Gaurav is an Associate Professor at the Department of Computational Biology at IIIT-Delhi. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Cologne, Germany, with a Ph.D. in Natural Sciences. He is a Chemical Biologist with vast experience in Cheminformatics and High-throughput screening assays. Gaurav carried out his Post Doctoral work at several renowned institutes, including the Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne, the Max Planck Institute for Ageing, and the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Singapore. His lab at IIIT-Delhi utilizes a hybrid and interdisciplinary approach combining Artificial Intelligence (AI), Chemistry, and Biology. Further, his laboratory also develops high-throughput in vivo assays for the functional validation of the AI-predictions. The ultimate goal of his laboratory is to uncover the functional importance of endogenous metabolites, in development, health, and diseases. Within few years of its inception, his laboratory contributed to establishing the functional link between the chemical and biological world of the cell. Gaurav is a recipient of the prestigious Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowship from DBT, India. He is also a member of the International Chemical Biology Society. Current PositionAssociate Professor at the Department of Computational Biology, Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology-Delhi (IIIT-Delhi). (July, 2019)Previous PositionsAssistant Professor at the Department of Computational Biology, Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology-Delhi (IIIT-Delhi). (July, 2019 to June, 2022)Senior Research Fellow (Senior Post Doc) in the Laboratory of Prof. Philip W. Ingham at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Singapore. (2019)Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Laboratory of Dr. Leo Kurian at the Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne and guest scientist at Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, Cologne, Germany (2016-2019) Postdoctoral Fellow (Postdoctoral adviser: Prof. Sigrun Korsching), Institute for Genetics, University at Cologne, Cologne, Germany (2015 – 2016)Ph.D. Student (Thesis advisor: Prof. Sigrun Korsching), Institute for Genetics, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany (2010 – 2015)
Essential cellular behaviors, including those that ensure its survival or homeostasis, are modulated by many intrinsic or extrinsic factors. For the last few decades, efforts have been ongoing to identify these factors, followed by their functional characterization, ultimately leading to decoding these complex response mechanisms. Despite years of experimentation involving heating, boiling, freezing, and electroporation of cells, our understanding of how these chemical moieties influence vital fundamental cellular processes is far from complete. Decoding logics: Using Artificial Intelligence & Yeast-based sensorsOur lab has recently compiled a compendium of the GPCR-drug database and developed a novel language-based Deep Learning architecture to understand the rules of Drug-Target interaction.Connecting Dots: Linking metabolites to cell-cell communicationThis project leverages the combo of Protein Language Models and cheminformatics to link receptor proteins involved in cell-cell communications to tissue-associated, extracellular metabolic landscape.Ultimate Response: Decrypting interactions between chemical & biological spaceComprehensive mechanistic insights into biological systems necessitate a thorough evaluation of each node of the underlying multi-dimensional processes and their interdependence. Inspired by Graph Theory Algorithms, we are attempting to dissect this highly convulated networks, and validating our computational findings using Yeast-based assays. Cellular Ethology: Defining Grammar of Induced Cellular BehaviorWe are presently developing microfluidics-based cell behavior assays to monitor the impact of bioactive compounds on cellular behaviors.Some relevant questions that trigger our laboratory interest include:
What genetic or epigenetic factors govern selective OR expression in the malignant cells?
What are their functional contributions?
If they impart chemosensory function, what is the triggering stimulus for these ORs within the tumor microenvironment?
Since multiple ORs are co-expressed within a single malignant cell, then how do the malignant cells manage the highly convoluted downstream pathways and their potential cross-talks?
If ORs are indeed multifunctional genes in the human genome, then why are a significant proportion of them pseudogenized or under negative selection pressure?
Which molecular features define the tuning ability (narrowly or broadly tuned) or ligand specificity of the OR?
The Ahuja lab is supported by the Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowship, a re-entry scheme of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, and an Intramural Start-up grant from Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology-Delhi (IIIT-Delhi). The lab has also been awarded funding from Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) for promoting basic research in Science and Engineering.