Sakthivel Vaiyapuri

Associate Professor in Cardiovascular & Venom Pharmacology, University of Reading

Our research interests are mainly focussed on the understanding of the orchestrated functions of adhesive molecules in the regulation of cellular interactions and responses during the development of inflammatory diseases. Platelets (small circulating blood cells) are involved in blood clotting to prevent excessive bleeding. However, their inappropriate activation under pathological conditions leads to thrombosis, which can cause major life threatening conditions such as heart attacks and strokes. Although platelets play an important role in the maintenance of haemostasis and thrombosis, they are known to be critically involved in the development of inflammatory responses. Therefore, our research group is currently investigating the orchestrated functions of adhesive molecules and inflammatory receptors such as formyl peptide and toll-like receptors present on the surface of blood cells such as platelets, monocytes and neutrophils in the regulation of multicellular interactions and their complex functions during inflammatory responses.

As well as this, we are also interested in understanding the pathophysiological functions of snake venom proteins in order to improve the diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to snakebites. Since viper venom components are haemotoxic in nature and target the blood coagulation system, we are able to inter-relate the venom proteins with the coagulation system to understand their mechanisms of action. Indeed, we have purified several toxic venom proteins including a snaclec, rhinocetin from the venom of Bitis gabonica rhinoceros that was characterised to be a selective inhibitor of integrin α2β1 on the surface of platelets and endothelial cells. We are currently involved in the expression and molecular characterisation of snake venom proteins from plant-based bioreactors and are exploring the therapeutic applications of chemical-based inhibitors as an alternative option for treating snakebites.

Experience

  • –present
    Associate professor, University of Reading