My doctoral and postdoctoral research is on studying the biochemistry and molecular biology of allergy-eliciting molecules (allergens) and clinical translation of the findings to develop patient-tailored treatment regimen. The aim of my research was to develop recombinant allergen based molecular diagnostics and to design genetically engineered allergen vaccines for immunotherapeutic applications.
Allergen Biology and Clinical Immunology
Allergens are mainly proteins or glycoproteins from foreign sources (like pollen, fungi, food, and insects), which are capable of triggering IgE-antibody mediated abnormal immune responses (Th2 type) leading to inflammation in lung, skin, and GI tract. So far, I have focused on airborne inhalant and food allergens eliciting IgE-antibody mediated sensitization in the respiratory and gut epithelia. My research interests are
1. Developing Molecular diagnostics for allergy
2. Designing Next-generation allergen vaccine
3. Pathophysiology of type-1 hypersensitivity
4. IgE-targated biologics
Title: Development of recombinant vaccine for Aspergillus-induced asthma and ABPA
Sponsoring agency: DBT/Wellcome Trust India Alliance
Sanctioned amount: 1.7 crore INR
Tenure: April 2019- March 2024
B.Sc. (Hons.) in Botany from Presidency College, Kolkata
M.Sc. in Botany from University of Calcutta
Ph.D. from Bose Institute, Kolkata
CSIR-NET JRF in June 2010
I obtained my Ph.D. in Immunochemistry and Molecular allergology in the year 2017. My research interest is on molecular and structural characterization of allergenic proteins inducing IgE-mediated type-1 hypersensitivity responses. Starting with the proteomic identification of important respiratory and food allergens, I continued to develop recombinant allergen-based diagnostics as well as therapeutic allergy vaccines. My strategy of developing recombinant allergy vaccines is based on epitope mapping, followed by the design of genetically engineered hypoallergens. My future goal is to advance these hypoallergenic vaccines into clinical applications.
Currently I am holding the India Alliance Early Career Fellowship grant (2019-2024), where I'm working on serological detection of major conidial antigens from Aspergillus fumigatus, a common pathogenic mold with worldwide distribution. This fungal species has allergenic importance as these conidial antigens/allergens elicit adverse immune reactions such as atopic asthma and Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis (ABPA). This will be followed by peptide-microarray based epitope mapping and finally, the peptide-carrier based hypoallergenic vaccine.
Fellowships and awards
1. NASI Young scientist platinum jubilee award 2022 in Biomedical Science, National Academy of Science of India, Allahabad
2. ISCA Young scientist award, Indian Science Congress 2016, Mysore
3. Outstanding Abstract Award in World Allergy Organization International Scientific Conference (WISC) - 2016 held in Jerusalem, Israel.
4. Awarded with a EAACI-Research exchange fellowship to work at The Institute for Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, Medical University of Vienna from June to December 2015 (06 months).
5. Prof. Hiralal Chakraborty memorial award from Botanical Society of Bengal in 2010
6. Prof. Prabir Chatterjee Memorial award from Botanical Society of Bengal in 2010
7. Foundation Subsistence of Asia Foundation from University of Calcutta in 2009
8. Swati Bose Memorial Award from University of Calcutta in 2009
9. Aparajita Chattopadhyay Memorial Fund Prize from Presidency College in 2007
Research / Administrative Experience+
Postdcotoral fellow at Bose Institute [Supervisor: Prof. Swati Gupta Bhattacharya] (2017-2018)
Postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, Boston [Supervisor: Prof. Tim A. Springer] (2018-2019)
India Alliance ECF at Visva Bharati [Supervisor: Prof. Amitava Pal] (2019-2022)
Asst. Professor and India Alliance ECF, PU [Supervisor: Dr. Piyali Mukherjee] (2022- continuing)
Teaching / Other Experience+
3. Vector biology and Vaccinology
Post Graduate Supervision+
1. Dr. Rajat Kanti Sarkar, Project Associate
2. Ms. Chandrabati Chatterjee UGC-JRF
1. World Allergy Organization
2. European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
3. Indian Science Congress
4. Indian College of Allergy, Asthma, and Applied Immunolgy
1. Sircar G., Ghosh N., and Saha S. (2022) Designing next-generation vaccines against common pan-allergens using in silico approaches. Monoclonal Antibodies in Immunodiagnosis and Immunotherapy (Just accepted; in press) DOI: 10.1089/mab.2021.0033
2. Sarkar R. K., Bhowmik M., Biswas Sarkar M., Sircar G*., Bhattacharya K.*, (2021) Comprehensive characterization and molecular insights into the salt tolerance of a Cu, Zn-superoxide dismutase from an Indian Mangrove, Avicennia marina. Scientific reports 2022 Feb 2;12(1):1745 *- corresponding author
3. Bhowmik, M., Sarkar, M. B., Sarkar, R. K., Dasgupta, A., Saha, S., Jana, K., Sircar, G.*, & Bhattacharya, S.G. (2021). Cloning and immunobiochemical analyses on recombinant chymopapain allergen Cari p 2 showing pollen-fruit cross-reaction. Molecular Immunology, 137, 42-51. *- corresponding author
4. Ghosh, N., Sircar, G*., Asam, C., Wolf, M., Hauser, M., Saha, S., Ferreira, F. and Bhattacharya, S.G., 2020. Purification and biochemical characterization of Hel a 6, a cross-reactive pectate lyase allergen from Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) pollen. Scientific reports, 10(1), pp.1-15. *- Equal contribution
5. Maity, S., Bhakta, S., Bhowmik, M., Sircar, G*. and Bhattacharya, S.G., 2020. Identification, cloning, and immunological studies on a major eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) allergen Sola m 1: A new member of profilin allergen family. Molecular Immunology, 118, pp.210-221. *- corresponding author
6. Sircar, G., Bhowmik, M., Sarkar, R.K., Najafi, N., Dasgupta, A., Focke-Tejkl, M., Flicker, S., Mittermann, I., Valenta, R., Bhattacharya, K. and Bhattacharya, S.G., 2020. Molecular characterization of a fungal cyclophilin allergen Rhi o 2 and elucidation of antigenic determinants responsible for IgE–cross-reactivity. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 295(9), 2736-2748.
7. Bhattacharya KN., Sircar G., Dasgupta A., and Gupta Bhattacharya S., (2018). Spectrum of Allergens and Allergen Biology Research in India – International Archives of Allergy and Immunology 2018;177(3):219-23
8. Biswas Sarkar M*., Sircar G*., Ghosh N., Das A., Jana K., Dasgupta A., Gupta Bhattacharya S., (2018). Cari p 1 , a New Polygalacturonase allergen from Papaya acting as food and Respiratory sensitizers. Frontiers in Plant Sciences. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.00823 *- equal contribution and corresponding author
9. Sircar G, Jana K, Dasgupta A, Saha S, and Gupta Bhattacharya, S. (2016). Epitope Mapping of Rhi o 1 and Generation of a Hypoallergenic Variant - A candidate molecule for fungal allergy vaccines. Journal of Biological Chemistry 291(34):18016-29.
10. Dey D, Saha B, Sircar G, Ghosal K, Gupta Bhattacharya, S. (2016) Mass spectrometry-based identification of allergens from Curvularia pallescens, a prevalent aerospore in India. Biochim. Biophys. Acta. (Elsevier) 1864(7):869-79
11. Ghosh N*, Sircar G*, Saha B, Pandey N, Gupta Bhattacharya, S. (2016) Data on mass spectrometry based identification of allergens from sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) pollen proteome. Data Brief (Elsevier), 12(7):735-9 *- equal contribution
12. Sircar, G., Saha, B., Mandal, R. S., Pandey, N., Saha, S., and Gupta Bhattacharya, S. (2015). Purification, Cloning and Immuno-Biochemical Characterization of a Fungal Aspartic Protease Allergen Rhi o 1 from the Airborne Mold Rhizopus oryzae. PloS one, 10(12). e0144547. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0144547
13. Saha B, Sircar G, Pandey N, and Gupta Bhattacharya, S. (2015) Mining novel allergens from Coconut Pollen employing manual de-novo sequencing and homology driven proteomics. J. Proteome Res. (ACS). 14(11):4823-33
14. Ghosh N*, Sircar G*, Saha B, Pandey N, and Gupta Bhattacharya, S. (2015) Search for Allergens from the Pollen Proteome of Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.): A Major Sensitizer for Respiratory Allergy Patients. PloS One, 10(9): e0138992. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0138992 *- equal contribution
15. Sircar G, Saha B, Jana T, Dasgupta A, Gupta Bhattacharya, S. and Saha, S. (2015). DAAB: a manually curated database of allergy and asthma biomarkers).Clinical & Experimental Allergy (John Willey). 45, 1259–1261.
16. Sircar, G., Sarkar, D., Gupta Bhattacharya, S., and Saha, S. (2014). Allergen Databases. Methods in Mol. Biol. Immunoinformatics (Humana Press) 1184:165-81. Springer Protocol New York.
17. Sircar, G., Saha, B., Gupta Bhattacharya, S., and Saha, S. (2014). In Silico Prediction of Allergenic Proteins. Methods in Mol. Biol. Immunoinformatics (Humana Press) 1184:375-88. Springer Protocol New York.
18. Sircar, G., Saha, B., Gupta Bhattacharya, S., and Saha, S. (2014). Allergic asthma biomarkers using systems approaches. Frontiers in genetics 4:308.
19. Sircar G, Chakrabarti, H. S., Saha, B., and Gupta Bhattacharya, S. (2012) Identification of aero-allergens from Rhizopus oryzae: An immunoproteomic approach. Journal of Proteomics (Elsevier). 77: 455-468.
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