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Sambashiva Banala

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Sambashiva is a research scientist with Dr. Luke Lavis at Janelia Research Campus, HHMI. His research interests are focused on developing novel chemical strategies for the synthesis of photoactivatable or ‘caged’ compounds to investigate complex biological functions. Recently, he developed a general strategy for caging tertiary amines—alkylation with a coumarin to afford photocleavable quaternary ammonium linkages. The strategy has allowed preparation of several photoactivatable pharmacological agents that were previously ‘uncageable’. One of these compounds, photoactivatable nicotine (PA-Nic) has enabled investigation of functional nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in several regions of the brain with high degree of subcellular resolution.

Sambashiva grew up in the southern part of India. He received his B.Sc. in 2002 from Osmania University, Hyderabad, and M.Sc. (Chemistry) in 2004 from IIT Roorkee. In 2010, he obtained his PhD from EPFL, Switzerland, where he worked with Prof. Kai Johnsson on developing photoactivatable probes for controlling the labeling of SNAP-tag proteins for site-specific immobilization and super-resolution fluorescence microscopy. Upon completion of his PhD, he moved to Netherlands to work with Prof. Maarten Merkx (Eindhoven University of Technology) as a postdoctoral researcher for 2.5 years. There, he developed an easy-to-perform biochemical assay for detection of antibodies that works directly in solution and in single-step. When not doing science, Sambashiva enjoys walking in nature, and watching documentaries on wildlife and nature.

 You can find his publication details here.