Amar R. Bhagwat, PhD

Research Assistant Professor


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Contact

412-383-8553
Fax: 412-624-1401

439 Bridgeside Point 2

450 Technology Drive

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Research Summary

Influenza viruses have genomes composed of 8 segments that undergo replication independently inside infected cells. The individual segments are eventually recruited and bundled as a supramolecular-complex before being packaged into a budding progeny virion. This mechanism, though complicated, confers an evolutionary advantage to the virus by affording the possibility of genetic reassortment whereby two viruses can swap entire segments to produce a virus with a higher fitness or broader host range. The exact details of this mechanism, including the transport to cell surface, recruitment of individual segments by each other, and segment reassortment, is still poorly understood. My research involves studying the egress of viral RNA segments using high-speed light-sheet fluorescence microscopy on live, infected cells. To this effect, I hvae built a dual-view selective plane illumination fluorescence microscope capable of two-color imaging. Additionally, Dr. Lakdawala has recently developed a fully-functional fluorescently-tagged version of the 2009 pandemic virus, which makes it possible to visualize individual segments in live-cell microscopy. By fluorescently tagging the transport vesicles in cells, we are starting to develop a better understanding of the Influenza virus life cycle with high spatio-temporal resolution. Additionally, I am developing microscopy techniques to study viral reassortment which will help us understand the mechanisms behind the emergence of highly pathogenic/pandemic seasonal Influenza strains. 

Mentor

PhD in Applied Physics, Cornell University, 2009

B.Tech. in Engineering Physics, Indian Institute of Technology (Bombay, India), 2003

Research Lab Affiliation