Prof. Ashis Kumar Das

Senior Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, BITS Pilani, Pilani Campus

Molecular Parasitology, Malaria
Department of Biological Sciences, Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani- 333031, Rajasthan. India.

About the Faculty

Prof. Ashis Das completed his Masters from Ballygunge Science College (University of Calcutta), India, and obtained his PhD from National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, India. He then went on to work as a Post Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Molecular Biology and Immunology, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA followed by a brief stint as a CSIR Pool Officer at National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, India. He has also worked as a World Health Organisation Fellow at the Malaria Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Prof. Das has been associated with the Department of Biological Sciences at BITS Pilani (Pilani Campus) since 1998.


A rising Sun from one perspective looks similar to a setting Sun - The Sun always shines with the moon and stars. 

Additional interests

Playing on the violin, mandolin, painting, photography and shooting.

Current Research Interest

The major thrust areas of my group is research into molecular biology and immunology of the human malaria parasites, especially using samples obtained from clinical cases. We have investigated polymorphisms in major candidate vaccine antigens like MSP1 and AMA1, which could have implications in vaccine design. The Apicoplast sequence of Plasmodium vivax from field isolates in India has been published by us.
Studies on known marker genes hypothesized to be involved in drug resistance to chloroquine and Sulphadoxine/pyrethamine have been performed for both the predominant human malaria species. Some of this data has been published
We are enthusiastically involved in formulating and evolving, diagnostic procedures for the human malarial parasites based on the parasite 18s rRNA and 28s rRNA/ rRNA gene. During this, we have also initiated investigations into a novel phenomenon of cerebral malaria and other forms of severe malaria caused by P. vivax and have shown preliminary proof of concept of a microtitre plate based rRNA capture assay. We are interested in further developing different POC formats for rRNA capture for malaria and later extend to other pathogens.
Systems Biology based approaches are in progress to attempt and enhance understanding of molecules at the host- parasite interface, using material from patients infected with Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Emphasis is on parasite causing severe symptoms in patients such as cerebral malaria, acute renal failure, hepatic dysfunction etc, This work involves translational research starting with patient material, the 2 way process of wet and dry lab approaches which results in formulation of molecular networks insilico. We are confident of generating information leading to the identification and further investigation of new molecules, which would be of importance for therapy, diagnosis and other predictive or preventive approaches.
We are interested in studies with patient derived material for understanding disease modulation through epigenetics and importantly, attempting to understand host parasite cross talk in complicated and uncomplicated disease conditions. 
In addition, we have delivered in non-malarial projects, such as the isolation of naturally occurring LAB, characterization of plasmids in these, & identification and evaluation of putative novel promoters with an intention of facilitating vector design.

Technical Expertise

  • DNA and RNA Extraction and Purification
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Gene Cloning
  • Protein Expression and Purification
  • Southern and Northern Hybridization
  • Design and Synthesis of Oligonucleotide Probes and Primers
  • DNA Sequencing
  • In-vitro Plasmodium falciparum Culture
  • SDS-PAGE Electrophoresis and Western blot
  • Vaccinia-recombinant Virus to Purification
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • CTL Assays
  • Salmonella Expression System
  • In Silico Approaches needed for Systems Biology
  • Microarray Design and Experimentation
  • Advanced Diagnostic Concepts

PhD Degrees Supervised

  • Studies On Sequence Diversity And Characterization Of The Cysteine Rich Carboxy Terminal Region Of Merozoite Surface Protein – 1 (MSP-1) Of P.falciparum In Indian Isolates – Dr. Vijay Kumar Singamsetty (2005)
  • Characterization And Analysis Of Plastid DNA Of The Apicomplexan Parasite Plasmodium vivax From India – Dr. Vishal Saxena (2006)
  • Studies On Sequence Diversity And Characterization Of The Apical Membrane Antigen Of Plasmodium In Indian Isolates – Dr. Vidya Rajesh (2007)
  • Studies On The Drug Resistance Genes In Plasmodium falciparum And Plasmodium vivax From India – Dr. Shilpi Garg (2008)
  • Characterization of Plasmids from Natural Isolates of Lactic Acid Bacteria: Analysis, Identification and Screening for Novel Promoters – Dr. Narayan Kumar (2012)
  • Studies on Molecular Detection of Malarial Parasites - Dr. Deepak Pakalapati (2013) 
  • In vivo Transcriptome Analysis of Plasmodium falciparum Clinical Isolates: Glimpses into Molecular Events in Complicated Malaria - Dr. Amit Kumar Subudhi (2015) 
  • In vivo Transcriptome Profiling of Plasmodium vivax Clinical Isolates: New Insights into Severe Malaria - Dr. Pon Arunachalam Boopathi (2017)
  • Comparative Genome Analysis and Localization of Hypothetical Conserved Plasmodial Proteins. - Dr. Isha Pandey (2018)


  • 1998: CSIR Pool Officer at National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, India 
  • 1993-1997: Post Doctoral Fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, USA
  • 1990-1991: World Health Organisation Fellowship at Malaria Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, USA.
  • 1988-1993: Senior Research Fellowship at National Institute of Immunology, India.
  • 1987-1988: Junior Research Fellowship at National Institute of Immunology, India.