Manjulatha Sara

Manjulatha Sara

Postgraduate Research Student
School of Optometry and Vision Science

Name: Manjulatha Sara

Research Title: Development of Biologically active Biomaterials against Bacterial colonisation

Supervisor: Prof Mark Willcox

Co-supervisors: Dr. Alex Hui and Dr. Edgar Wong

Email Address:



Medical device and implant infections associated with multidrug resistant & biofilm forming microbes are a threat to global health. Antimicrobial peptides have good activity against these pathogens, and microbes find it hard to develop resistance to them. Peptoids are oligomers based on a polyglycine backbone with an amide side chian. These are low cost to design and have good activity seen free in solution. What is not known is whether the peptidomimetic peptoids retain their antimicrobial function once covalently bound to surfaces. My research will investigate several peptoids to determine which ones can retain antimicrobial activity after binding to surfaces, and their mechanism of action. I will use contact lenses as the substrata for attachment and various attachment techniques. This will include using dopamine, plasma-coating or other attachment strategies. The mechanism of antimicrobial peptides once bound to a surface has been shown to be like their mechanism of action when free in solution. This is predominantly to disrupt the membranes of microbes, although other mechanisms such as releasing autolysins have also been demonstrated. I will investigate whether the bound peptoids have similar mechanisms of action. I will also test the coated contact lenses for safety by measuring their effect on mammalian cells in tissue culture.


Manjulatha Sara is an international postgraduate research student who will focus on the mechanism of action of peptoids against bacteria for her doctoral degree. She gained a postgraduate in science from Annamalai University, India. After graduating she joined the prestigious L V Prasad Eye Institute and became an expert in diagnostic and clinical microbiology. Her research ambition is to develop antimicrobial contact lenses that can be safely worn to provide protection against microbial-driven adverse events during contact lens wear.


Ph.D student at School of optometry and Vision Sciences, 2020 -Current

M.Sc Annamalai University, India 2000


Journal Articles

  • 1. Kalra P, Ahirwar LK, Mittal R, Ranjith K, Das S, Manjulatha K, Bagga B,

Mohamed A, Joseph J, Sharma S. Clinical and histopathological evaluation of a

rabbit model for Pythium insidiosum keratitis. Curr Eye Res. 2019 Oct 8. doi:

10.1080/02713683.2019.1676911. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31593643.

  • 2: Bagga B, Joseph J, Garg P, Chandran K, Jayabhasker P, Manjulatha K, Sharma S.

Efficacy of Topical Miltefosine in Patients with Acanthamoeba Keratitis: A Pilot

Study. Ophthalmology. 2019 May;126(5):768-770. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2018.12.028.

Epub 2018 Dec 17. PubMed PMID: 30572075.

  • 3: Bagga B, Sharma S, Madhuri Guda SJ, Nagpal R, Joseph J, Manjulatha K, Mohamed

A, Garg P. Leap forward in the treatment of Pythium insidiosum keratitis. Br J

Ophthalmol. 2018 Dec;102(12):1629-1633. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2017-311360.

Epub 2018 Mar 15. PubMed PMID: 29545414.

  • 4: Sharma S, Balne PK, Motukupally SR, Das S, Garg P, Sahu SK, Arunasri K,

Manjulatha K, Mishra DK, Shivaji S. Pythium insidiosum keratitis: clinical

profile and role of DNA sequencing and zoospore formation in diagnosis. Cornea.

2015 Apr;34(4):438-42. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000000349. PubMed PMID: 25738236.

  • 5: Manderwad GP, Kodiganti M, Ali MJ. Cardiobacterium hominis-induced acute

dacryocystitis and lacrimal abscess. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2014 Apr;62(4):495-7.

doi: 10.4103/0301-4738.116461. PubMed PMID: 24008805; PubMed Central PMCID:


  • 6: Balne PK, Reddy AK, Kodiganti M, Gorli SR, Garg P. Evaluation of three PCR

assays for the detection of fungi in patients with mycotic keratitis. Br J

Ophthalmol. 2012 Jun;96(6):911-2. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2011-300207. Epub

2012 Feb 22. PubMed PMID: 22362914.

  • 7: Balne PK, Nalamada S, Kodiganti M, Taneja M. Fungal keratitis caused by

Chaetomium atrobrunneum. Cornea. 2012 Jan;31(1):94-5. doi:

10.1097/ICO.0b013e31821eeaed. PubMed PMID: 22045390.


Scientia Scholarship from University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia 2020-2024

Work Shops

BUG BUSTER – Ocular Clinical & Microbiology Workshop 2019

Good clinical laboratory Practices (GCLP) 2011

ICMR – Medical Mycology PGIMR – Chandigarh, India 2008

Continuing Medical education Ocular Microbiology and Pathology – 1995