Meet our Early Career Scientist Grant Winner Abinaya Chandrasekaran
Introducing the latest lucky winner of our Early Career Scientist Grant! Abinaya Chandrasekaran of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, is the next recipient of our monthly $500 grant awarded to a PhD or postdoc life scientist to help support their career.
Abinaya is a postdoctoral researcher working in Kristine Freude’s lab, and she plans to use the grant to help fund consumable costs for her studies on characterising the underlying molecular mechanism of neurotransmitter release contributing to epilepsy.
When we asked how she felt about receiving the grant, she said:
I am honoured and very grateful to receive this Early Career Scientist Grant from Hello Bio. My first reaction immediately upon receiving a grant award letter was OMG!! I am very excited and grateful to receive this award, which will be a great support to my research and career in science. Abinaya Chandrasekaran, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, Hello Bio Early Career Scientist Grant winner
Congratulations Abinaya! First, can you tell us a bit more about what you're working on at the moment?
My current focus is specifically on the themes of metabolism and mitochondrial-associated disease in interneurons (GABA receptors), and excitatory neurons (Glutamatergic neurons) that are in Epilepsy. We have derived cells containing the mutation using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology. We are further differentiating these cells into both Glutamatergic neurons and GABAergic neurons. Additionally, we aim to characterize the underlying molecular mechanism of neurotransmitter release contributing to epilepsy. Finally, we will test specific FDA-approved epileptic drugs to reverse the abnormal phenotype in the epilepsy neurons.
What is it about your field of research that gets you most excited?
I will be excited if I succeed in finding the molecule that could improve the mutated phenotype in Epilepsy patients.
Which scientists working today do you most admire, and why?
I have many people who I admire a lot. One person for sure is my supervisor Kristine Freude at the University of Copenhagen, she is my role model. Another person is my sister, Dr Anupriya Chandrasekaran; she is a paediatrician working with many disorders. We love talking science. In 2012, I had the greatest opportunity to work with Nobel Laureate Sir Martin Evans. I admired his perseverance which was very special to me. From each of them, I admired the determination, the desire to contribute to the progress of humanity, and the desire to discover what is beyond the border.
What do you think are the biggest challenges currently facing life scientists and their work?
One of the biggest challenges facing neuroscientists is to be able to translate some of the most important findings, however small they might seem in the lab, into translational therapeutic applications for patients. Apart from the translation aspect, I think fundraising is certainly very demanding and challenging for young scientists today. I am happy that Hello Bio is able to provide that kind of support to the aspiring scientists.
And finally… what’s your favourite science joke?
“Why did the biologist break up with the physicist? They had no chemistry!”
Thank you so much Abinaya! We wish you all the very best with your future research.
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