Department of Biotechnology, University of Kashmir, Srinagar
During my B. Sc. I studied Chemistry and Biology and got interested in Biochemistry. After completing Bachelors I did M. Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of Kashmir and got interested in studying structure function relationship of biomolecules. I joined Prof. Jayant Udgaonkar’s labortory at NCBS-TIFR, Bangalore, as a Ph.D student. During my Ph. D I worked on protein folding problem, trying to unravel conformational landscape sampled by proteins during folding and unfolding pathways. I used various optical spectroscopy methods and isotope (Hydrogen/Deuterium) exchange coupled to mass spectrometry to monitor conformational relaxation kinetics of proteins. I showed that proteins sample different high energy partially folded/unfolded conformations during folding and unfolding. More interestingly I showed that native-state fluctuations of a protein drive its unfolding, and captured unfolding pathway of a protein under native conditions, which was not achieved before.
For my postdoctoral training I joined Harvard University, USA and worked under the supervision of Prof. Nicole Francis and Prof. Robert Kingston. During my postdoc I embarked on a much complex problem, trying to understand how interphase organization of genome regulates its function, and how this organization is propagated across cell generation. To address this problem I worked on a group of developmentally important, chromatin associated proteins called Polycomb Group proteins, which were shown to compact chromatin in vitro. By using super-resolution microscopy, chromosome conformation capture and other methods we showed that subnuclear distribution of Polycomb Group proteins is coupled to organization of genome. In another study we showed that PcG proteins are released from most of the sites on chromatin when cells enter mitosis but remain bound at a subset of sites which might act as nuclei to recruit more PcG proteins and regain interphase organization when cells exit mitosis
In sum, my postdoc work contributed in understanding a fundamental question in biology; how chromatin organization regulates gene expression, which in turn determines cellular identity, and how cells remember their identity by inheriting interphase chromatin organization across cell generations.
Towards the end of my postdoc, I decided to move back to India and was awarded Ramanujan fellowship from the Department of Science and Technology, India. I joined University of Kashmir in Aug. 2014 as faculty and have set up my group in the Department of Biotechnology.