2015 DISTINGUISHED FACULTY
The Distinguished Faculty Award in Research was presented to Dr. Krishna Singh, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and a physiologist at the Quillen VA Medical Center at Mountain Home.
According to her nomination, Singh has published 67 refereed papers and 14 book chapters and review articles – the vast majority of which have appeared in highly respected journals – since 1990. Her “record of extramural funding that would be the envy of most scientists at larger, research-intensive institutions” includes 12 grants totaling more than $4.5 million for projects on which she has been the principal investigator. Most of these have been large, multi-year awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the American Heart Association. Her current funding from the VA and NIH is more than $1 million.
Singh’s research focuses on the molecular and cellular basis of heart failure, investigating how muscle cells die during a heart attack and looking for ways to prevent these cells from dying.
“Our studies have identified three candidate proteins with potential to modulate heart disease,” Singh said. “Our lab was the first to show that increased expression of a protein called osteopontin in the heart coincides with the development of heart failure. Furthermore, deficiency of this protein is associated with decreased heart function following a heart attack.
Additional work carried out at ETSU has identified a protective role of another protein called ubiquitin.
“We found that ubiquitin, when given from outside, rescues heart muscle cells from dying and improves heart function in animal models,” she said.
The deficiency of a third protein identified in Singh’s lab, called ATM, is associated with increased cell death in the heart during heart disease.
“We are continuing to explore how these proteins modulate heart function during heart disease,” she said. “Once we know the function of these proteins, we can manipulate their levels in the heart to modulate heart function during heart disease.”
In addition to her own research, Singh regularly collaborates with fellow faculty researchers within the Quillen College of Medicine. She “give(s) generously of her time in order to promote the scientific efforts of those who know to seek her out…. Her incisive comments and constructive suggestions are always of great value and in certain cases, I believe, have helped determine the success of an individual application.”
Singh’s dedication to teaching and mentoring students was also praised by her colleagues, who noted that many of her former students now hold positions in academia, industry and government.
Singh joined the ETSU faculty in 2002 after holding teaching and research positions at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Harvard Medical School), Boston University School of Medicine, the VA Medical Center of Boston, and McGill University, Montreal, Canada, where she completed a post-doctoral fellowship. She earned her B.S. degree in biology at Maharishi Dayanand University, Rohtak, India, and her master’s and doctoral degrees in microbiology, biochemistry and immunology at Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, India.