Hometown: Pune, India and Dubai, UAE
Undergraduate University: University of Pune, India
Degree Earned: Integrated M.Sc. Biotechnology
My Research Interests:
I am primarily interested in studying the molecular basis of aging. My current research focuses on investigating a unique model of proteostasis in Caenorhabditis elegans. It is known that proteostasis declines with age and that perturbations to proteasome structure or function are detrimental to proteostasis. As expected, the C. elegans mutant of the RPN-10 proteasomal subunit exhibits reduced proteasome function, but counterintuitively, it is also long-lived and highly resistant to several proteotoxic stresses. This process appears to be significantly dependent on ER homeostasis. Utilizing genetic, biochemical and functional approaches, my project aims to elucidate the molecular mechanism underlying the enhanced proteostasis and extended longevity remarkably conferred by mild proteasomal dysfunction.
Why I'm excited to study aging:
Aging affects everyone, but the field of aging research is ironically quite young! For such a fundamental organismal process, this is both surprising and exciting as there is so much to explore. The appreciation that aging is a biologically programmable phenomenon has led to improved research and interventions of aging mechanisms and age-related pathology through holistic molecular, cellular, physiological and population-based investigations. In turn, our current knowledge has further generated a plethora of fascinating open questions in aging biology. Thus, I find the excellent opportunities to contribute to this dynamic field as well as the joy of scientific discovery truly appealing as an aspiring researcher.
My future goals:
After my doctoral studies, I intend to pursue a career in Academia to continue studying aging and age-related diseases through basic and translational biology research.
Awards and Honors:
- 2017 - Glenn Foundation Doctoral Student Fellowship in the Biology of Aging
Keith, S.A., Maddux S.K., Zhong, Y., Chinchankar, M.N., Ferguson, A.A., Ghazi A., Fisher, A.L. Graded Proteasome Dysfunction in Caenorhabditis elegans Activates an Adaptive Response Involving the Conserved SKN-1 and ELT-2 Transcription Factors and the Autophagy-Lysosome Pathway. PLoS Genetics. 12, 1–39 (2016)