As a Master’s student
In the lab of Dr. William Widger, I worked with a protein called Rho transcription termination factor. The central question in my Masters thesis was whether Rho could be modulated to terminate plasmid replication.
Plasmids are DNA molecules that are present in some bacterium and are independent of the host’s chromosomal DNA. The reason this question was important was that certain harmful bacteria like Salmonella typhimurium, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Yersinia pestis contain the information for their harmful ingredients in plasmids. Controlling the replication of plasmids would thus reduce the amount of the harmful ingredients produced. This was my hypothesis and I used Escherichia coli, a common, harmless, laboratory strain of a human gut bacteria to test some of the ideas. Here is the link to a publication I got in the lab.
As a PhD student
The question of why Hsp70, a major molecular chaperone in eukaryotic cells requires different co-chaperones intrigued me. In the lab of Dr. Kevin Morano, I sought to understand one particular co-chaperone using the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae as the eukaryotic model system. The protein, Snl1 was membrane-anchored, which made it all the more tempting to speculate that it played specific roles with regard to its location in the cell. I discovered an interesting and unique interaction of Snl1 with the protein production system in cells called ribosomes. Hsp70 or Heat shock protein70 is an important molecular machine present in all cells and is tasked with the function of keeping other proteins in a state that will prevent their aggregation in the crowded environment of the cell. Learning about these proteins and how they function will one day lead to further discoveries in the field of neurodegenerative diseases. The publications I got during my PhD training are here.
Here is a short video of my Ph.D. advisor introducing me before I presented my Ph.D. thesis in a public forum. Link to video.