Gopinath Venugopal, Ph.D.

Gopinath VenugopalPost Doctoral Fellow

Ph.D.:  Free University Berlin, Germany
Mentor: Tiffany Weinkopff
Lab: Biomed1 Room 535
Phone:  (501) 686-5518


I received my PhD in Biomedical Sciences from Free University Berlin, Germany in Aug, 2019. During my PhD research, I studied Brugia malayi cystatin induced immunomodulation on human monocytes and macrophages and also identified some of the candidate gene polymorphisms which are associated with chronic lymphatic filariasis. Then, I joined Dr. Tiffany Weinkopff’s lab as a postdoctoral fellow in Dec, 2019 to investigate the molecular mechanism involved during inflammation in a murine model of cutaneous leishmaniasis. Leishmania species are the causative agents of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL), a vector-borne parasitic disease and it is estimated about 1 million new cases each year. CL is the most common form of leishmaniasis and causes skin lesions, mainly ulcers, leaving a life-long scars. Leishmania species possess a variety of virulence mechanism, which helps to survive and replicate inside the parasitophorous vacuoles of infected macrophages, and elimination of these parasites by macrophages is critical for host resistance. During infection both the parasites and the inflammatory infiltrate contribute to disease. The primary focus of Dr. Weinkopff’s lab is to determine the factors that control both lesion development and resolution during leishmaniasis. We are interested to elucidate the mechanisms by which blood endothelial cell (BECs) mediates immune cell migration into the inflamed tissue during Leishmania major infections. Specifically, I am trying to understand the role and contribution of mTOR signalling in BEC activation that could possibly mediate the immune cell migration into the dermal lesions. For that, I am using a combination of bioinformatics and molecular biological approaches to decipher the significance of immunological pathways which are involved during leishmaniaisis.


Venugopal G, O’Regan NL, Babu S, Schumann RR, Srikantam A, Merle R, Hartmann S, Steinfelder S. Association of a PD-L2 Gene Polymorphism with Chronic Lymphatic Filariasis in a South Indian Cohort. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2019 Feb;100(2):344-350. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.18-0731.

Venugopal G, Mueller M, Hartmann S, Steinfelder S. Differential immunomodulation in human monocytes versus macrophages by filarial cystatin. PLoS One. 2017 Nov 15;12(11):e0188138. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0188138.

O’Regan NL, Steinfelder S, Venugopal G, Rao GB, Lucius R, Srikantam A, Hartmann S. Brugia malayi microfilariae induce a regulatory monocyte/macrophage phenotype that suppresses innate and adaptive immune responses. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2014 Oct 2;8(10):e3206. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0003206.

Kumar NP, Venugopal G, Sridhar R, Hanna LE, Banurekha VV, Jawahar MS, Nutman TB, Babu S. IL-10 dependent suppression Type 1, Type 2 and Type 17 cytokines in active pulmonary tuberculosis. PLoS One. 2013 Feb 8(3): e59572. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059572.