2. Research experience and interest
My scientific career began with joining my bachelors degree, MBBS. Gaining fundamental knowledge in pre- clinical subjects and applying this knowledge in understanding clinical subjects provided me basic learning of all subjects with developing special interest in Paediatrics. I joined my MD (Paediatrics) where I had my first exposure to research through my thesis project. The thesis project sowed the seeds of how research can impact clinical practice directly. Developing keen interest in paediatric haemato-oncology, I joined the paediatric haematology oncology fellowship at Tata Medical Center. During my stay here, I was regularly exposed to clinical and laboratory research focused on finding better solutions for our patients. I also spent time in the laboratory, helping with the development of pharmacokinetic assays for the drug L-Asparaginase. My work with the laboratory fueled my desire to seek further research training in India.
I am a clinician working alongside with laboratory scientists at the Tata Translational Cancer Research Center (TTCRC). I bring an understanding of the disease, the consequences of treatment and the ability to track and monitor study patients in the clinic. I work in close collaboration with the scientists investigating the genomic alterations in the study patients and with those investigating the tumour microenvironment. In 2019, I was awarded Early career fellowship for Clinicians by Wellcome Trust-DBT India Alliance and the projects aims to develop integrated strategies to address minimal residual disease (MRD) in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in children. I aim to use following strategies to improve MRD remission rates in paediatric patients with ALL: (a) optimise dose and schedule of L-Asparaginase in Indian patients, (b) use high-throughput imaging-based ex vivo drug screening in real time and, (c) use integrated genetic studies to identify drug survival mechanisms using an ex vivo model of MRD