Assistant Professor Navin Kumar Verma

Navin Verma (Custom).jpg

Assistant Professor Navin Kumar Verma
Assistant Professor of Immunology and Cell Biology
Principal Investigator, Lymphocyte Signalling Research Laboratory
Laboratory Staff
  • Dr Seow Theng Ong, PhD, Senior Research Fellow
  • Dr Mobashar Hussain Urf Turabe Fazil, PhD, Research Fellow
  • Dr Madhavi Latha Somaraju Chalasani, PhD, Research Fellow
  • Dr Pankaj Kumar, PhD, Research Fellow
  • Ms Praseetha Rajesh Chandramohanadas, Research Assistant
  • Mr Atish Kizhakeyil, PhD student
  • Mr Jian Hui Low, PhD student
  • Mr Shyam Mohan Palapetta, PhD student



Assistant Professor Navin Kumar Verma is an Assistant Professor of Immunology and Cell Biology at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University. He obtained PhD in Clinical Medicine from Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Ireland’s most prestigious University, under the supervision of Professor Yuri Volkov and Professor Dermot Kelleher. He then undertook postdoctoral research training at the Institute of Molecular Medicine, TCD, where he studied the integrin LFA-1-mediated signaling pathways involved in T-cell cytoskeletal remodeling and migration. He was trained in various aspects of Immunology, Cell Biology, Hematolymphoid Malignancies and Nanomedicine.

Asst Prof Verma has made significant contribution in the area of lymphocyte signaling. He has published more than 35 peer-reviewed papers, which are widely cited (h-Index 13) in the field of immunology, cell biology, cell signaling, pharmacology, toxicology and nanomedicine. In a recent ground-breaking discovery, his research team demonstrated a novel gene silencing technique applied to primary human T-lymphocytes using molecularly-targeted GapmeR. He is co-author of 8 patents.

Asst Prof Verma has received several awards and prizes for his scientific achievements. These include the Glory of India Award, SERS Innovative Scientist of the Year Award, best presentation awards at scientific conferences and the first prize for outstanding business plan of his research in the Trinity Heat of Idea to Product (I2P) coordinated by the University of Texas at Austin I2P® Program. He has served as a reviewer for national and international research grants and scientific Journals.


Research focus

The main research interest of the lab is centered on developing new ways to treat immune-mediated inflammatory disorders (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis), skin diseases (e.g. melasma, atopic dermatitis), superficial infections (e.g. skin/wound infections) and cancer (hematolymphoid malignancies). His research team employs cutting-edge tools and advanced technologies to understand disease mechanisms at subcellular and molecular levels using various in vitro and in vivo model systems.

Research in Asst Prof Verma’s lab is focused on the following major multidisciplinary projects:

  1. Elucidation of molecular processes mediated via adhesion receptors in lymphocytes; in particular, biological roles and functional significance of the integrin LFA-1 and associated signaling and adaptor proteins in T-cell migration.
  2. Identification of signaling protein interactome involved in the active locomotion of T-lymphocytes.
  3. Characterization of inflammatory skin disorders for biomarker discovery.
  4. Development of novel gene silencing-based therapeutic strategy that could be combined with nanotechnology enabled controlled-release drug delivery systems for targeting skin diseases, hematolymphoid malignancies and other cancer, in addition to immunotherapeutic applications.
  5. Exploitation of the anti-inflammatory and anti-infective properties of multi-functional bioactive peptides/polymers for treating superficial infections and wound applications.


Figure 1 (Custom).tif
High Content Analysis (HCA) of T-cell migratory phenotypes.
Figure 2 (Custom).tif
Mechanism by which PKCε-Rab5a-Rac1 axis regulates LFA-1/ICAM-1-stimulated cytoskeletal remodelling in motile T-cells.
Figure 3 (Custom).tif
A model for LFA-1-induced STAT3 activation and regulation of microtubule dynamics.
Figure 4 (Custom).tiff
Super-resolution image of GapmeR (green) treated T-cell showing association with macropinosomes (red).

 LKCMedicine Research Spotlight


Key Publications

  1. Fazil MHUT, Ong ST, Chalasani MLS, Low JH, Kizhakeyil A, Mamidi A, Lim CFH, Wright GW, Lakshminarayanan R, Kelleher D, Verma NK. 2016. GapmeR cellular internalization by macropinocytosis induces sequence-specific gene silencing in human primary T-cells. Scientific Reports 6:37721.
  2. Verma NK, Fazil MHUT, Ong ST, Chalasani MLS, Low JH, Kottaiswamy A, Praseetha P, Kizhakeyil A, Kumar S, Panda AK, Freeley M, Smith SM, Boehm BO, Kelleher D. 2016. LFA-1/ICAM-1 ligation in human T-cells promotes Th1 polarization through a GSK3β signalling-dependent Notch pathway. J Immunol 197:108-18.
  3. Liow SS, Dou Q, Kai D, Sugiarto S, Yu CYY, Kwok RTK, Chen X, Wu Y-L, Ong ST, Kizhakeyil A, Verma NK, Tang BZ, Loh XJ. 2016. Long-term real-time in vivo drug release monitoring with AIE thermogelling polymer. Small (in press).
  4. Dhand C, Ong ST, Dwivedi N, Diaz SM, Venugopal JR, Navaneethan B, Fazil MHUT, Ping LS, Seitz V, Wintermantel E, Beuerman RW,  Ramakrishna S, Verma NK, Lakshminarayanan R. 2016. Bioinspired in situ crosslinking and mineralization of electrospun collagen as scaffolds for bone tissue engineering. Biomaterials 104:323-338.
  5. Duong DT, Singh S, Bagheri M, Verma NK, Schmidtchen A, Malmsten M. 2016. Pronounced peptide selectivity for melanoma through tryptophan end-tagging. Scientific Reports 6:24952.
  6. Fox SJ, Fazil MHUT, Dhand C, Venkatesh M, Goh ETL, Harini S, Eugene C, Lim RR, Ramakrishna S, Chaurasia SS, Beuerman RW, Verma CS, Verma NK, Loh XJ, Lakshminarayanan R. 2016. Insight into the membrane selectivity of linear and branched polyethylenimines and their potential as biocides for advanced wound dressings. Acta Biomater 37:155-64.
  7. Ong ST, Freeley M, Skubis-Zegadło J, Fazil MHUT, Kelleher D, Fresser F, Baier G, Verma NK, Long A. 2014. Phosphorylation of Rab5a by protein kinase Cε is crucial for T-cell migration. J Biol Chem 289:19420-34.
  8. Lysaght J, Verma NK (joint first author), Maginn EN, Ryan JM, Campiani G, Zisterer DM, Williams DC, Browne PV, Volkov Y, Lawler M, McElligott AM. 2013. The microtubule targeting agent PBOX-15 inhibits integrin-mediated cell adhesion and induces apoptosis in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia cells. Int J Oncol 42:239-246.
  9. Verma NK, Dempsey E, Long A, Davies A, Barry SP, Fallon PG, Volkov Y, Kelleher D. 2012. Leukocyte function-associated antigen-1/intercellular adhesion molecule-1 interaction induces a novel genetic signature resulting in T-cells refractory to transforming growth factor-β signalling. J Biol Chem 287:27204-27216.
  10. Verma NK, Dourlat J, Davies AM, Long A, Kelleher D, Liu WQ, Garbay C, Volkov Y. 2009. STAT3-stathmin interactions control microtubule dynamics in migrating T-cells. J Biol Chem 284:12349-12362.