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Varsha Singh (currently at University of Dundee, UK)

Associate Professor


Our Laboratory is interested in understanding how organisms sense their environment. We study the effect of sensing at behavioural, physiological, cellular and molecular levels. We primarily use 2 model organisms- a eukaryote and a prokaryote. Caenorhabditis elegans hermaphrodite, a nematode, is a eutelic organism endowed with a nervous system of 302 neurons in a soma of 959 cells. We leverage genetic tractability of worms to understand neuronal regulation of longevity and innate immunity. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a Gram-negative bacterium endowed with a large repertoire of sensor kinases, the first component of a two component system (TCS). We study the effect of TCS on social behaviours of the bacterium such as swarming, biofilm formation, and its interaction with neighbouring microbes.


Major findings:

(a) 1-undecene volatile produced by P. aeruginosa is a flight of fight signal for C. elegans.

(b) Olfactory GPCR, STR-2, regulates life span of C. elegans via coordinating synthesis of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) in the soma.

(c) ErdR response regulator of P. aeruginosa is necessary for ethanol induced swarming in P. aeruginosa.


Details of current project at personal website of Varsha Singh: https://sites.google.com/view/varshalab/home?authuser=0

Selected Publications

  • Badal, D., Jayarani, A.V., Kollaran, M.A., Prakash, D., Monisha P., Singh, V. Foraging signals promote swarming in starving Pseudomonas aeruginosa. mBio 2021, 12(5):02033-21.
  • Prakash, D., Akhil, M.S., Radhika, B., Venkatesan, R., Chalasani, S.H., Singh, V. 1-Undecene from Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an olfactory signal for flight or fight response in Caenorhabditis elegans. EMBO J. 2021, e106938.
  • Sandhu, A., Badal, D., Sheokand, R., Tyagi, S., Singh V. Specific collagens maintain the cuticle permeability barrier in Caenorhabditis elegans. GENETICS 2021, 217(3):iyaa047.
  • Dasgupta, M., Shashikanth, M., Gupta, A., Sandhu, A., De, A., Javed, S., Singh, V. NHR-49 transcription factor regulates immuno-metabolic response and 1 survival of Caenorhabditis elegans during Enterococcus faecalis infection. Infec Immun. 2020, 88(8):e00130-20
  • Dixit, A., Sandhu, A., Modi, S., Shashikanth, M., Koushika, S., Watts, J., Singh, V. Neuronal control of lipid metabolism by STR-2 G protein-coupled receptor promotes longevity in C. elegans. AGING CELL 2020, 19(6):e13160

All Publications


Graduate Students
Ambreetha Sakthivel
PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow
Diana Pradhan
PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow
Ritika Siddiqui
PhD, Department of MRDG
Divakar Badal
PhD candidate in BSSE
Ajay Tanwar
PhD, Department of MRDG
Mohammad Ameen Kollaran
PhD, Department of MRDG
Siddharth Venkatesh
PhD, Department of MRDG
Nikita Mehta
PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow