I consider that doctoral study is a very important breakthrough involved in the journey towards education. One of the covet approaches to be exposed is a solid platform which can prove the knowledge and skills that I have personally cultivated. Both my schooling as well as my college education has played a very critical role towards carving my path in the future. I had great faculty and facilities, which has focused on fundamentals. This has further intensified my field in research and academics.
I am now about to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology at University Institute of Engineering and Technology, Panjab University, Chandigarh. Undergraduation has primarily focused on fundamentals of both practical and theoretical features of the involved subjects as well as the relevant research motivations.
In order to lay down foundations in different fields of biotechnology, I have attempted to learn more. This can be done by getting myself involved with different symposiums and conferences regarding topics that include different problems and issues. For instance, I have personally worked on a project during one of my summer internships at CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology, Chandigarh. The work was based on curating small molecule arsenal against Nipah Virus pursued under the guidance of Dr. Anshu Bhardwaj, Senior Scientist, CSIR-IMTECH. The project was full of experiences and I have learnt data analysis of inhibitors, descriptor calculation using PaDel Descriptor, toxicity removal by DruLito and FaF-PAINS filters, diversity analysis using ChemAxon and finally, virtual screening with the help of Swiss Similarity. I have also done poster presentations on this work and won 2nd prize in one of the symposiums.
Being an avid reader, I keep myself updated with the new advancements in fields of my interests which not only broadened my horizons but exposed me to the latest global strides in the area of asthmatic disease treatments. Asthma is a chronic and heterogenous disorder of the airways that is characterized by inflammation, reversible airflow obstruction and bronchial hyperresponsiveness either spontaneously or as a result of treatment. According to the estimates published by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), in the year 2013, around 300 million patients globally were reported to be afflicted with this disease and the number is expected to grow in the coming years.
Factors, such as the rising indoor and outdoor causative agents includes pollution, allergens, and dust, among others, coupled with the changing lifestyles that influence the incidences of asthma are additionally inciting the demand for asthma therapeutics over the prognosis period. Sadly, despite the availability of effective therapies, suboptimal asthma control exists in many patients on a world-wide basis.
As underlying inflammation is central to the disease process, the upholder of asthma therapy includes inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and systemic corticosteroids to prevent and treat exacerbations and to decrease symptoms. Majority of the targets are the biological mediators like cytokines (IL-8, IL-17, IL-23) being released for neutrophil growth, differentiation and chemotaxis. Apart from these agents, a lot of research has also been focused towards development of humanized monoclonal antibodies targeting IL-receptors.
The therapeutic research has always targeted immunological pathway after onset of allergic reactions. But nobody is targeting the epithelial cells injury where all these inflammatory reactions kicks-off. The bronchial epithelium is essentially involved in furnishing of chemical, physical, and immunological barriers to the inhaled environment. These barriers care for tissue homeostasis, but when compromised, the immunological barrier becomes activated to protect the internal milieu of the lung. This leads to an acute inflammatory response that can become pathological in the face of chronic activation. Thus, a rapid repair response is pivotal for restoration of tissue homeostasis.
After epithelial injury, the process of epithelial repair can be considered to occur in a series of stages. The in prompt response involves induction of cell migration leading to formation of a temporary barrier. Epithelial cells become mobile in response to growth factors, such as transforming growth factor (TGF)-β or epidermal growth factor (EGF), by undergoing an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) defined by down-regulation of tight junctions and increased expression of matrix metalloproteases and ECM components. In auxiliary lung diseases, EMT has been accounted for pathological changes associated with tissue fibrosis.
In parallel with epithelial stimulation, the underlying attenuated fibroblast sheath responds to epithelial injury by synthesis and deposition of a provisional matrix that helps seal the mortal barrier while the epithelium is compromised. This involves increased proliferation of fibroblasts and their differentiation into myofibroblasts. The two of these processes have been observed in asthma. As soon as the barrier has been reestablished, the epithelial cells divide to replace cells that have been lost and these must undergo differentiation. This initially involves goblet cell differentiation allowing restoration of secretory function, as the secretions provide additional protection to the airways, and is followed by ciliogenesis to restore mucociliary clearance.
I believe that there are various pretentious targets available at the primary level of allergic infections which can be focused for therapeutic treatment analysis. The major focus is to cooperate injured epithelial cells so that they can achieve early restoration and maintenance back to its natural structures preventing further entry of allergens. Being a committed and hardworking student, I am extremely certain that I can cope with all rigors of PhD in Biological science and Bioengineering program. My determination for success can allow me to become a better professional in this field.