Dr. Vasan Sambandamurthy

siRNA-based Therapeutics & Infectious Diseases

Dr. Vasan Sambandamurthy,Ph.D.


Dr. Vasan Sambandamurthy holds a basic degree in Medical Microbiology and a Ph.D. in bacterial genetics. He was the recipient of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellowship for pursuing post-doctoral research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York on mycobacterial genetics. His research findings were instrumental in securing a multimillion dollar NIH PO1 grant for evaluating the use of attenuated TB strains as trivalent vaccines against TB, Malaria and HIV.

He held leadership position at Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases, Singapore with responsibility for building strategy and leading multidisciplinary global discovery teams towards the delivery of preclinical candidate drugs against tuberculosis. He received the prestigious Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research (NIBR) team innovation award for the identification of target for the natural product cyclomarin.

At AstraZeneca, as a Lead Biologist developed strategy and supported the preclinical evaluation of AZD5847 and a novel antimalarial molecule towards clinical development. AZD5847 has recently completed phase 2a trials for the treatment of multi-drug resistance tuberculosis. He has experience in portfolio and project management from early target identification to preclinical development of small molecules. He has published over 35 original research articles in international journals and a co-inventor on three patents.

He is currently a Senior Lead Investigator at MSCTR and is building a research platform to develop siRNA based therapeutics in collaboration with Biocon and Quark Pharmaceuticals. In addition, he is establishing an antimicrobial surveillance program to map the dynamics and evolution of drug resistance in bacterial pathogens implicated in hospital acquired infections.

Research Interests

  • Studying the evolution and molecular basis of antimicrobial drug resistance
  • Developing siRNA based therapeutics to treat human diseases
  • Developing novel therapeutic interventions to tackle infectious diseases

Publications (Recent)

  • Ramachandran S,…., Sambandamurthy VK# 2014. N-Aryl-2-aminobenzimidazoles: Novel, Efficacious, Antimalarial Lead Compounds. J Medicinal Chemistry; Jul 21. (Corresponding Author)
  • Hameed S, …., Sambandamurthy VK# 2014. Aminoazabenzimidazoles, a novel class of orally active antimalarial agents. J Medicinal Chemistry; 57(13):5702-13 (Corresponding Author)
  • Balasubramanian V,.., Sambandamurthy VK#, 2014. Bactericidal activity and mechanism of action of AZD5847, a novel oxazolidinone for treatment of tuberculosis. Antimicro Agents & Chemother; 58(1):495-502. (Corresponding Author)
  • Shirude PS,.., Sambandamurthy VK, 2013. Aminopyrazinamides: novel and specific GyrB inhibitors that kill replicating and nonreplicating Mycobacterium tuberculosis. ACS Chemical Biology; 8(3):519-23.
  • Schmitt EK, Riwanto M, Sambandamurthy VK, et al., 2011. The natural product cyclomarin kills Mycobacterium tuberculosis by targeting the ClpC1 subunit of the caseinolytic protease. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl.; 50(26):5889-91.
  • Kurabachew M,…, Sambandamurthy VK, 2008. Lipiarmycin targets RNA polymerase & has good activity against multidrug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. J Antimicrob Chemother. 62(4):713-9 (Corresponding Author)
  • Sambandamurthy VK*, Derrick SC*, et al., 2006. Mycobacterium tuberculosis DeltaRD1 DeltapanCD: a safe and limited replicating mutant strain that protects immunocompetent and immunocompromised mice against experimental tuberculosis. Vaccine; 24(37-39): 6309-20. (equal contributions)
  • Hingley-Wilson S, Sambandamurthy VK & Jacobs Jr. WR, 2003. Survival perspectives from the world’s most successful pathogen, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Nature Immunology; 4: 949-957.
  • Sambandamurthy VK,…, Jacobs WR, 2002. A pantothenate auxotroph of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is highly attenuated and protects mice against tuberculosis.Nature Medicine; 8: 1171-4.