Das Lab

Jayajit Das, PhD

Principal Investigator

Dr. Das is a PhD and principal investigator for the center. Jayajit’s lab uses theoretical and computational approaches based on statistical physics to uncover basic mechanistic principles underlying our innate and adaptive immune response. Obtaining such mechanistic principles from experimental observations alone is often difficult because the pertinent processes include co-operative dynamic events with many participating components. A further complication that confounds intuition is stochastic fluctuations in these systems with small numbers of molecules. However, by synergistically integrating observations from experiments with transgenic animals, single molecule techniques and imaging studies probing molecular events in live animals with these theoretical and computational approaches we can provide system-level understanding into such complex systems. The mechanistic insight gained from such studies not only will help develop future experiments to unravel basic principles of our immune system, but may also help envision therapeutic strategies for infectious disease and autoimmune disorders.

Vinal Lakhani, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Vinal Lakhani is a postdoctoral fellow who earned his PhD in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology from the University of North Carolina in 2015. He is currently using tools from computational topology to study the structure of bacterial biofilms. These complex structures are present in sites of infection such as otitis media in children. In a related project, Vinal is using high performance computing techniques (e.g. programming GPGPUs) to investigate the interactions in human microbiota. Many datasets have been published, which report the relative abundances of bacterial species in the human gut, skin, mouth and elsewhere. However, little is known about how these species interact with each other. It is important to understand what interactions are present in healthy, desirable microbiota and what interactions are missing or added in pathogenic microbiota.

Vinal’s many hobbies include Ultimate (Frisbee), board gaming, biking, snowboarding and backpacking. He is excited to explore Columbus.

Darren Wethington, BS

Research Aide 

Darren is a research aide for the Das Lab in the Battelle Center for Mathematical Medicine. He graduated from The Ohio State University in 2016 with a BS in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

He assists Dr. Das in creating and running computer programs to analyze mass cytometry data on the activation of NK cells using Monte Carlo methods and simulated annealing. He creates and tests an effective in silico model, and hopes to better understand the mechanism by which NK cells are activated.

Darren likes playing drums, guitar and bass in his free time. Bowling and watching football are also some of his hobbies.