CSIR- Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad, India
CSIR- Institute of Microbial Technology, Chandigarh, India
Science has always been fascinating but I dont know when it became a passion for me. The mystery associated with it and the joy of discovery is the prime reason that motivated me to seek a career in research. While a decent academic record with two gold medals; research support from DST, Fulbright and now Wellcome-Trust/DBT India Alliance along with the development of three new methods for drug discovery have encouraged me; the journal referees have left no stone unturned to keep me grounded. These experiences have laid the foundation for my formative years as a researcher and also enthused me to do better.
Having majored in Microbiology, most of the pre-PhD work carried out in industry and academia is based on developing new enzyme immobilization techniques followed up with an advance diploma in bioinformatics at CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT). The major focus of my research is to investigate the influence of mutations on protein-protein interaction networks in oncogenic kinases in order to aid the development of targeted therapies for cancer. The motivation that led to defining this research problem was the curiosity instated during my PhD at CSIR-IICT to discover how the existing repertoire of kinase inhibitors with high efficacy can be honed to become more target specific. Thanks to my Ph.D. supervisor, Dr. G. Narahari Sastry, who always supported my drive to work independently both during PhD and postdoctoral period. I am grateful to him for grooming me not only to conduct independent research but also for acquainting me with other areas affiliated with scientific pursuits.
The main reason for applying for this fellowship, is the freedom that it gives to young researchers like me to explore our own ideas independently. From 2003 since I completed my masters, I have tried to get trained in different aspects of biomedical research and understand research perspectives in academia, industry and research institutions. My thrust has always been to integrate experiments with computations to solve my research problems. Use the data thus obtained to develop new methods and translate the findings from basic research into applications for societal good. I therefore approached Professor Susan Taylor, University of California San Diego; Dr. G. P. S. Raghava, CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology; and Professor Holger Gohlke, University of Dusseldorf. While Professor Taylor is a world leader in kinase research who integrates both experiments and computations; Dr. Raghava is an expert in bioinformatics and a strong supporter of open source software while Professor Gohlke is an expert in molecular modeling and simulation and one of the AMBER developers. Thanks to the Wellcome-trust/DBT India Alliance fellowship, I have got an opportunity to get exposed to the rigours of method development as well as to an interdisciplinary way of kinase drug discovery. This is a lot more than what any young researcher like me would aspire and with this experience the future independent research career is bound to have a logical direction and momentum.