My research interest is in deciphering the genetics of host-pathogen interactions in infectious disease biology involving intracellular pathogens with a focus on innate immunity. I am interested in the role of the Type III interferons in priming and maintaining host immunity to intracellular pathogens and their role in autoimmunity. Currently, my research involves positive-strand RNA viruses like hepatitis C virus (HCV) and dengue virus (DENV) and the protozoan parasite Leishmania donovani that cause important human diseases. Pathogenesis is a phenomenon that is a result of pathogen-host-environment interactions. The role of host microenvironment in initiating an innate immune response to intracellular pathogens is poorly understood. It is noteworthy that some individuals in the population are more resistant to pathogen infections than others, underlying the importance of host genetic variation in pathogenesis. Identifying these genetic variants in the host can lead us to a better understanding of viral pathogenesis. For example: DENV is a flavivirus that causes acute febrile diseases in humans. While some individuals are asymptomatic, others show a mild and self-limiting fever (dengue fever, DF). A small proportion of DF cases progress to a fatal condition called dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) or dengue shock syndrome (DSS). These and many other similar examples (like that of HCV infections) show that host genetic variation is critical in deciding the outcome of a viral infection. Identifying the factors that play decisive roles in overcoming the infections by pathogens in the resistant population can help identify novel proteins which can be developed in to drugs to treat the susceptible population.
Projects: (extramurally funded)
Chinnaswamy S*, Wardzynska A, Pawelczyk M, Makowska J, Skaaby T, Mercader JM, Ahluwalia TS, Grarup N, Guindo-Martinez M, Bisgaard H, Torrents D, Linneberg A, Bønnelykke K, Kowalski ML. 2017. A functional IFN-λ4-generating DNA polymorphism could protect older asthmatic women from aeroallergen sensitization and associate with clinical features of asthma. Scientific Reports (doi:10.1038/s41598-017-10467-y).
Bhushan A, Ghosh S, Bhattacharjee S and Chinnaswamy S*. 2017. Confounding by single nucleotide polymorphism rs117648444 (P70S) affects the association of interferon lambda locus variants with response to interferon-α-ribavirin therapy in patients with chronic genotype 3 hepatitis C virus infection. Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research, 37(8): 369-382.
S Chinnaswamy; 2016. Gene–disease association with human IFNL locus polymorphisms extends beyond hepatitis C virus infections. Genes and Immunity 17: 265-275.
CHINNASWAMY S (2014) Genetic variants at the IFNL3 locus and their association with hepatitis C virus infections reveal novel insight s in to host-virus interactions. J Interferon and Cytokine Research (Epub ahead of print; DOI: 10.1089/jir.2013.0113).
CHINNASWAMY S*, Chatterjee S, Boopathi R, Mukherjee S, Bhattacharjee S and Kundu TK (2013) A single nucleotide polymorphism associated with hepatitis C virus infections located in the distal region of the IL28B promoter influences NF-kB –mediated gene transcription. PLoS ONE (8(10): e75495. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075495) (*Corresponding author).