First Name
Last Name
Medical University of South Carolina
Email ID
United States
South carolina
Zip code
Area of Research
Area of Expertise
Brief Description of Research Interest:

I started my career in the field of structural biology and biochemistry where I completed my doctoral degree from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. My Ph.D. work involved studying the pathogenesis of the HIV-1 virus and finding ways to combat its infection. It included structural analysis of the interaction of HIV-1 gp120 with neutralizing and non-neutralizing mAbs, chimeric antibody-CD4 IgG2, and with the host cell surface glycoprotein CD4. I have worked on designing and synthesizing peptide and aptamer inhibitors blocking human CD4 Z to U fold over after binding to gp120 thereby prevent its interaction with the co-receptor. Before joining the Nephrology Department at MUSC, I was working on Bill Melinda Gates Foundation-funded project under Dr. Ashish entitled “Diagnostic platform for detection of pGSN levels in the plasma of preterm birth women” and helped in developing an assay kit. We developed a diagnostic platform for estimation of the plasma protein levels in human blood using different affinity coating protocols including antibodies based, DNA aptamerbased (screening and validation), and small moleculesPost Ph.D., I wanted to expand my scientific experience in a field where I could use the findings from basic science to enhance human health and well-being. Because renal diseases are very common in the world, and the kidney is an outstanding model, I applied for a postdoctoral fellowship in the Laboratory of Dr. Deepak, Department of Nephrology, at MUSC, South Carolina. Although in the past I have been working on structural, biophysical, and biochemical methods to answer some of the critical questions in biology, the interest in cell signaling and protein trafficking enabled me to join at MUSC. The lab has outstanding facilities and an interdisciplinary approach to answer the most challenging question of podocyte biology. I have gained a large amount of experience in the field of protein biochemistry and have gained substantial knowledge of podocyte biology during months spent as a postdoc in Dr. Deepak’s lab working on podocyte biology. The understanding and development of animal model systems in the lab further helped me to strengthen my podocyte experience. In the project where I am working currently, we have identified a novel mutation in the gene CLCN5 which codes for an endosomal chloride/hydrogen exchanger in a family with an X-linked form of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. The goal of this project is to understand the mechanism(s) by which this mutation is pathogenic at the cellular level. This interesting finding of a mutation in a renal tubular protein as the cause of the glomerular disease raises the possibility that understanding how this gene variant causes glomerular injury may help understand a much wider spectrum of chronic kidney disease. This project helped me to get a two-year postdoctoral funding and helped me to move into translational biology where I can correlate the clinical data with basic sciences to enhance human health and well-being. The results of this project have been compiled and published. Besides this, I also worked on developing a novel cell-based assay to diagnose recurrent Focal and Segmental Glomerulosclerosis. Further, working in podocyte biology, I studied the role of exocyst complex in podocyte development and functions, critical aspects of cell signaling, studying pathophysiology and diseases progression caused by mutations in slit diaphragm proteins, which not only helped to get publications but increased my understanding in the field of podocyte biology. 

Representative Publications:

1.Global structure of HIV-1 neutralizing antibody IgG1 b12 isasymmetric. Ashish, Solanki AK, Boone CD, Krueger JK (BBRC, 2010)

2. SAXS data analysis and modeling of tetravalent neutralizing antibodyCD4-IgG2 -/+ HIV-1 gp120 revealed that first two gp120 bind to the same Fabarm. Rathore YS, Solanki AK, Dhoke RR, Ashish (BBRC, 2011)

3.   Evidence on how a conserved glycine in the hinge region of Hapr regulatesits DNA binding ability: lessons from a natural variant. Dongre M, Singh NS, Dureja C, Peddada N, Solanki AK, Ashish,Raychaudhuri S ( JBC, 2011)

4.   Visualizing the elusive open shape of G-actin in solution by SAXS data analysis. Sagar A, Peddada N, Solanki AK, Choudhary V, Garg R.,  Ashish (BBRC, 2013)

5.   Carrier protein influences immunodominance hierarchy: implication invaccine design. Ghosh M, Solanki AK, Roy K, Dhoke RR, Ashish and Syamal Roy (Vaccine,2013)

6.   Global shape and ligand binding efficiency of the HIV-1 neutralizingantibodies differs from the ones which cannot neutralize. Solanki AK, Rathore YS, Badmalia MB, Dhoke RR, Nath SK, Nihalani D and Ashish (JBC,2014)

7. Adriamycin susceptibility among C57BL/6 substrains. Arif E, Solanki AK and Nihalani D (Kid. International, 2016)

8.   Structural analysis of the Myo1c and Neph1 complex provides insight intothe intracellular movement of Neph1.  Arif E, Sharma P, Solanki AK, Mallik L, Rathore YS, Twal WO, NathSK, Gandhi D, Holzman LB, Ostap M, Ashish, Nihalani D (Mol. Cell Biol., 2016)                                                                                                                                

9. Targeting Neph1 and ZO-1 protein-protein interaction in podocytesprevents podocyte injury and preserves glomerular filtration function. ArifE, Sagar A, Solanki AK, Srivastava P, Nihalani D and Ashish (ScientificReports, 2017)

10. A novel mutation in CLCN5 linked with Dent’s disease is associated withFSGS and podocyte injury. Solanki AK, Arif E, Srivastava P, Dang P, Milos B, Janech M. G., Nihalani D (Kid.International Rep., 2018)

11. Development of a novel cell-based assay to diagnose recurrent Focal andSegmental Glomerulosclerosis  Srivastava P*, Solanki AK*, Arif E, Dang P, Milos B, JanechM. G., Nihalani D (Kid. International, 2018, *Equal author)

12.Mitochondrial biogenesis induced by the β2-adrenergic receptor agonistformoterol accelerates podocyte recovery from acute injury Arif E, Solanki AK, Srivastava P, Rahman B, Fitzgibbon WR, Deng P, Budisavljevic Milos N, Catalin F Baicu,Michael R Zile, Megyesi J, Janech MG, Kwon SH, Justin Collier, Rick GSchnellmann, Deepak Nihalani (Kid. International, 2019)

13. The motor protein Myo1c regulates transforming growth factor-β-signalingand fibrosis in podocytes ArifE, Solanki AK, Srivastava P, Rahman B, Tash BR, Holzman LB, Janech MG,Martin R, Knölker H, Fitzgibbon WR, Deng P, Budisavljevic MN, Syn WK, Wang C,Lipschutz JH, Kwon SH, Nihalani D (Kid. International, 2019)

14. Disruptionof the exocyst induces podocyte loss and dysfunction. Nihalani D*, SolankiAK*, Arif E, Srivastava P, Rahman B, Zuo X, Dang Y, Fogelgren B, D Fermin D, Gillies CE, Sampson M, Lipschutz JH (JBC, 2019, *Equal Author)

15. Mutations in KIRREL1 a slit diaphragm component cause steroid-resistantnephrotic syndrome  Solanki AK, Widmeier E , Arif E, Sharma S, Daga A, Srivastava P, Kwon SH, Hugo H,Nakayama M, Nina M, Mujumdar A, Wei Tan2, Heon Yung Gee2,4, Sadowski C, RinatC, Cohen RB, Bergmann C, Rosen S, Somers M, Shril S, Huber TB, Mane S,Hildebrandt FH, Nihalani D (Kid. International, 2019)

16.The use of high-throughputtranscriptomics to identify pathways with therapeutical significance  in podocytesSolanki AK, Srivastava P, Rahman B, Lipschutz JH, Nihalani D, ArifEhtesham (International Journal of MolecularSciences, 2019)

17. Importance of an essentialligand-binding domain in the vitamin A transporter Rbpr2 for proper eyedevelopment and photoreceptor cell survival Solanki AK, Kondkar AA, Su Y, Rohrer B, Lipschutz JH, Nihalani D, and Lobo GP (Cells2020)