Dr. Agrawal's research focuses on protozoan pathogens that cause serious diseases like African sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, Leishmaniasis and Toxoplasmosis. Her work in molecular pathogenesis uses molecular techniques like CRISPR-cas9 to identify and characterize new determinants of pathogenicity in these parasites.
She is also interested in studying bacteriophages as possible cure for the rising antibiotic resistance problems in food borne pathogen Bacillus cereus and Bacillus anthracis. This work is an expansion of original research work that freshman Biology student participate in her Phage Hunters course as part of Howard Hughes medical institute initiative to provide new and engaging research experiences to undergraduate classrooms. Freshman biology student engage in two semesters of authentic research isolating and characterizing novel bacteriophages that can be used in phage therapy.
She has developed classroom interventions aimed at improving biomolecular visual literacy in students. These active learning tools use Augmented reality to illustrate three dimensional structures of proteins and nucleic acids helping students better understand and retain structure and function concepts in Cell biology, biochemistry and molecular biology. Her ongoing research focuses on creating accurate and compelling molecular and cellular visualizations that will support research, learning and scientific communication.
Areas of Expertise (5)
Molecular Biology (CRISPR-cas9 gene editing)
Microscopy (Fluorescence, Scanning and Transmission Electron Microscopy)
Biomolecular Visualization (PyMOL, MolStar, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality)
2022-2023 Jepson Fellowship
for research on Characterization of cell death pathways in Kineoplastid parasites to create a new tool kit for understanding apoptosis pathway in C. fasticulata parasites
Supplemental Faculty Development Award (professional)
UMW CAS, for attending the annual conference for ASBMB and NCUR
External Grant Application Award (professional)
for writing the ABLE grant
Association for Biology Lab Educators Roberta William Teaching Grant
for developing a research-intensive course in Molecular Parasitology
American Society for Cell Biology PALM Fellowship
for developing novel classroom tools improving biomolecular visualization
Brazilian Federal Foundation Travel and Research Grant
for support and Evaluation of Graduate education to visit Universidade Federal de Uberlandia, Uberlandia, Brazil
Washington College, Chestertown, MD: Visiting Assistant Professor
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor: Postdoctoral Fellowship
University of Georgia, Athens: Ph.D., Cell Biology
Advisor Dr. Boris Striepen
North Maharashtra University: M.S., Microbiology
Babasaheb Ambedkar University: B.S., Microbiology
Media Appearances (3)
Agrawal Pens Article on Women, Early-Career Scientist Impacted by Pandemic
Eagle Eye online
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Swati Agrawal penned an article for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology entitled “Lonely Science: Women and early-career scientists in academia were among those hardest hit by COVID-19 disruptions.”
Life After COVID Lecture
This lecture focuses on how current pandemic-related research could guide our response to future crises, offering strategies to balance multiple novel approaches and provide high-quality, time-efficient, cost-effective research and treatment.
Improving Visual Literacy Using AR and LEGO® Bricks in Biology Classrooms
Event Appearances (3)
Lecture: Phage Therapy
Undergraduate STEM Research Society Georgia State University
Lecture: CRISPR-cas9 Gene-editing Technology
Life after Covid UMW Elder Studies Group
Lecture: Improving Visual Literacy Using PyMOL, Augmented Reality
6th Catalyst Conversation ASBMB Student Chapters
Toxoplasma gondii Toxolysin 4 Contributes to Efficient Parasite Egress from Host CellsMsphere
2021 Egress from host cells is an essential step in the lytic cycle of T. gondii and other apicomplexan parasites; however, only a few parasite secretory proteins are known to affect this process. The putative metalloproteinase toxolysin 4 (TLN4) was previously shown to be an extensively processed microneme protein, but further characterization was impeded by the inability to genetically ablate TLN4.
Whole body glucoregulation and tissue-specific glucose uptake in a novel Akt substrate of 160 kDa knockout rat modelPLoS One
2019 Akt substrate of 160 kDa (also called AS160 or TBC1D4) is a Rab GTPase activating protein and key regulator of insulin-stimulated glucose uptake which is expressed by multiple tissues, including skeletal muscle, white adipose tissue (WAT) and the heart.
Toxoplasma gondii Toc75 Functions in Import of Stromal but not Peripheral Apicoplast ProteinsTraffic
2015 Apicomplexa are unicellular parasites causing important human and animal diseases, including malaria and toxoplasmosis. Most of these pathogens possess a relict but essential plastid, the apicoplast. The apicoplast was acquired by secondary endosymbiosis between a red alga and a flagellated eukaryotic protist.
An Apicoplast Localized Ubiquitylation System Is Required for the Import of Nuclear-encoded Plastid ProteinsPLoS Pathogens
2013 Apicomplexan parasites are responsible for numerous important human diseases including toxoplasmosis, cryptosporidiosis, and most importantly malaria. There is a constant need for new antimalarials, and one of most keenly pursued drug targets is an ancient algal endosymbiont, the apicoplast.
Tic22 Is an Essential Chaperone Required for Protein Import into the ApicoplastJournal of Biological Chemistry
2012 Most plastids proteins are post-translationally imported into organelles through multisubunit translocons. The TIC and TOC complexes perform this role in the two membranes of the plant chloroplast and in the inner two membranes of the apicoplasts of the apicomplexan parasites, Toxoplasma gondii and Plasmodium falciparum.
To view a complete list of publications by UMW Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Swati Agrawal, please click on the link below.