National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, India
Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Thiruvananthapuram
As a curious child I developed interest in biology quite early and was fascinated by nature. My time at the good old north campus, University of Delhi was nothing less than a dream. I completed my Masters’ from the Department of Botany with a special paper in Plant Tissue Culture. Having experienced the pluripotent nature of plant cells, obvious questions about the animal cells emerged and I decided to work on those questions. With an intention to join the lab of Dr Asok Mukhopadhyay (Product development cell-II at that time) as the very first PhD student, I got into National Institute of Immunology. I started working with the trans-differentiation potential of Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and by the time I finished in 2009, I was convinced that I wanted to use “developmental hematopoiesis” as the model to understand regulatory mechanisms involved in HSC function. We got rechristened as the Stem Cell Biology Lab in 2007 and we could do some initial work, which would pave way for further studies that I continued during my post-doctoral research. To address these questions at KU Leuven, Belgium, I quickly got funding support by the Flemish funding agency FWO. I spent close to six years in this quiet small town in Belgium, looking into various aspects of hematopoiesis through the “developmental lens”. I joined IISER Thiruvananthapuram in July 2015 and applied for the India alliance intermediate fellowship. The project involves looking into the outside-in integrin signaling in fetal and adult hematopoiesis and studying hematopoietic niche in the fetal liver. We will look at the processes that result in creation of the pool of HSCs that maintain blood cell supply. These studies also shed light on how modulation in these processes leads to alteration on HSC function during ageing.