West Bengal University of Technology, Kolkata
Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
My ambition had always been to pursue life in Science. Since I was a master student, I had decided to seek a career in biomedical research and academics. I was intrigued by the structure, conformation and interactions of biomolecules in defining biological activity. In my Ph.D., I was trained in computational Biology methods. I studied mechanism of emergence of a gene family involved in innate immune response in both plant and animal using thorough sequence analysis and the inheritance of the corresponding protein through evolutionary studies. I dealt with protein model building and studied host-pathogen interaction in detail using molecular docking techniques. I also performed extensive molecular dynamics simulations to explore structural or conformational alteration of the protein structures. Moving fast forward, I ended up with a PhD in Computational Biology in 2014.
Subsequently, I joined as a a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Mahavir Singh's group in Molecular Biophysics Unit, Indian Institute of Science. I believe that the exposure to bench work would complement my expertise in computational biology, and my transformation from theoretical/computational to experimental biologist begun in Dr. Singh's Lab. The work in the lab involved acquiring the expertise in protein and nucleic acid preparation and their biochemical/biophysical characterization by various experimental methods including NMR spectroscopy. Dr. Singh's experience in large-scale purification of non-coding RNAs and proteins for biochemical and structural work on RNA-protein complexes has opened up a new avenue for me to establish the hierarchical assembly of RNA and protein complexes. Most importantly, I have stepped into the emerging field of non-coding RNA structure and recognition. Our working together as coherent and productive collaboration prompted me to propose the current research work that will provide structure, function, and recognition of an important cellular long intergenic non-coding RNAs and their binding proteins. Previously termed as ‘junk’ part of the genome, these long RNA transcripts seems to have widespread roles in virtually every aspect of cellular physiology. One of the next challenges in biology is to ascertain the functions and mode of action of these newly discovered lncRNAs. Wellcome-DBT Early Career Fellowship is an opportunity to work on a timely and pertinent research question.
This is an exciting time in RNA biology. While working in the proposed project I will gain in depth knowledge of lncRNAs structure, function, and recognition. This will also widen my skill set that will include methods to study RNA-protein interactions: both in silico and in wet lab experiments. I believe that this will open up opportunities for me to launch my career as an independent RNA scientist.