Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer, Tata Memorial Centre
My career to date has been shaped by excellent teachers and mentors who have motivated me to pursue a career in research. Science became my favourite subject in school and college, because of the engaging way in which it was taught. The entire credit for sparking my curiosity towards science goes to my science teacher Mrs. Saple. My masters dissertation in 2011 in the field of nanobiotechnology introduced me to the world of research. Based on the exciting results obtained during this tenure, we could publish our work in peer reviewed research journals. Overall, this research experience indeed motivated me to seek a career in research.
In 2012, I got the opportunity to pursue my doctoral studies under the guidance of Dr. Milind Vaidya at ACTREC, Navi Mumbai, India. Here, I worked extensively on cell and molecular biology. My project involved the dissection of the role of hemidesmosomal linker proteins in neoplastic progression of oral cancer. Apart from writing research articles, I also got an opportunity to assist my guide in writing research grants to national funding agencies. I was also a part of the organizing committee of the 11th National Research Scholars meet in Life Sciences held at ACTREC, where I could learn how to interact with scientists, raise money, and organize a conference of a national standing.
In the next phase of my research path, unlike many Indian PhD graduates, I decided to stay back in India to pursue a career in research; making a transition from cell biology to neurobiology. I decided to apply my skills in cellular and molecular biology to study the neurobiology of stress and emotions under the guidance of Prof. Vidita Vaidya at TIFR, Mumbai. At each step of the India alliance ECF application, Prof. Vidita Vaidya supported and encouraged me. I learnt from her how to condense a story and convey it to the scientific community effectively. Prof. Vaidya as a fellowship supervisor (expertise in early life trauma on limbic neurocircuitry and mood-related behavior), Prof. Kolthur as a mentor (expertise in mitochondrial metabolism and aging) and Prof. Carmen Sandi as an external sponsor (expertise in behavioural neuroscience, cognition and neuroenergetics) is a perfect combination of the expertise needed to advise me in this interdisciplinary project. This project bears promise for understanding the contribution of early stress in altering mitochondrial status and thus impacting the trajectory for risk for psychopathology and accelerated aging. The DBT Wellcome trust India alliance early career fellowship will provide financial independence, critical support for my scientific plans, for important scientific collaborations and help me mature into an independent researcher.
My lifetime goal is to conduct research that benefits society. This goal can be achieved to the greater extent by working on the neurobiology of stress and emotions in Prof. Vidita Vaidya’s laboratory at TIFR, Mumbai. Gaining insights into early life trauma induced mitochondrial dysfunction and aging, may help us to develop effective therapeutic interventions for people suffering from psychological diseases.