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ICMR - National AIDS Research Institute
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Designation : Scientist E
Division : Serology & Immunology
Email ID : [email protected]; [email protected]
Area Of Interest : Viral Immunology, Immunopathogenesis of viral infection, Innate immune responses, Mucosal immunology, microRNA mediated regulation of immune responses
Completed and Ongoing Projects
Awards and Honours

Awards & Honours

1.       Senior research fellowship; Council of Scientific and lndustrial Research (CSIR),

India 2005

2.       Junior research fellowship; Council of Scientific and lndustrial Research (CSIR),

India  2003

3.       CSIR-National eligibility test (NET/JRF) Examination, India 2002

4.       Birbal Sahni Memorial Gold Medal award for securing highest percentage of

marks in M.Sc., India 2002

5.       Pratibha Samman 2002, Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, UP, India 2002

6.       Received DBT-Travel award for attending and presenting poster at International AIDS Society Conference (IAS) 2017 at Paris (France) between 23rd July to 26th July 2017


Work Experience

Work Experience

Post Held




ICMR-National AIDS Research Institute, Pune, India

Sep 2017- till date


ICMR-National AIDS Research Institute, Pune, India

26.08.2016- 31. 08.2017


Post-Doctoral Fellow-II

University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, USA

01.02.2010- 31.01.2013


Post-Doctoral Fellow

Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, USA

16.07.2008- 31.01.2010


Senior Research Fellow

Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS), Lucknow, India

February 2005- January 2008


Junior Research Fellow

Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS), Lucknow, India

January 2003- January 2005

List of Grant Recieved

List of grants/ projects received


Title of Project


Funding Agency




Validation of a dry swab RNA- extraction-free method based diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2 compared with the standard VTM based swab collection method: Phase II (modified technique).






Phenotypic and functional characterization of CD4+Th17 cells during long-term non-progression of HIV


ICMR (Extramural)

Principal Investigator



MicroRNA profiling and deciphering their role in HIV-driven inflammatory responses at the female genital mucosa



(Biocare Scheme)

Principal Investigator



Role of Toll-like Receptors (TLRs) on HIV Latency: An approach to ‘Reactivate and Kill’ the latently infected cells



Principal Investigator



Role of transforming growth factor- β (TGF-β) on HIV shedding at the cervico-vaginal mucosa during HIV infection

2019- 2020

ICMR (Intramural)





Development of cohorts of HIV-1 infected Long Term Non Progressors (LTNPs) and Elite Controllers (ECs) to study the role of immune mediated HIV control






Characterization of Th17 cells during long term non-progression of HIV



ICMR (Intramural)

Principal Investigator



To study the immune characteristics including immune activation status and T cell phenotyping among the Indian LTNP cohort available at NARI


ICMR (Intramural)



Conference/Training/Workshop Attended


Conferences/Trainings/Workshops Attended


i.      Jyotsna Gokavi, Shubhangi Bichare, Madhuri Thakar, Vandana Saxena. In vitro neutralization of TGF-β in the cervical epithelial cells enhances HIV-1 release (Poster presented at International Science Symposium on HIV & Infectious Diseases between 12-14 October 2019 at Chennai, India)

ii.      Vandana Saxena, Shubhangi Bichare, Ishrat Khan, Raj Majumdar, Manisha Ghate, Madhuri Thakar. Degranulating immune cells are associated with higher viral load at cervico-vaginal surface of HIV infected women in India. (Abstract accepted for poster presentation at International AIDS Society Conference (IAS) 2017 at Paris (France) between 23rd July to 26th July 2017.

iii.      Nawaj Shaikh, Ajit Patil, Sudhanshu Pandey, Vandana Saxena, Madhuri Thakar. HERC5 gene polymorphisms in HIV-1-infected individuals: A study from India at 5th Molecular Virology Meeting (February 11th - 12th, 2017) at Translational Health Science and Technology Institute

iv.      Sneha Talathi, Nawaj Shaikh, Sudhanshu Pandey, Vandana Saxena, Madhuri Thakar. F176V Polymorphism in FCγRIIIa receptor and Antibody-dependent-cellular-cytotoxicity (ADCC) of NK cells in HIV-1 infection at 5th Molecular Virology Meeting (February 11th - 12th, 2017) at Translational Health Science and Technology Institute

v.      Saxena V, Tayde R, Golbole S, Thakar M. miRNA-155 mediated modulation of innate & adaptive immune responses during HIV infection. Poster presented in Young Investigators meeting 2015 in   Srinagar between 27 March 2015 – 1 April 2015

Number of Publications : 22
List of Publications


List of Publications




1.      Thakar M, Saxena V, Janakiram N, Ravi V, Desai A, Singh S, Shivanna N, Minz RY, Singh A, Chatterjee M, Madkaikar M, Bembalkar S, Mukherjee A, Mahesh V. Reference ranges of different lymphocyte subsets in Indian Children: A multi-centric study. Indian Pediatric 2021 May 15: 58(5): 424-429.


2.      Talathi SP, Shaikh NN, Pandey SS, Saxena V, Mamulwar MS, Thakar MR. FcγRIIIa receptor polymorphism influences NK cell mediated ADCC activity against HIV. BMC Infect Dis. 2019 Dec 16;19 (1):1053.

3.      Saxena V, Patil A, Tayde R, Bichare S, Chinchkar V, Bagul R, Godbole S, Thakar M. HIV-specific CD4+Th17 cells from HIV infected Long-Term Non-Progressors exhibit lower CTLA-4 expression and reduced apoptosis. Immunobiology 2018.

4.      Saxena V, Ghate M, Bichare S, Khan I, Majumdar R, Angadi M, Kulkarni S, Paranjape R, Thakar MR. Increased degranulation of immune cells is associated with higher cervical viral load in HIV infected women. AIDS. 2018 Jun 14.

5.      Saxena V, Bichare S, Singh D, Ghate M, Godbole S, Kulkarni SS, Gangakhedkar RR, Paranjape RS, Thakar M. Low immune activation is associated with higher frequencies of central memory T cell subset in a cohort of Indian long term non-progressors. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2017 Feb; 33(2):121-125.

6.      Shaikh N, Saxena V, Pandey S, Patil A, Thakar M. HECT Domain and RCC1-Like Domain-Containing Protein 5 (HERC-5) Gene Polymorphisms in HIV-1-Infected Individuals: A Study from India. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2017 Nov;33(11):1171-1174.

7.      Blitvich BJ, Wang T, Saxena V, Zeng S, Harmon KM, Raymond MD, Goins KM, Reed CR, Mullins RF, Greiner MA. West Nile Virus Infection in Human and Mouse Cornea Tissue. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2016 Nov 2;95(5):1185-1191

8.      Mane A, Vidhate P, Kusro C, Waman V, Saxena V, Kulkarni-Kale U, Risbud A. Molecular mechanisms associated with Fluconazole resistance in clinical Candida albicans isolates from India. Mycoses. 2016 Feb;59(2):93-100.

9.      Zhang J, Wang J, Pang L, Xie G, Welte T, Saxena V, Wicker J, Mann B, Soong L, Barrett A, Born W, O'Brien R, Wang T. The co-stimulatory effects of MyD88-dependent Toll-like receptor signaling on activation of murine γδ T cells. PLoS One. 2014; 9 (9): e108156.

10.  Lynes J, Wibowo M, Koschmann C, Baker GJ, Saxena V, Muhammad AK, Bondale N, Klein J, Assi H, Lieberman AP, Castro MG, Lowenstein PR. Lentiviral-Induced High-Grade Gliomas in Rats: The Effects of PDGFB, HRAS-G12V, AKT, and IDH1-R132H. Neurotherapeutics. 2014 Apr 22.

11.  Xie G, Welte T, Wang J, Whiteman MC, Wicker JA, Saxena V, Cong Y, Barrett AD, Wang T. A West Nile virus NS4B-P38G mutant strain induces adaptive immunity via TLR7-MyD88-dependent and independent signaling pathways. Vaccine. 2013 Aug 28; 31(38):4143-51.

12.  Saxena V, Xie G, Li B, Farris T, Welte T, Gong B, Boor P, Wu P, Tang SJ, Tesh R, Wang T. A hamster-derived West Nile virus isolate induces persistent renal infection in mice. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2013 Jun 13; 7(6): e2275.

13.  Saxena V, Welte T, Bao X, Xie G, Wang J, Higgs S, Tesh RB, Wang T. A hamster-derived West Nile virus strain is highly attenuated and induces a differential proinflammatory cytokine response in two murine cell lines. Virus Res. 2012 Aug;167(2):179-87.

14.  Puntel M, Barrett RJ, Mondkar S, Saxena V, Kroeger KM, Muhammad AK, Liu C, Bondale N, Sciascia S, Xiong W, Shi Y, Salem A, Zadmehr A, Huynh P, Palmer D, Ng P, Castro MG, Lowenstein PR. Herpes simplex virus type 1 thymidine kinase sequence fused to the lacz gene increases levels of {beta}-galactosidase activity per genome of high-capacity but not first-generation adenoviral vectors in vitro and in vivo. J Virol. 2009 Feb;83(4):2004-10

15.  Saxena V, Mishra VK, Dhole TN. Evaluation of reverse-transcriptase PCR as a diagnostic tool to confirm Japanese encephalitis virus infection. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2009 Apr; 103(4):403-6.

16.  Kumar S, Kalita J, Saxena V, Khan MY, Khanna VK, Sharma S, Dhole TN, Misra UK. Some observations on the tropism of Japanese encephalitis virus in rat brain. Brain Res. 2009 May 1; 1268:135-41.

17.  Saxena V, Mathur A, Krishnani N, Dhole TN. Kinetics of cytokine profile during intraperitoneal inoculation of Japanese encephalitis virus in BALB/c mice model. Microbes Infect. 2008 Aug-Sep; 10(10-11):1210-7.

18.  Saxena V, Mathur A, Krishnani N, Dhole TN. An insufficient anti- inflammatory cytokine response in mice brain is associated with increased tissue pathology and viral load during Japanese encephalitis virus infection. Arch Virol. 2008; 153(2):283-92.




1.         Saxena V, Dhole TN. Preventive strategies for frequent outbreaks of Japanese encephalitis in Northern India. J Biosci. 2008 Nov; 33(4):505-14.

2.         McGruder B, Saxena V, Wang T. Lessons from the Murine Models of West Nile Virus Infection. Methods Mol Biol. 2016; 1435:61-9.




1.      Lynes J, Koschmann C, Wibowo M, Saxena V, Candolfi M, Ayala M, Castro M, Lowenstein P. Gene Therapy Approaches Using Reproducible and Fully Penetrant Lentivirus-Mediated Endogenous Glioma Models. In: Bo X., Verhaagen J. (eds) Gene Delivery and Therapy for Neurological Disorders. Neuromethods, vol 98. Humana Press, New York, NY (Book Chapter), 2015.

2.      Tian Wang, Thomas Welte, Vandana Saxena and Guorui Xie. “Immunity versus Immunopathology in West Nile Virus Induced Encephalitis” in the book “Flavivirus Encephalitis”. Flavivirus Encephalitis, Dr. Daniel Ruzek (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-307-669-0, InTech, DOI: 10.5772/20355. (Book Chapter).

3.      Saxena V, Bolling B, Wang T. West Nile Virus. In the book ‘Emerging Pathogens’. Clin Lab Med. 2017 Jun; 37(2):243-252.