Bose Institute (Awarded from Jadavpur University, Kolkata)
Presidency University Kolkata, West Bengal, India
I never thought that I will end up in biological research as I always wanted to be an artist. What I find now, I became an artist while I prepare my figures in Corel Draw. I have graduated in Chemistry from University of Calcutta in 1998 and at that time only Chemistry students had option to opt Biochemistry afterward as their MS Degree. I was discussing with one of my cousin brothers about potential future opportunities after completion of my graduation and he was constantly telling or rather forcing me to join Biochemistry department at University of Calcutta by saying “if you want to do something in your life, just go there”. “You know, scientists can manipulate your DNA….express foreign proteins in bacteria (giving insulin as example)…etc”. I know, it sounds extremely childish now as well as unethical too. However, these were perhaps the words that brought me to join the Biochemistry department and changed my life’s perspective since then. I will never forget the day when I saw for the first time an ethidium bromide stained plasmid DNA and copied it on a piece of transparent sheet for our record. Despite the initial difficulties in following the classes, understanding the intricate biological phenomena, I had determined my mind within very few months that I will pursue a research based career. Nevertheless, it would be completely unjustified if I do not mention some of my great teacher’s names – Dr. Maitrayee DasGupta and Dr. Dhrubajyoti Chattopadhyay whose classes and interactions were the source of my inspiration for which I am what I am today.
It was my incessant passion on learning Molecular Biology techniques started from reading the Watson’s book “The Double Helix”, I decided to join Prof. Sujoy DasGupta’s lab at Bose Institute, Kolkata. The objective of my project was to develop peptide inhibitors against Hsp16.3 protein, a virulence factor of latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis and a member of human a-crystallin family. During my PhD tenure, I also had the opportunity to work with two eminent biophysicists – Prof. Siddhartha Roy and Prof. Bhabatarak Bhattacharyya. My doctoral degree has provided me a flavour of interdisciplinary research and made me learn the magnitude of it in order to understand the right way to approach any basic biology questions.
To venture into more interdisciplinary research arena, I have decided to further work on Tumor virology and joined Dr. Erle S Robertson’s Lab at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, USA in 2007. It has been a tremendous experience to work with Erle. As a postdoctoral researcher my broad objective was to explore the role of EBNA3C, one of the essential latent antigens of EBV (Epstein–Barr virus) in the development of viral associated B-cell lymphomas, predominantly in immune-compromised individuals. Overall, my studies demonstrate the unique ability of this particular EBV antigen functions in regulating both apoptosis and cell proliferation, raises the possibility of exploring other interconnected pathways in order to enhance the current therapeutic means against multiple EBV-associated human cancers.
At present, I am an assistant professor at Dept. of Biological Sciences, Presidency University, Kolkata. My group at Presidency is currently engaged in deciphering the precise role of autophagy and the unfolded protein response (UPR) in the development of numerous human cancers, including tumor-virus associated (for e.g. EBV associated B-cell lymphomas) and other non-viral cancers such as breast carcinomas and chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML). The main focus of our study is to determine how these cellular pathways can be exploited as potential therapeutic strategies against multiple human cancers. Needless to say, Wellcome Trust-DBT India Alliance Intermediate Fellowship at a state University setting offers a suitable platform to create an enthusiastic research group who will be engaged in answering these pertinent questions. Warm thanks to my friends, my mentor, collaborators and especially our current VC Prof. Anuradha Lohia for beleiving in me and extending the support during the course of application.
I would have never succeeded, if my family especially my beautiful wife ‘Sayani’ was not there with me during my bad times whether it was a paper rejection or looking for jobs. We are blessed with a baby boy ‘Aritra’ in 2011– however, the baby is not a baby anymore, he thinks he is ‘SUPERMAN’ now. Love you both!!