Sunil K. Lal

Professor of Microbiology
School of Science

Secondary: +603 5515 9606
Room 4-8-16

Professor Suni Kumar Lal joined the School of Science in 2014. By training, he has a PhD in Microbial Genetics from Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta (USA) in 1989, following which he took up a Faculty appointment at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena (USA). In 1994 he joined the International Centre for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology (ICGEB), New Delhi as a Senior Research Scientist where he worked for 22 years. Professor Sunil is well known internationally for his research contributions in Tropical and Infectious Viral Diseases and have been a visiting scientist to Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, National University of Singapore, Karolinska Institute, Sweden and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Atlanta. His main research focus has been on host-virus interactions in Hepatitis E virus, SARS-Coronavirus and Influenza virus.

Professor Sunil has been lucky enough to win many prestigious international awards and has been the ambassador to the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) for 9 years. He has also served as a Board Member of the International Outreach Program of the ASM at Washington DC. He is an Elected Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (India) and an elected member of the Central Council of the Indian Microbiologists Association. He has sat on the panel of many international science/university advisory committees and review panels for international scientific funding agencies. His research has produced over 100 publications in international scientific journals and he has published three international books on emerging viral diseases. He currently lead an active research group on Molecular Virology at Monash University, Malaysia.


  • Doctor of Philosophy in Molecular Genetics, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA, 1990
  • Master of Science (Honours) in Biophysics, Punjab University, India, 1984
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Biophysics, Punjab University, India, 1982


  • Molecular Virology and Emerging Infectious Diseases
  • Molecular Biology of Host-Virus interactions
  • Genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic approaches to understanding host-virus relationships
  • Cell Death and Survival pathways
  • Cell signaling and cell cycle progression
  • Cellular pathways and their modulation by pathogens
  • Viral strategies to overcome host innate immune responses

Research Interests

  • Systems biology based transcriptome/interactome models identifying new anti-viral targets, drug repositioning and disease biomarker discovery for viral diseases.
  • Molecular approaches to modulating innate immune response to reduce viral disease severity and pathogenesis.
  • High throughput screening using newly developed CRISPR-Cas and viral minigenome simulation screens.


  • BTH2830 (Fundamentals of Microbiology)
  • BTH3722 (Medical Microbiology)
  • BTH3711 (Food and Industrial Microbiology)

Scholarly Journals

Anshika Sharma, Sunil K Lal. 2019. Is tetherin a true antiviral: The influenza a virus controversy. Reviews in medical virology, 29(3), e2036.

Purnima Kumar, Pratibha Gaur, Rashmi Kumari, Sunil K Lal. 2019. Influenza A virus neuraminidase protein interacts with Hsp90, to stabilize itself and enhance cell survival. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, 120(4), 6449-6458.

Vandana Thukral, Bhavna Varshney, Rimatulhana B Ramly, Sanket S Ponia, Sumona Karjee Mishra, Christel M Olsen, Akhil C Banerjea, Sunil K Mukherjee, Rana Zaidi, Espen Rimstad, Sunil K Lal. 2018. s8ORF2 protein of infectious salmon anaemia virus is a RNA-silencing suppressor and interacts with Salmon salar Mov10 (SsMov10) of the host RNAi machinery. Virus Genes, 54(2), 199-214.

Dileep Verma, Dinesh Gupta, Sunil Lal. 2018. Host lipid rafts play a major role in binding and endocytosis of influenza A virus. Viruses, 10(11), 650.

S Nagamani, A Tripathi, SK Lal, A Kumar, B Mandal, RK Jain. 2018. First Report of Soybean yellow mottle mosaic virus on Soybean (Glycine max) in India. Plant Disease, 102(8), 1673-1673.

Zhi Y Kho, Sunil K Lal. 2018. The human gut microbiome–a potential controller of wellness and disease. Frontiers in Microbiology, 9, 1835.

Sanchari Bhowmick, Chandrani Chakravarty, Shanmugaapriya Sellathamby, Sunil K Lal. 2017. The influenza A virus matrix protein 2 undergoes retrograde transport from the endoplasmic reticulum into the cytoplasm and bypasses cytoplasmic proteasomal degradation. Archives of Virology, 162(4), 919–929.

Anshika Sharma, Sunil K Lal. 2017. Zika virus: transmission, detection, control, and prevention. Frontiers in Microbiology, 8(110).

Shah Kamranur Rahman, Mairaj Ahmed Ansari, Pratibha Gaur, Imtiyaz Ahmad, Chandrani Chakravarty, Dileep Kumar Verma, Sanjay Chhibber, Naila Nehal, Shanmugaapriya Sellathanby, Dagmar Wirth, Gulam Waris, Sunil K Lal. 2017. The immunomodulatory CEA cell adhesion molecule 6 (CEACAM6/CD66c) is a candidate receptor for the influenza A virus. bioRxiv, -, 104026.

A. Sharma, S. K. Lal. 2016. Zika Virus: Transmission dynamics and modes of detection. Frontiers in Microbiology doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.00110

J. Batra, S. Tripathi. ... S. Sambhara, S. K. Lal. 2016. Human heat shock protein 40 (Hsp40/DnaJB1) promotes influenza A virus replication by assisting nuclear import of viral ribonucleoproteins. Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group) 6:19063. doi: 10.1038/srep19063

A. K. Mayank, S. Sharma, H. Nailwal, S. K. Lal. 2015. Nucleoprotein of Influenza A virus negatively regulates anti-apoptotic protein API5 to enhance E2F1-dependent apoptosis and virus replication. Cell Death & Disease (Nature Publishing Group) 6:e2018. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2015.360.

H. Nailwal, S. Sharma, A. K. Mayank, S. K. Lal. 2015. The Nucleoprotein of Influenza A virus induces p53 signaling and apoptosis via attenuation of host Ubiquitin ligase RNF43. Cell Death & Disease (Nature Publishing Group) 6:e1768. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2015.131.

S. Tripathi, W. Cao, K. Sharma, J.R. Patel, P. Ranjan, .... S. Sambhara, S. K. Lal. 2013. Influenza A virus Nucleoprotein induces cell death in human lung epithelial cells by targeting Clusterin. Cell Death & Disease (Nature Publishing Group) 4: e562; doi:10.1038 / cddis.2013.89

P. Gaur, P. Ranjan, S. Sharma, …. S. Sambhara, S. K. Lal. 2012. Influenza A virus Neuraminidase protein enhances cell survival through interaction with CEACAM6. J. Biol. Chem. 287:15109-15117.

S. Karjee, A. Minhas, V. Sood, S. S. Ponia, A. C. Banerjea, V. T. K. Chow, S. K. Mukherjee, S. K. Lal. 2010. The 7a accessory protein of SARS-CoV acts as a RNA silencing suppressor. J. Virol. 84:10395-10401.

H-L. J. Oh, S. Akerstrom, S. Shen, S. Bereczky, H. Karlberg, J. Klingström, S. K. Lal, A. Mirazimi, Y-J Tan. 2010. An antibody against a novel and conserved epitope in the 1 HA1 subunit neutralizes numerous H5N1 influenza viruses. J. Virol. 84: 8275-8286.

M. Surjit, S. K. Lal. 2007. Glycogen synthase kinase phosphorylates and regulates the stability of p27kip1 protein. Cell Cycle 6:580-588.

M. Surjit, S. Jameel, S. K. Lal. 2007. Cytoplasmic localization of the ORF2 protein of Hepatitis E virus is dependent on its ability to undergo retro-translocation from the endoplasmic reticulum. J. Virol. 81: 3339-3345.

M. Surjit, B. Liu, V. T. K. Chow, S. K. Lal. 2006. The Nucleocapsid protein of SARS-coronavirus inhibits the activity of cyclin-CDK complex and blocks S phase progression in mammalian cells. J. Biol. Chem. 281:10669-10681.

M. Surjit, R. Oberoi, R. Kumar, S. K. Lal. 2006. Enhanced a1 microglobulin secretion from Hepatitis E virus ORF3 expressing human hepatoma cells is mediated by the tumor susceptibility gene 101. J. Biol. Chem. 281:8135-8142.

S. Tyagi, M. Surjit, S. K. Lal. 2005. The 41-amino acid C-terminal region of the Hepatitis E virus ORF3 protein interacts with Bikunin, a Kunitz-type serine protease inhibitor. J. Virol. 79:12081-12087.

M. Surjit, S. Jameel, S. K. Lal. 2004. The ORF2 protein of Hepatitis E virus binds the 5’ region of viral RNA. J. Virol. 78:320-328.

S. Tyagi, H. Korkaya, M. Zafrullah, S. Jameel, S. K. Lal. 2002. The phosphorylated form of ORF3 protein of Hepatitis E virus interacts with its non-glycosylated form of the major capsid protein, ORF2. J. Biol. Chem.277:22759-22767.

S. Tyagi, S. Jameel, S. K. Lal. 2001. Self-association and mapping of the interaction domain of the Hepatitis E Virus ORF3 protein. J. Virol.75:2493-2498.


Sunil K. Lal (2006) Emerging Viral Diseases of South-East Asia. Karger. ISBN-10: 3-8055-8175-0

Sunil K. Lal (2007) The Biology of Emerging Viruses.  Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Blackwell Publishers. ISBN-978157331-690-3

Hemant J. Purohit, Jitender P. Khurana, Rakesh Sharma, Sunil K. Lal & Vipin C. Kalia (2008) Indian Journal of Microbiology. Special Issue on Bacterial Diversity, Genomics & Metagenomics. Springer. ISSN-0046-8991

Sunil K. Lal (2010) Molecular Biology of the SARS-Coronavirus. Springer. ISBN 3642036821, 9783642036828

Sunil K. Lal (2009) Indian Journal of Microbiology. Special Issue on Swine Flu Pandemic. Springer. ISBN 3642036821

Book chapters

S. Tripathi, J. Batra, S. K. Lal. 2015. Interplay between Influenza A virus and host factors: Targets for anti-viral intervention. Archives of Virology 160:1877-1891

A. K. Mayank, S. Sharma, R. K. Deshwal, S. K. Lal. 2014. Genome-wide screens – a systematic approach to redefine the influenza A virus-host crosstalk. Virology Discovery 2:2

H. Nailwal, K. Kamra, S. K. Lal. 2014. H7N9: A killer in the making or a false alarm? Canadian J. Microbiology 8:425-429.

V. Baniasadi, P. Kumar, S. K. Lal. 2011. Influenza vaccines and antivirals – current update. Int. J. Biotechnol. Biosci. 1(4): 389-399.

N. Shanker, S. K. Lal. 2011. SAARC nations and the risk of Influenza (ed. S. Soz, R. N. Srivastava & S. Gupta) SAARC Building Bridges in the South Asian Region. New Delhi. p331-344.

P. Gaur, A. Munjal, S. K. Lal. 2011. Influenza virus and cell signaling pathways. Med. Sci. Monit. 17(6): RA148-154.

M. Surjit, S. K. Lal. 2010. ORF3 protein of Hepatitis E virus: possible structural and regulatory functions during viral pathogenesis. (eds. D. Raghunath & V. Nagaraja) Mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis. Macmillan, Bangalore. p168-182.

M. Surjit, S. K. Lal. 2010. The nucleocapsid protein of the SARS Coronavirus: structure, function and therapeutic potential. (ed. S. K. Lal) Molecular Biology of the SARS-Coronavirus. Springer. Germany. p129-151.

J. Pramod, S. Sharma, S. Goyal, K. Soni, M. Chaudhery, S.K. Lal. 2010. Prevalent, Sustained and Emerging Bacterial & Viral Infections: a growing challenge for SAARC nations. (ed. S. Soz & R. N. Srivastava) SAARC Emerging challenges. New Delhi. p227-242.

K. Sharma, S. K. Lal. 2009. Potential Disasters – infectious viral diseases. (ed. K. K. Singh) Disaster Management. Section 6, Chapter 25. Ashish Publishing House Corporation, Daryaganj, New Delhi.

R. Ratra, S. K. Lal. 2008. Functional genomics as a tool in virus research. Indian J. Microbiol. 48:195-201.

N. Shanker, S. K. Lal. 2009. The molecular biology of emerging viral diseases. (ed. A. K. Chauhan & A. Varma) A Textbook of Molecular Biotechnology. IK International Publishing House Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi. (ISBN 978-93-80026-37-4), p879-904.

S. K. Lal. 2008. The threat of emerging viral diseases in SAARC nations. (ed. I. A. Saradgi, S. K. Sahni & R. N. Srivastava) SAARC Socio-Economic Transformation. Foundation for Peace & Sustainable Development, New Delhi. (ISBN 81-903823-1-4), p255-262.

S. K. Lal. 2007. Threat of emerging viral diseases in SAARC Nations. Peace & Development Digest. 7:93-100.

N. Satija, S. K. Lal. 2007. The molecular biology of SARS. (ed. S. K. Lal) Annals of New York Academy of Sciences. Blackwell Publishing, New York (ISBN-9781573316903) 1102:p26-38.

M. Fernando, S. K. Lal. 2007. The Bird Flu virus H5N1: A pandemic in the waiting. (eds. Chauhan AK, Kharkwal H. & Varma A) Microbes for Human Life. IK International Publishing House Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi. (ISBN 81-89866-05-2), p291-298.

N. Satija, S. K. Lal. 2007. The Severe Acute Respiratory Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) Outbreak: Lessons learnt and future perspective. (eds. Chauhan AK, Kharkwal H. & Varma A.) Microbes for Human Life. IK International Publishing House Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi. (ISBN 81-89866-05-2), p299-310.

G. Mahlawat, S. K. Lal. 2007. Emerging viral diseases around the globe. (eds. Thipathi BN, Shakhawat GS & Sharma V) Applications of Biotechnology. Aavishkar publishers, Distributors, Jaipur. (ISBN 978-81-7910-215-2), p43-53.

R. Oberoi, P. Kumar, S. K. Lal. 2007. Molecular Matchmaking: Techniques for Biomolecular Interactions. Advanced Techniques in Soil Microbiology (eds. Varma A and Oelmüller R) Springer-Verlag, Germany. (ISBN - 978-3-540-70864-3) p 143-150.

S. K. Lal, V. T. K. Chow. 2006. The bird-flu virus: A global epidemic in the waiting. Emerging Diseases of Southeast Asia. (ed. Lal S. K.) Karger, Switzerland. (ISBN-10: 3-8055-8175-0; ISBN-13: 978-3-8055-8175-2) p59-77.

M. Surjit, B. Varshney, S. K. Lal. 2006. Molecular biology of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus. SARS 2006. (ed. Mizutani T) Transworld Research Network, India. (ISBN: 81-7895-208-4) p119-134.

S. K. Lal. 2005. Molecular Biology of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Coronavirus: An Update. In: Environment & Development: Challenges & Opportunities. 2005. (ed. Singh J) I. K. International Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi. p124-128.

R. Gupta, S. K. Lal. 2005. Visiting professorship program fosters Indo-US co-operation. BioSpectrum 3:54-55.

D. Gupta, S. K. Lal. 2005. Environmental Biotechnology, Microbiology and Sustainability. Peace & Development Digest. 5:65-72.

R. Srivastava, S. K. Lal. 2004. Yeast-based technologies for high throughput screening of natural anti-viral agents. In: Novel Compounds from Natural Products in the New Millennium. 2004. K. T. Benny, B. Bay, Y. Zhu eds. World Scientific, Singapore. (ISBN 981-256-113-7)

S. Tyagi, M. Surjit, S. K. Lal. 2002. Yeast based technologies for studying protein-protein and RNA-protein interactions in Hepatitis E Virus. Proceedings of the Asia Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver, Taipei. (ISBN: 88-323-2927-1) Monduzzi Editore, Italy, pp171-175.

S. K. Lal. 2001. ASM-UNESCO visiting resource person report. ASM News. 67:597.

S. K. Lal. 1997. The Pichia pastoris gene expression system: a review. Yeast Newsletter 46: 18-19.

Research Grants

Prof Sunil K. Lal, Molecular and biochemical studies on the 14-3-3 family of proteins and their interactions with the Nucleoprotein of Influenza A virus, MOHE, RM198k

PhD Students (Present)

1. Kavitha R Ganesan Nathan

2. Ramandeep Kaur

3. Nur Zawanah binti Zabidi

4. Isra Ahmad Farouk

5. Ashwini Puniyamurti

PhD Students (Completed)

1. Dr. Asad Ullah Khan

2. Dr. Shweta Tyagi

3. Dr. Milan Surjit

4. Dr. Ruchi Oberoi Ratra

5. Dr. Kulbhushan Sharma

6. Dr. Namita Satija

7. Dr. Bhavna Varshney

8. Dr. Vahid Baniasadi

9. Dr. Pratibha Gaur

10. Dr. Neha Shanker

11. Dr. Shashank Tripathi

12. Dr. Shipra Sharma

13. Dr. Jyoti Batra

14. Dr. Himani Nailwal

15. Dr. Adarsh Mayank

16. Dr. Rashmi Sharma

17. Dr. Vandana Thukral

18. Dr Chai Jing Yun

19. Dr Anshika Sharma

20. Dr Irene Lau Mei Yen

Honours Students (Present)

1. Zhi Ying Kho

Honours Students (Completed)

1. Isra Ahmad

Professional Association

Membership in Academic Editorial Committees

Editorial board member

  • Malaysian Journal of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • International Journal of Vaccines and Technologies
  • International Journal of Integrative Biology
  • World Journal of Biological Chemistry
  • World Journal of Virology
  • Frontiers of Microbiology

Engagement with Premier Public Universities

  • International Centre for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology (ICGEB), Visiting Senior Research Scientist, August 2014

Member of Professional Bodies

  • Dept. of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India (2005-2015), Grant Review Task Force Member, 2005-2015
  • The  Human Immunology Project Consortium (HIPC), Advisor, 2012-2014
  • Health and Medical Research Fund and Research Grants Council, Government of Hong Kong SAR (China), Research Grants Advisor, 2008-present
  • Association of Microbiologists of India, Elected Central Council Member, April 2014
  • American Society for Microbiology, Board member, Global Outreach Program, January 2013
  • American Society for Microbiology, Member, January 1994
  • The National Academy of Sciences, India, Elected Fellow, May 2004
  • Asia Pacific Society for Medical Virology, Region/Country Representative, 2007-present

Academic/Corporate Community Engagements

International Presentations

  • Guha Research Conference 2002; IISc Centenary Conference, 10th Sir Dorabji Tata Symposium on Mechanisms of Microbial Pathogenesis; 10-12 March, 2009, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
  • Invited Speaker: Guha Research Conference 2002; IISc Centenary Conference, 10th Sir Dorabji Tata Symposium on Mechanisms of Microbial Pathogenesis; 10-12 March, 2009, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
  • Invited Speaker: New Facets of Biotechnology from Genes to Proteins, Symposium cum Workshop, AMU, Aligarh Jan 15-17, 2014.
  • Invited Speaker: ASM General Meeting, New Orleans 2011, San Francisco 2012, Denver 2013.
  • Invited Speaker & Session Chair: Indo-US VAP Program meeting in New Delhi, 2012; Association of Microbiologists of India (AMI) Annual Meeting (2010-2014)
  • Invited Guest of Honour & Mentor: Dept. Science & Technology, Govt. of India Science Camp – Inspire Internship Scheme; IGI Sonepat (2013); RPIIT Karnal (2013)
  • Invited Speaker & Session Chair: National Conference on Recent Trends in Molecular Virology (2014) Jamia Milia Islamia University.
  • Invited Speaker: International Congress on Medical Virology (2014) Bangkok.
  • Invited Speaker & Session Chair: Association of Microbiologists of India (AMI) General Meeting, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi (2015).


  • Vahid Baniasadi & Sunil K. Lal. Indian Patent Application No. 91/DEL/2013; Application filed: 2013, A process for producing recombinant Matrix 1 protein (M1) Capsid Like Proteins (CLPs) and their use as potential influenza vaccine candidate



  • Recipient of Scholarship Award, Options for the Control of Influenza, Hong Kong (2010) – Recipient of Scholarship Award, Studies on host-viral interactions and identification of new anti-viral targets for Influenza virus


  • American Society for Microbiology International Ambassador of the year award 2006, The International Membership Committee, American Society for Microbiology


  • New Investigator Award, International Society for Infectious Diseases (ISID)


  • Young Investigators Award, Asia-Pacific Association for the Study of Liver (APASL)