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Sakthi Vaiyapuri

Sakthi Vaiyapuri portrait

Areas of interest

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.

Research centres and groups

Membership in Professional Bodies

  • American Heart Association
  • International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis
  • British Society for Cardiovascular Research
  • British Society for Haematology
  • The Physiological Society

Research projects

Research  project funding

  • University of Reading (2018) BOISP Impact Funding (£20,000) (PI)
  • Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau (2017) PhD Studentship, £150,000 (PI)
  • University of Reading (2016) 2020 Research Fellowship, £5000 (PI)
  • British Heart Foundation (2016) PhD Studentship, £107,299 (PI)
  • Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau (2016) PhD Studentship, £150,000 (PI)
  • The Wellcome Trust (2016) Seed Award in Science, £98,333 (PI)
  • British Heart Foundation (2016) Project Grant, £170,397 (PI)
  • Saudi Arabian Embassy (2016) PhD Studentship, £150,000 (PI)
  • University of Reading (2016) UROP Summer placement award, £1320 (PI)
  • The Physiological Society (2015) Research Grant, £9936 (PI)
  • The Royal Society (2015) Research Grant, £14,999 (PI)
  • University of Reading (2015) UROP Summer placement award, £1320 (PI)
  • Saudi Arabian Embassy (2015) PhD Studentship, £138,000 (PI)

Current Group Members

  • Dr Divya Ravishankar - Postdoctoral Research Associate
  • Ms Maryam Salamah - PhD
  • Ms Eman Alzahrani - PhD
  • Mr Harry Williams - PhD
  • Mr Kahdr Alatawi - PhD
  • Mr Thomas Vallance - PhD
  • Ms Shahtha Alomar - PhD
  • Ms Medha Sonavane - PhD
  • Mr Harry Layfield - Research Technician

Impact, Enterprise and Outreach

  • Snakebite brings social and financial burden among Indian farmers - an article published in 'Rural 21', 03; 2016.
  • Snakebite Antivenom Development Is Stuck in the 19th Century. What's Next? - an article published in 'Scientific American' on 17th November 2015.
  • Indian's snakebite victims could be offered lifesaving low-cost nasal spray - an article published in 'The Guardian' on 18th July 2014.
  • Cheap nasal spray may save snakebite victims - an article published in 'SciDevNet' on 17th July 2014.
  • Universal antidote for snakebite: Experimental trial represents promising step toward - an article published in 'ScienceDaily' on 28th May 2014.
  • The Killers Underfoot - an article published in 'The New York Times' on 12th April 2014.
  • Snakebite deaths register rattling surge, finds study - an article published in 'The Times of India' on 12th March 2014.
  • Clot breakthrough - an article published in an UK newspaper, 'Chronicle' on 10th October 2013.
  • Food Hospital - Effects of onions in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases- participated in a TV Show for 'Channel 4' in October 2012.
  • Blood cell breakthrough could help treat heart disease - an article published in 'The Operation Theatre Journal', May 2012: Issue 260; 2.
  • Blood cell breakthrough could help treat heart disease - an article published in an UK newspaper, 'Reading Post' on 22nd May 2012.
  • Snakes alive-working with deadly venom - an article published in an UK newspaper, 'Reading Post' on 21st March 2007.

Local Collaborators

  • Professor Jonathan Gibbins, School of Biological Sciences
  • Professor Ketan Patel, School of Biological Sciences
  • Professor Ben Whalley, School of Pharmacy
  • Professor Gary Stephens, School of Pharmacy
  • Professor Helen Osborn, School of Pharmacy
  • Dr Alistair McNeish, School of Pharmacy
  • Dr Darius Widera, School of Pharmacy
  • Dr Katrina Bicknell, School of Pharmacy
  • Dr Katja Strohfeldt, School of Pharmacy
  • Dr Andrew Bicknell, School of Biological Sciences
  • Dr Keith Foster, School of Biological Sciences
  • Dr Michael Fry, School of Biological Sciences
  • Dr David Leake, School of Biological Sciences
  • Dr Kim Watson, School of Biological Sciences
  • Dr Chris Jones, School of Biological Sciences
  • Dr Fazil Baksh, Department of Mathematics and Statistics

National Collaborators

  • Professor Sue Brain, Kings College London, UK
  • Dr Robert Harrison, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK
  • Professor Martyn Mahaut-Smith, University of Leicester, UK
  • Professor Mauro Perretti, William Harvey Research Institute, London, UK
  • Dr Stephen Paul Samuel, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, UK
  • Researching For A Bright Future - an article published in the University of Reading alumni magazine in  2006

International Collaborators

  • Dr Matthew Lewin, California Academy of Sciences, USA
  • Dr Alexander Simon, University of Arizona, USA
  • Dr Leonardo Moraes, National University of Singapore, Singapore
  • Dr Prabu Gajjeraman, Karpagam University, India
  • Dr C Soundara Raj, TCR Multispeciality Hospital, Tamil Nadu, India

Awards and honours

2018: Winner of 'Research Engagement and Impact Awards 2018' for Embark Category

2018: 'Best Undergraduate Project Award' at the University of Reading from The Physiological Society for Chi Ut Kitty Iun for her research project in our laboratory

2016: 2020 Research Fellowship from the University of Reading

2016: 'Research Inspired Teaching Excellence Award' by the Reading University Students' Union

2016: 'Best Undergraduate Dissertation Award' for the Faculty of Life sciences for 'Muhammad Javed' for his MPharm research project in our laboratory

2015: 'Best UROP Project award' for Health Research Theme at the University of Reading for 'Ghalib Masood' for his summer project in our laboratory.

2014: Research Travel Grant from the University of Reading.

2014: Travel Award from the American Heart Association.

2014: Best Cover Art Award of 2013 at ATVB Conference in Toronto.

2013: Best Research Output Award for the Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Reading.

2013: Travel award from British Society for Haemostasis and Thrombosis.

2010: ICMR Research Development Award, University of Reading.

2007: Leonard Sutton Scholarship Award for research assistantship, University of Reading.

2007: Special research award from the Felix Trust, London.

2002: Gnanam Endowment Fellowship for Research at University of Madras, Chennai, India.

2000: 'Best Student Award' received at Thanthai Hans Roever College, Tamil Nadu, India.