Profiles of Leading Women Scientists on AcademiaNet.
Search among the members of the Leopoldina for experts in specific fields or research topics.
|Year of election:||2006|
|Section:||Microbiology and Immunology|
Main areas of research: Molecular infection biology, host-pathogen interaction, tuberculosis, drug resistant tuberculosis, Functional Molecular Epidemiology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Seyed E. Hasnain is a microbiologist whose main research interest lies in the field of molecular infection biology. He earlier provided important insights into pathogen‐host interaction within the framework of baculovirus infections in insect cells. In other work he researched the epidemiology of tuberculosis pathogens (mycobacterium tuberculosis).
Baculoviruses enter insect larvae by being ingested in their food and result in the death of the insect. As a consequence, these viruses have great importance in biological pest control methods. Seyed E. Hasnain researched the overexpression of genes in the baculovirus expression system and the role played by host factors in this process. His insights made a significant contribution to the understanding of the mechanism of overexpression. Baculoviruses are used as expression systems in genetic engineering. Interferon and Interleukin 2 are examples of components commercially produced by means of genetic engineering for use in medicines, including a candidate malaria vaccine. His earlier collaborative work on HBV generated some novel findings with clinical applications.
Studying the dissemination dynamics, using genetic typing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) isolates from India, Hasnain’s group showed the presence of ancestral isolates as the predominant form circulating in India which could explain the lack of concordance between bacterial load and disease burden in the Indian population. Functional characterization of M.tb hypothetical PE/PPE protein family revealed their importance as diagnostics, vaccine candidates and drug targets. Other areas of Seyed E. Hasnain ́s work include an emphasis on the genetic foundations of antimicrobial drug resistance in the mycobacterium tuberculosis pathogen. In addition, he was able to identify new antigenetic substances in the pathogen. His tuberculosis research with regard to the PE/PPE gene family has led to new molecular targets for medicines. These results are important because there are increasingly more drug‐resistant tuberculosis bacteria strains (MDR, XDR, TDR) as well as a greater incidence of cases of multi‐resistant tuberculosis that are resistant to both of the leading antituberculosis medicines. Seyed E. Hasnain hopes to gain greater insight into the disease’s mechanisms so he can develop new therapies.
Seyed E. Hasnain and his team have sequenced another mycobacterium that is being used in the treatment of leprosy and named it as Mycobacterium indicus pranii. Using comparative genomic and proteomic analyses, Hasnain and his group have shown the importance of gene cooption and moonlighting in mycobacterial pathogenesis and evolution. Hasnain has long been committed to the continuance of German‐Indian research links. He was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit (Das Verdienstkreuz, 1.Klasse) of the Federal Republic of Germany for his engagement in this area.