Vibha Bansal

Associate Professor
Department of Chemistry
University of Puerto Rico at Cayey
ext. 3326, 3376

My research areas include: bioseparations, protein engineering, natural products, and nanobiotechnology. I have also trained over 30 undergraduate students in research. In my independent career so far, I have established collaborations with several distinguished researchers as well as young researchers and hence am part of a strong research network that extends over USA. Below is a brief description of the research projects currently active in my laboratory:

1. Engineering Plasminogen Activators: My current grant from NIH-INBRE (PR) involves engineering Plasminogen Activators (thrombolytic proteins) to improve their fibrin specificity and half life. Through this study we also aim to establish a better understanding of the structure-function relationships for these proteins. This research is being carried out in collaboration with Dr. Saurabh Chattopadhyay (CCF, Cleveland).

2. Bioseparations: Another current research project in our laboratory involves the development of affinity membranes for protein isolation. In collaboration with a materials scientist (Dr. Wilfredo Otano, UPR-Cayey) and an organic chemist (Dr. Ezio Fasoli, UPR-Humacao), we are synthesizing regenerated cellulose membranes, modifying them chemically to impart affinity for a specific protein, and then test their protein binding capacity and selectivity. These membranes are being developed to provide an alternative to traditional chromatographic column based separation processes. Based on the same principle, we are also developing affinity nonabsorbents for protein separations. Magnetic nanoparticles are being synthesized and modified chemically to generate magnetic nonabsorbents that might prove to be effective tools for single step protein separation. This project is funded by the NSF-EPSCoR grant to UPR.  

3. Natural Products: In collaboration with an organic chemist (Dr. Elba D. Reyes, UPR-Cayey), we are screening Puerto Rican plants for the presence of inhibitors of Plasminogen Activators that are potential drug candidates for prevention of cancer metastasis.

Areas de Investigacion/Key Research Areas: 
  1. Bansal V, Kumar A, Roychoudhury PK, Mattiasson B. 2006. Recovery of urokinase from integrated mammalian cell culture cryogel bioreactor and purification of the enzyme using p-aminobenzamidine affinity chromatography. J Mol Recog 19 (4): 332-339.
  2. Bansal V, Roychoudhury PK. 2006. Production and purification of urokinase: A comprehensive review. Protein Express Purif 45: 1-14.
  3. Kumar A, Bansal V, Andersson J, Roychoudhury PK, Mattiasson B. 2006. Supermacroporous cryogel matrix for integrated protein isolation: IMAC purification of urokinase from cell culture broth of human kidney cell line. J Chromatogr A 1103: 35-42.
  4. Kumar A, Bansal V, Nandakumar KS, Galaev IY, Roychoudhury PK, Holmdahl R, Mattiasson B. 2006. Integrated bioprocess for the production and isolation of urokinase from animal cell culture using supermacroporous cryogel matrices. Biotechnol Bioeng 93 (4): 636-646.
  5. Castillo J, Bansal V, Ganesan A, Halling P, Secundo F, Ferrer A, Griebenow K, Barletta G. 2006. On the activity loss of hydrolases in organic solvents: II. A mechanistic study of subtilisin Carlsberg. BMC Biotechnol 6: 51-63.
  6. Bansal V, Roychoudhury PK, Kumar A. 2007. Urokinase separation from cell culture broth of a human kidney cell line. Int J Biol Sci 3 (1): 64-70.
  7. Bansal V, Delgado Y, Fasoli E, Ferrer A, Griebenow K, Secundo F, Barletta G. 2010. Effect of prolonged exposure to organic solvents on the active site environment of subtilisin Carlsberg. J Mol Catal B: Enzymatic 64: 38-44.
  8. Zha XQ, Pan LH, Luo, JP, Wang JH, Wei P, Bansal V. 2012. Enzymatic fingerprints of polysaccharides of Dendrobium officinale and their application in identification of Dendrobium species. J Nat Med 66:525–534.
  9. Bansal V, Delgado Y, Legault, M, Barletta G. 2012. Low enzyme operational stability in dry organic solvents: changing environment of the active site. Molecules 17(2): 1870-1882.
  10. Fasoli E, Ruiz Reyes Y, Martinez Guzman O, Rosado A, Rodriguez Cruz V, Borges A, Martinez E, Bansal V. 2013. Para-aminobenzamidine linked regenerated cellulose membranes for plasminogen activator purification: Effect of spacer arm length and ligand density. J Chromatogr B 930(1): 13-21.
  11. Zha X, Diaz R, Franco JJR, Sanchez VF, Fasoli E, Barletta G, Carvajal A, Bansal V. 2013. Inhibitors of urokinase type plasminogen activator and cytostatic activity from crude plants extracts. Molecules 18(8): 8945-8958.
  12. Zha XQ, Zhao HW, Bansal V, Pan LH, Wang ZM, Luo JP. 2014. Immunoregulatory activities of Dendrobium huoshanense polysaccharides in mouse intestine, spleen and liver. Int J Biol Macromol. 64:377-382.
  13. Zhang HL, Cui SH, Zha XQ, Bansal V, Xue L, Li XL, Hao R, Pan LH, Luo JP. 2014. Jellyfish skin polysaccharides: Extraction and inhibitory activity on macrophage-derived foam cell formation. 2014. Carbohydrate Polymers 106: 393–402.

Book Chapter

Fasoli E and Bansal V. Targeting Plasminogen Activator System in Cancer Treatment. In : Plasminogen Activator: Genetic Factors, Functions and Clinical Applications (2014), ed.  Rutherford J. M., Nova Science Publishers, Hauppauge, NY (USA).

Dr. Bo Mattiasson (Dept. of Biotechnology, Lund University, Sweden) Dr. Ezio Fasoli (Dept. of Chemistry, Univ. of Puerto Rico at Humacao, Puerto Rico) Dr. Gabriel L. Barletta (Dept. of Chemistry, Univ. of Puerto Rico at Humacao, Puerto Rico) - Postdoctoral Mentor Dr. Jose LaSalde (Dept. of Biology, Univ. of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico) Dr. Wilfredo Otano (Dept. of Mathematics, Univ. of Puerto Rico at Cayey, Puerto Rico) Dr. Saurabh Chattopadhyay (Cleveland Clinic Foundation, OH) Dr. Pradip K. Roychoudhury (Dept. of Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, India) - Doctoral Thesis Advisor Dr. Sanjeev Puri (Dept. of Biotechnology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India) - Master’s Thesis Advisor