Early Stage Researcher
What is your project/research about? What would you like to find out?
Macrophages have been recently shown to be a highly heterogeneous population with different functions at different sites in the CNS. My project deals with how localization and function of different macrophage populations is affected by extracellular matrix proteins in murine neuroinflammation, studied using the experimental autoimmune encephalitis model (EAE). First, we define the localization of macrophages with respect to the endothelium, pia, astrocytes and associated basement membranes. For this purpose, we will use high resolution microscopy and discern these structures using cellular markers and markers for the endothelial and parenchymal basement membranes that define the inner endothelial and the outer astroglial border. The question of whether specifically laminins, which are the functionally activate components of basement membranes, are involved in retention and/or maintenance of the phenotype or function of distinct macrophage populations at defined sites will be investigated using transgenic mouse lines lacking basement membrane laminins (Lama4-/-, Tek-cre::Lama5-/-) and macrophage reporter mice in concert with in vitro assays addressing macrophage adhesion, migration and differentiation.
Why did you apply for a Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN and especially this project?
I’m highly motivated to pursue a career in scientific research especially in the field of neuroinflammation and vascular biology. Marie Sklodowska-Curie ITN is a great platform for motivated early-stage researchers (ESRs) such as myself to work alongside the best in the field and learn different skills with its numerous training programs that promote synergistic development. I chose this project because it addresses novel questions with potential of understanding more about neuroinflammatory diseases and having translational outcomes. My master’s thesis gave me a background in endothelial biology therefore studying the role of endothelial basement membrane proteins was a natural extension of my scientific curiosity in the field, compelling me to apply for this project. This project allows me to learn more about immunology and the clinically significant field of neuroinflammation using cutting edge techniques. The opportunity to learn and perform techniques such as super-resolution confocal microscopy, FACs, and single-cell RNA sequencing data analysis which will greatly help me improve my scientific skill set.
What is so fascinating for you on research in general?
The complexity of biological systems and their intricate architecture to control various functions fascinates me, especially the structure of the blood-brain barrier and how it regulates the entry of molecules /cells into the CNS parenchyma. I pursued my bachelor and master degrees in a technical institute which inherently made me a person who strongly believes in the concept of interdisciplinary research. The concept of interdisciplinary research in biology by applying methods from computer science, mathematics and physics currently fascinates me and I want to pursue research in this direction.
What do you do in your free time? Do you have special interests/ hobbies?
I’m a sportsperson, I pursue sports as a hobby. I play soccer, basketball, badminton, and cricket. I like soccer the most and I am a big fan of Lionel Messi and FC Barcelona. Apart from sports, I like to watch movies, TV shows and listening to bollywood music.
What are your plans for your future? Where/what you will be in 5 years?
My career objective is to do cutting edge research in the field of CNS related diseases like multiple sclerosis and stroke. Research on neuropathologies specifically, are limited by the focus on therapeutically viable options. In future, I wish to understand the mechanisms of neuropathologies for the pursuit of better therapies. In five years, I would like to see myself as a postdoctoral researcher answering critical questions in neuroinflammation research in a competitive lab.