SKB Lab - where science is fun!


Welcome to Sureshkumar Balasubramanian Lab (SKB Lab). We address a mix of basic and translational biology  questions in the lab using natural strains of Arabidopsis thaliana.   Some of the key questions that we ask include how plants sense and respond to changes in temperature and what factors govern natural variation in this response?  Sequencing of genomes have revealed substantial similarity between diverse organisms such as plants and animals. Gene products often perform the same function in diverse organisms. In spite of this high degree of similarity, there is extensive phenotypic variation both within and between species. This phenotypic variation acts as the pool on which selection can operate to lead to the survival of the fittest. Very often the phenotypic differences are hidden (cryptic) and expressed only in certain environments. We are interested in revealing the genetic and molecular basis of this variation at a mechanistic level. Our work cuts across traditional boundaries and involves a combination of several disciplines such as genetics, ecology and evolution and molecular biology.  We welcome you to our cyberspace and feel free to explore our world.

The second aspect of my group comes from our discovery of a triplet expansion associated genetic defect in plants. Triplet repeat expansions underlie several human genetic diseases and we have uncovered a repeat expansion associated defect in the model plant Arabidopsis. We are using this system to study the basic mechanisms underlying these defects. Our work has direct relevance to a disease known as Friedreich ataxia, which is the most common genetic ataxia that affects a sizable population. We are uncovering fundamental principles which may aid in the development of therapeutics for Friedreich’s ataxia.

We provide several opportunities for students who are seeking avenues for excellence. We encourage motivated individuals interested in pursuing a research career to contact us for potential funding options.  Monash University offers competitive funding opportunities for international students for pursuing PhD as well as post-doctoral fellowships. In addition, several other funding options exist which may suit individual needs. Feel free to contact us about the possible choices. We take pride in providing challenging opportunities for undergraduate students and we especially welcome undergraduate students in our lab for an excellent start to their research careers. Needless to say that Melbourne is one of the liveliest cities and rated amongst the best cities to live in the world. If you want to experience the best of both worlds Monash may be an option for you.