In 2006, Arun graduated from the Sri Sathya Sai University, India with the M.Sc. in Biotechnology. Later, he worked as a junior research fellow at the Tata Insitute of Fundamental Research and Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.

Since October 2010, he's been a member of the IGSDHD. During the rotation period he worked at the laboratory of:

  • Prof. Maria Leptin, project: "Role of garz (GBF1) in tracheal morphogenesis" and "Role of traf4 in epithelial remodeling of wing discs of Drosophila melanogaster"

  • PD Dr. Marc Bramkamp, project: "Role of DivIVA in chromosome segregation in Actinobacteria"

  • Prof. Elena Rugarli, project: "Studying mitochondrial fusion in m-AAA protease deficient cells"

Since April 2011 he's been working on his PhD project in the group of Dr. Elena Rugarli.

Project description

Broadly, I am interested in studying the pathogenic mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases. I focus on m-AAA protease, which is present in the inner mitochondrial membrane and is involved in protein quality control. In mammals, it exists as a hetero-oligomeric complex composed of two subunits, paraplegin and AFG3L2, and as a homo-oligomeric complex composed of AFG3L2 alone. Mutations in AFG3L2 lead to autosomal dominant spinocerebellar ataxia, SCA 28, while mutations in another subunit, paraplegin, leads to hereditary spastic paraplegia. The m-AAA protease is one of the many instances where there is an intricate connection between mitochondria and neurodegenerative diseases. I attempt to study the mitochondrial dynamics and transport in the neurons of AFG3L2 knock out mouse in vitro to arrive at a plausible explanation for neurodegenerative mechanisms.