Meet our Early Career Scientist Grant Winner Priyanka Pant
It’s time to introduce the latest winner of our Early Career Scientist Grant! Priyanka Pant is a final year PhD Student working in Regalla Kumarswamy’s lab at the CSIR - Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in India and she will receive $500 from Hello Bio to help support her life science career.
Each month we award one lucky PhD student or postdoctoral fellow with a grant to help them with costs such as publishing fees, travel expenses, equipment purchases and more. Priyanka plans to use her grant to help fund attendance at the ESC Congress 2023 in Amsterdam in August.
We asked Priyanka how she felt about receiving the grant. She told us:
I was elated and overjoyed to hear that I am the recipient of a grant from Hello Bio. This will help me in sharing my work with other scientists who have similar interests during the ESC Congress 2023. I am really excited for this opportunity and really grateful for this initiative by Hello Bio. Priyanka Pant, CSIR - Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, India, Hello Bio Early Career Scientist Grant winner
Congratulations Priyanka! First, can you tell us a bit more about what you're working on at the moment?
My PhD dissertation is about understanding the role of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) during the development of cardiac hypertrophy. Cardiac hypertrophy is the thickening of the heart muscles which results in an increase in heart size, eventually causing heart failure. Using several animal models and in-vitro experiments we have found an lncRNA that is correlated with the physiological state of the heart. Upon depletion of this lncRNA there was a reduction in the size of cardiomyocytes. Presently we are exploring the possibility of this lncRNA as a potential RNA based therapy target for cardiac hypertrophy.
What is it about your field of research that gets you most excited?
The translation potential my research carries is immense. The recent pandemic has made people sensitized to the role of RNA as a medium and the target for developing novel therapies. Several RNA based drugs are already FDA approved. My work directly deals with RNA involved in development of heart failure and I believe that finding novel tissue specific RNA candidates could help in developing novel targeted therapies.
Which scientists working today do you most admire, and why?
I draw immense inspiration from the exceptional individuals I work with daily – my peers, colleagues, and mentors. Being surrounded by such a remarkable group is a constant source of motivation. Their unwavering resilience, passion for their work, and their readiness to extend a helping hand whenever needed continuously inspires me to strive for excellence in both my scientific pursuits and personal growth.
What do you think are the biggest challenges currently facing life scientists and their work?
Currently, research is moving at an unprecedented pace. Researchers are expected to produce a complete story with substantial data to support it. Often this would not be a challenge for a well-funded lab, however, labs in developing countries are severely underfunded without access to proper resources, generating disparity. I think it is important to address this disparity and the first step to do so would be to judge all the research endeavours based on the strength of its underlying ideas, methodology, and potential impact, rather than the prestige of the publishing journal. The rat race of publish and perish is generating copious amounts of irreproducible data often misleading the further research based on unreliable data.
And finally… what’s your favourite science quote?
“Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world.” – Louis Pasteur
Thank you so much Priyanka! We wish you the very best for your future career and we hope you enjoy the congress in Amsterdam!
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