Rajkumar Arumugam

Rajkumar Arumugam

Rajkumar Arumugam, Graduate Research Assistant

Research specialization/interest: Our focus is to determine the role of antigen-specific T cells in the development of dilated cardiomyopathy. Infections caused by group B Coxsackieviruses are commonly suspected in patients with myocarditis/dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Although autoimmunity is suspected in affected individuals, the underlying mechanisms, particularly of the role of autoreactive T cells, are poorly understood. By using adjuvant and viral myocarditis models, we recently identified sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum ATPase (SERCA2a) as a novel cardiac antigen that can be targeted by autoreactive T cells, raising a question as to their generation in myocarditic mice. To address this question, by using major histocompatibility complex class II dextramers, we have successfully generated a panel of T cell hybridomas specific to SERCA2a 971-990 that induces mainly atrial myocarditis. We propose to use these tools to investigate the appearance, disappearance and/or persistence of SERCA2a-expressing antigen-presenting cells in A/J mice infected with Coxsackie virus B3. In addition, we are also focusing on the role of cardiotropic T cells and their potential function in the induction of post-infectious myocarditis/DCM.

Advisor: Dr. Jay Reddy

Degree objective: Ph.D.

Office: VBS 205
Email: rajkumar.ar@unl.edu

M.Sc., M.Phil (Biotechnology)

Experimental autoimmune myocarditis

Coxsackievirus B3-induced myocarditis

Drug discovery

Shasun Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Puducherry, India

SVMBS, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Biocon Bristol-Myers Squibb R&D Center, Bangalore, India