Vinay Menon

Vinay Menon Profile Picture
Training Group:

Chemical Biology

Mentor / Lab:

Dr. Jean Chmielewski

Specific Research Area / Project:

Mechanism of Action of the Synthetic Antimicrobial Peptide P14LRR

Lab / Personal work-related websites:

Research Profile:

Antibiotic resistant bacteria is a growing concern in this country with the CDC reporting over 11,000 deaths from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, in 2013 alone, making it the leading cause of hospital acquired infections. Adding to this issue is the ability of bacteria like MRSA, Salmonella, and TB to hide within the cells of the immune system where current antibiotics, like penicillin, are not effective. Once inside, these pathogens multiply rapidly eventually killing the immune cell and then spreading to other cells to start the cycle over again.

Over the last 30 years, the Chmielewski Lab has developed a novel class of protein-based antibiotics that combine the best properties of naturally-occurring antibiotics into molecules that we call cationic amphiphilic polyproline helices, or CAPHs. Not only have our CAPHs been shown to be more effective than current treatments against a wide range of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but they can also penetrate immune cells and clear the bacteria that hide inside. We currently know the target of our CAPH molecules in S. aureus bacteria; my main project has been figuring out how our CAPHs interact with this target. With this information we will better understand how our molecules interact with bacteria, which will help in the design of future molecules. My other projects are centered around finding targets in other species of bacteria that our CAPHs have been shown to be effective against, such as E. coli.

Vinay Menon Research Picture

About Me:

I have been interested in science from a young age, but it took me awhile to settle on a specific area. From ecology to genetics and immunology to biochemistry, I have been able to gain career experience in several different disciplines, but it was not until recently that I realized that I wanted to the research that I felt would have the greatest chance of impacting people's lives. It was with that in mind that I chose to join my current lab where we design and test novel antibiotics.

The circumstances of my admission were rather unique and I ended up joining the PULSe program 1 month into the semester. Having missed orientation, the PULSe/OIGP staff were absolutely essential when I first joined, always willing to answer questions and help when I encountered difficulty in my lab. Even with this late start, the rest of my cohort welcomed me with open arms and I quickly made lifelong friends and enduring memories.

I am currently deciding between working at a small biotech startup company or for the government in a national lab. I am hoping to do a internship during my PhD to help me decide.


  • Purdue Institute of Inflammation, Immunology, and Infectious Disease (PI4D) PhD Fellowship (2017-2019)
  • The Governor Kenny Guinn Millennium Scholarship (2009-2012)


  • Frédéric D. Chevalier*, Winka Le Clec’h, Marina McDew-White, Vinay Menon, Meghan Guzman, Stephen P. Holloway, Xiaohang Cao, Alexander B. Taylor, Safari Kinungi, Anouk Gouvras, Bonnie Webster, Joanne Webster, Aidan M. Emery, David Rollinson, Salem Al Yafae, Mohamed A. Idris, Hélène Moné, Gabriel Mouahid, P. John Hart, Phillip T. LoVerde, Timothy JC. Anderson*. 2019. Oxamniquine resistance alleles are widespread in Old World Schistosoma mansoni and predate drug deployment. PLoS Pathogens, 15(10): e1007881 DOI 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007881.
  • Zhang, RY., Thapa, P., Espiritu, M., Menon, V., Bingham, JP*. 2017. From Nature to Creation: Going around in Circles, the Art of Peptide Cyclization. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 26(6) 1135-1150 DOI 10.1016/j.bmc.2017.11.017.
  • Thapa, P., Zhang, R., Menon, V., Bingham, JP*. 2014. Native Chemical Ligation: A Boon to Peptide Chemistry. Molecules, 19, 14461-14483.


  • Vinay Menon, Jinho Park, Yoon Yeo. (2018) Magnetophoretic Adoptive Transfer of Immunomodulatory Macrophages Via Polymer-Iron Oxide Composite Microparticles (PIMCs). PULSe Annual Spring Reception (Purdue University)
  • Vinay Menon and Jon-Paul Bingham. (2015) Cyclization and Derivatization of the Potassium Channel Antagonist Tertiapin (TPNQ). 27th Annual CTAHR Student Research Symposium (University of Hawaii, Manoa)
  • Vinay Menon, Jeffery Baguley, Kay T. Ho, Lisa Portis, Dina Proestou, Robert M. Burgess, Anthony Chariton, Stuart Simpson, Marguerite C. Pelletier, Monique M. Perron, Anthony Kamikawa. (2012) Using a Sediment Exposure Mesocosm to Determine Effects of Bifenthrin on an Estuarine Meiobenthic Community. College of Science Poster Competition (University of Nevada, Reno)


  • PULSe GSO Treasurer
  • PULSe Science in Schools Co-Chair
  • PULSe Science in Schools Volunteer

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