswati Nayar
Saraswati Nayar

Mahendran K.R, PhD

DBT-Ramalingaswamy Faculty Fellow


  • Profile

    • Ph.D Biochemical Engineering (2010), Jacobs University Bremen, Germany.
    • M.Sc Industrial Biotechnology (2005), Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, India.
    • B.Sc Biotechnology (2003), Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, India.
    • September 2016-Till date: Scientist & DBT-Ramalingaswami Faculty Fellow, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Kerala, India.
    • October 2012-August 2016:  Senior research associate, Department of Chemistry, Chemical Biology, University of Oxford, UK.
    • January 2010- September 2012: Post-doctoral research associate, Jacobs University Bremen, Germany and University of Cambridge, UK.
    • August 2011-August 2012: Guest Lecturer - Lecture course in Biophysical chemistry, Jacobs University Bremen, Germany. 
    • September 2005-November 2006: Junior Research fellow, Molecular Biophysics Laboratory, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, India.
    • DBT - Innovative Young Biotechnologist Award (IYBA) 2016, from Department of Biotechnology, Govt of India
    • Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowship by the Department of Biotechnology, India (2015).
    • Senior research associate fellowship by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), University of Oxford, UK (2012).
    • Post-doctoral fellowship by the European Union Nanoscience E+ Initiative, Jacobs University Bremen, Germany and University of Cambridge, UK (2010).
    • Marie Curie Ph.D fellowship, Jacobs University Bremen, Germany (2007).
    • JRF fellowship from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), funded by Department of Biotechnology.
    • Gold medal in M.Sc Industrial Biotechnology, Bharathiar University, India (2005).
    • Silver medal in B.Sc, Biotechnology, Bharathiar University, India (2003).
    • The Biophysical Society
    • European Biophysical Societie's Association
  • Research

    Biosensing through hetero-oligomeric pore-forming proteins at single-molecule level:

    Pore forming proteins have been used as nanometer sized molecular ‘coulter-counter’ for the characterization of the size and chemical composition of macromolecules such as DNA and peptides. My laboratory focuses on the molecular aspect of antibiotic transport across porins of gram positive bacteria (mycolata) specifically through hetero-oligomeric pores from Nocardia farcinica with integration of different disciplines. Transport kinetics of antibiotics and the rate limiting interactions during permeation will be obtained using planar lipid bilayer electrophysiology at single molecule level. Moreover, Nocardia pore due to its geometry could be a potential candidate for DNA and peptide sequencing using high resolution single channel electrical recordings.

    Pore forming designed peptides as potential antimicrobial agents:

    There is an increasing concern about the resistance of microorganisms to various antibiotics and designed peptides can be used as potential antimicrobial agents, specifically targeted to disrupt the bacterial cells. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) attach and insert into lipid membranes to form pores but despite considerable effort, it has been difficult to define the structures and pore-forming states of these peptides. My laboratory focuses on understanding the stoichiometry of pore-forming states and structures of AMPs using planar lipid bilayer technique combined with fluorescence based liposome assays. 

    • Department of Science & Technology, Govt of India: Early Career Research Award (2017-2020)
    • Department of Biotechnology, Govt of India: Innovative Young Biotechnologist Award (2017-2020)
    • Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowship (2015) by the Department of Biotechnology, India
  • Publications

    Peer-reviewed Journal Publications: 27, As corresponding senior author: 3, First author: 12

    Selected publications:

    1. Mahendran KR, Niitsu A, Kong LB, Thomson AR, Sessions RB, Woolfson D and Bayley H. A monodisperse transmembrane α-helical peptide barrel. Nature Chemistry 2016. doi:10.1038/nchem.2647
    2. Pliotas C*, Dahl ACE*, Rasmussen T*, Mahendran KR*, Smith TK, Marius P, Gault J, Banda T, Rasmussen A, Miller S, Robinson CV, Bayley H, Sansom MS, Booth IR and Naismith JH. The role of lipids in mechanosensation. Nature Structural Molecular Biology. 2015. 22(12):991-8 (*equally contributed as first authors of this work).
    3. Gutsmann T, Heimburg T, Keyser UF, Mahendran KR, and Winterhalter M. Protein reconstitution into free standing planar lipid membranes for electrophysiological characterization. Nature protocols 2015. 10 (1), 188-198. (All authors contributed equally)
    4. Singh P, Bajaj H, Benz R, Winterhalter M, Mahendran KR*. Transport across the outer membrane porin of mycolic acid containing actinomycetales: Nocardia farcinica. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015.  1848 (2), 654-661 (*Corresponding author).
    5. Singh P, Bárcena-Uribarri I, Modi N, Kleinekathöfer U, Benz R, Winterhalter M, Mahendran KR*. Pulling Peptides across Nano-channels: Resolving Peptide Binding and Translocation through the Hetero-oligomeric Channel from Nocardia farcinica. ACS Nano 2012. 6(12):10699-10707 (*Corresponding author).
    6. Singh PR, Ceccarelli M, Lovelle M, Winterhalter M, Mahendran KR*: Antibiotic  permeation across OmpF channel: Modulation of affinity site in the presence of magnesium. J Phys Chem B. 2012. 116(15):4433-4438 (*Corresponding author).
    7. Mahendran KR, Lamichhane U, Ruiz M, Nussberger S, Winterhalter M. Polypeptide translocation through mitochondrial TOM channel: Temperature dependent rates at single molecule level. J. Phys Chem Letter 2013. 4 (1):78–82.
    8. Mahendran KR, Romero-Ruiz M, Schlösinger A, Winterhalter M and Stephan Nussberger: Protein translocation through Tom40: Kinetics of peptide release. Biophys J 2012. 102(1):39-47.
    9. *Gornall JL, *Mahendran KR, Pambos OJ, Steinbock LJ, Otto O, Chimerel C, Winterhalter M, Keyser UF. Simple Reconstitution of Protein Pores in Nano Lipid Bilayers. Nano Lett 2011. 11(8):3334-40 (*equally contributed as first authors of this work).
    10. Mahendran KR, Hajjar E, Mach T, Lovelle M, Kumar A, Sousa I, Spiga E, Weingart H, Gameiro P, Winterhalter M, Ceccarelli M. Molecular basis of enrofloxacin translocation through an outer membrane channel of Escherichia coli – Binding does not imply translocation. J Phys Chem. B 2010. 114(15):5170-5179. 
    1. Mahendran KR, Schulz R, Weingart H, Kleinekathöfer U, Winterhalter M. The permeability barrier: passive and active drug passage across membranes. In "Bacterial Membranes: Structural and Molecular Biology." Remaut H, Fronzes, R (Eds.). Horizon Scientific press, Norwich 2012. 283-302.
  • Team

  • Alumni