University of Manitoba, Canada
Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad
I started my independent scientific career at CDFD with the goal to establish a program on cellular phosphatases. We envisioned identifying and characterizing novel cellular functions and pathways controlled by phosphatases along with their role in human cancers. We initiated the program to address two important questions
Can we identify novel cellular functions for phosphatases based on their interactors?
Can we fill in any missing mechanistic links for the role of phosphatases that were already established?
The Intermediate Fellowship awarded by the Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance at that stage of establishing my independent lab has been very critical in helping me address these questions. During my tenure as an intermediate Fellow, we proposed to utilize a proteomics based approach to establish the functional network of phosphatases in human cells. With the generous funding support from India Alliance, we established a detailed interaction network of 143 human phosphatases, which contains about 85% novel interactions. Using this approach, we readily established the concept of identifying novel functions for cellular phosphatases based on interacting partners. For example, we demonstrated that tumor suppressor phosphatase, PTEN, functions in endosome maturation via interacting with Rab7, a critical GTPase in this process.
The IA Fellowship has provided me the freedom and flexibility to address all important research questions in establishing my independent program at CDFD. Importantly, the generous support from Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance made it possible for young scientist like me to try new and risky directions. The highly competitive Fellowship program coupled with generous funding support, timely review mechanism, and extremely interactive Annual Fellows Meeting, undoubtedly makes it the best funding program in the country today. The timely release of funds, prompt response from the IA office including the Grant Adviser and Finance Manager was fantastic and definitely helped us in carrying our experiments in an unfettered manner. The Fellowship has truly helped us in asking bigger and bolder questions. I can strongly state that our work would not have reached the stage it is at right now without the support of the IA Intermediate Fellowship.
Having taken the early steps with intermediate fellowship, we now proposed to identify novel cellular functions for different phosphatases and characterize their importance in various cellular pathways based on our phosphatase interactome. As we are at the critical juncture of taking forward our program on phosphatases, it is highly important to have an unfettered support. Thus, the Senior Fellowship awarded to me by the Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance will now make it possible for me to expand into new directions, provide high quality training for graduate students and importantly assist in addressing the basic questions in phosphatase biology.