Academic Profile


2009-2014 Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology (Advisor: Prof. Gerhard Grüber), School of Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University. Singapore.

2007-2009 M.Pharm in Pharmaceutics (Advisor: Prof. Biswajit Mukherjee), Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India

2003-2007 B.Pharm in Pharmacy, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India


Research Experience

Dec 2014-Feb 2021 Postdoctoral Scholar (Advisor: Prof. Sudha Chakrapani) at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Project: Characterization of Ligand Gated Ion Channels using multi-disciplinary techniques including very sophisticated instrument Cryo-electron microscope.  

June 2014-Dec 2014 Research Fellow (Advisor: Dr. Antonina Roll-Mecak) at National Institutes of Health, NINDS, Bethesda, USA

Project: Structure and function of TTLL3, a microtubule severing protein.

Aug 2013-May 2014 Research Associate (Advisor: Prof. Gerhard Grüber) at School of Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University. Singapore

Project: Structural characterization of DF-heterodimer of the yeast V-ATPase.

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Asst Prof Sandip Basak
Assistant Professor, School of Biological Sciences

Structure and dynamics of prokaryotic ligand gated ion channel GLIC and ELIC

Pentameric ligand gated ion channels are responsible for the fast synaptic transmission. It's responsible for various biological functionalities. Loss of function of these channels lead to several neurological disorders. These ion channels interchange among various functional states with major states called resting state, open state and desensitized state or inactivated state. Despite a substantial understanding of the physiological and pathophysiological role of multiple states, there is very little structural information available on these states. Beside that these channels functions are are heavily modulated by membrane lipids and the mechanism of modulation is still illusive. The goal of our lab is to understand the phenomenon at the atomic level. We will focus on the prokaryotic ligand gated ion channels GLIC and ELIC. We will employ multidisciplinary biochemical and biophysical techniques such as Cryo-EM, EPR spectroscopy, and Two Electrode Voltage Clamping (TEVC) to elucidate the mechanism of channel functions at the atomic level.


Understanding the molecular mechanism of Insect olfactory receptors

Insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, and flies harbour infectious agents and spread deadly diseases like malaria, dengue, yellow fever etc. Dengue is a mosquito borne viral infection and transmitted mainly by Aedes aegypti mosquito. Severe dengue leads to serious illness and cause death. Dengue prevails mostly in tropical and sub-tropical countries like Latin America and southeast Asia including Singapore. Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for dengue. Therefore, it’s mandatory to develop innovative approach to control this disease. Instead of developing drug target to the virus, the current study focused mainly on targeting the host mosquitoes. Insects use olfactory receptors (ORs) to sense the smell which is critical for their survival. Therefore, the olfactory receptor could be targeted to develop newer and most effective repellents or insecticides. Insect olfactory receptors are non-specific hetero-tetrameric ligand-gated ion channels. Therefore, our goal is to elucidate a clear understanding of the molecular mechanism of insect olfaction which would help to develop new insecticides or repellents to target mosquitos like Aedes aegypti.

  • Understanding the molecular mechanism of olfactory receptors in insects
  • Basak, S., Kumar, A., Ramsey, S., Gibbs, E., Kapoor, A., Filizola, M. and Chakrapani, S. (2020) High-resolution Structures of multiple 5-HT3AR-setron complexes reveal a novel mechanism of competitive inhibition. eLife. 9, e57870.

  • Basak, S., Gicheru, Y., Kapoor, Abhijeet., Mayer, M. L., Filizola, M. and Chakrapani, S. (2019) Molecular mechanism of setron-mediated inhibition of full-length 5-HT3A receptor. Nature commun. 10 (1), 3225.

  • Basak, S., Gicheru, Y., Rao, S., Sansom, M. and Chakrapnai, S. (2018) Cryo-EM reveals two distinct states along serotonin-mediated activation pathway of the full-length 5-HT3A receptor. Nature. 563, 270.

  • Basak, S., Gicheru, Y., Samanta, A., Molugu, S., Huang, W., Fuente, M. D. L., Hughes, T., Taylor, D., Nieman, M., Moiseenkova-Bell, V.Y. and Chakrapani, S. (2018) Cryo-EM structure of 5-HT3A receptor in its resting conformation. Nature commun. 9, 514.

  • Basak, S., Schmandt, N., Gicheru, Y. and Chakrapani, S. (2017) Crystal structure and dynamics of a lipid-induced potential desensitized-state of a pentameric ligand-gated channel. eLife. 6:e23886.