Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences, Delhi (degree from Bharathiar University)
Mannheim, Germany (January 2009 – December 2009)
Institute of Molecular and Translational Therapeutic Strategies,
Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany (January 2010 – May 2016)
Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad
I chose to study biology after schooling because I was not good at mathematics. I did not envisage research as my career until as late as the end of my Masters studies; I joined PhD as a buffer period until I should find another good job in the industry. However, immediately after starting to work for my PhD, I developed a strong feeling of ‘ownness’ with the PhD project. I thoroughly enjoyed being fully immersed in research activities. Soon I realized that scientific research will be my career.
While working for my PhD, I found that insect cells derived from Spodoptera frugiperda are highly sensitive to RNA synthesis inhibition, but not to so much to protein synthesis inhibition. While investigating the possible reasons behind this observation, I learned about anti-apoptotic functions of some of the then recently discovered small regulatory RNAs – microRNAs. I found that inhibition of certain anti-apoptotic microRNAs is one of the reasons for the early cell death induced by RNA synthesis inhibition in the insect cell system. My PhD work was recognized with a gold medal and ‘best thesis of the year’ award by the Bharathiar University. That was my first experience with the non-coding RNAs. After that I continued my research in non-coding RNAs. I did a year of post-doctoral research at Klinikum Mannheim (Heidelberg University) on microRNA mediated regulation of non-small cell lung cancer metastasis. In 2010, I moved to Hannover Medical School where I started my second post-doc and later established my own research group after receiving independent research funding from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). After about 7 years of my residency in Germany, I started looking for opportunities for moving back to India. I realized the importance of securing sufficient research funding prior to moving for establishing a research lab and implementing my research ideas. Then I started to follow timelines of WT/DBT India Alliance fellowships. Although I was little hesitant in the beginning to apply in view of the fierce competition for these fellowships, I finally decided to apply. Right from the very initial contact with the grant advisor until disbursement of the fellowship money, entire procedure is very well streamlined by India Alliance. Now I am starting my lab at CCMB Hyderabad. I am thankful to WT/DBT India Alliance for their generous support. I am also thankful to Prof. Thomas Thum (IMTTS), Dr. Rakesh Mishra (CCMB) and Prof. Radhakrishna Pillai (RGCB) for their invaluable support before, during and after my application to India Alliance.