BSBE Faculty

Robert Sonowal

Assistant Professor


Email: rsonowal (at)

Phone: +91-512-259-2372 (office)

Link to Lab webpage



Academic Background:

Robert Sonowal received his undergraduate degree in Microbiology in 2005 and Master’s in Biomedical Sciences from University of Delhi in 2007. He obtained his PhD in Microbiology and Genetics from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore under the supervision of Professor S. Mahadevan. He completed his post-doctoral training at Dr. Daniel Kalman’s lab, Emory University in 2019. Prior to joining IIT Kanpur in September, 2022, he was a Research Scientist at Emory University, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.


Research Interests:

Microbes are ubiquitous in nature and often live as commensals with plants and animals regulating myriad of host phenotypes. Our lab intends to undertake collaborative and interdisciplinary research to understand the role of commensal microbiota and their metabolites in health and diseases and develop them as therapeutics. Advancement in science, technology and healthcare has significantly increased our life expectancy. This is associated with a global increase in aged population and age associated disease burden. Thus, there is an urgency for developing interventions to limit diseases and infirmities associated with aging. The lab will primarily use the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila melanogaster and mice as model hosts to investigate, a) whether commensal metabolites affect healthy aging, b) whether the effect is transgenerational, and c) identify the genetic/molecular players involved in these processes. Additional research undertakings of the lab will include, but not limited to, counter antimicrobial resistance with metabolites from commensal microbiota and bioremediation of air pollutants including phyllosphere microbiota and their metabolites.