Published on: 20-Aug-2015
Dr. Vasuki Ranjani Chellamuthu has recently been awarded an EMBO Long-Term Fellowship for her research work in Professor Daniela Rhodes's Laboratory.
This highly competitive and prestigious fellowship provides generous funding for the most talented postdoctoral researchers worldwide. This is the first for NTU and SBS under the joint Singapore-EMBO agreement.
Dr. Vasuki shares more on her research:
"My doctoral studies at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology and University of Tübingen, Germany resulted in the discovery of a nitrogen sensor ubiquitous in the plant kingdom. We had revealed the novel structures of signal transduction proteins involved in nitrogen regulation by employing X-ray crystallography. These studies aided to shed light on how plants adapted new mechanisms to sense nitrogen. As I was graduating, I found myself inclined towards learning Cryo-Electron Microscopy, which is currently revolutionizing the structural biology field.
While I was exploring opportunities to pursue my research interests, I was fortunate to learn about Prof. Daniela Rhodes, who is an expert in telomere structural biology and chromosome biology. Her group is highly multidisciplinary and has pioneered the determination of 3D structure of telomerase and telomeric proteins using Electron Microscopy and X-ray crystallography respectively. Telomerase is active during early embryonic development, maintaining telomere length and thus facilitating cell division and promoting cell growth. A major intriguing question is how telomerase is recruited to telomeres in humans. My research proposal for the EMBO Long-Term Fellowship aims to address this question at a molecular level.
The focus of my research will be towards understanding the mechanism involved in telomerase recruitment through integration of both Electron Microscopy and crystallography. In addition, I plan to screen for drug targets that are capable of disrupting the telomerase recruitment mechanism. The key advantage of targeting telomerase recruitment in comparison to most other cancer targets is its high occurrence and specificity in cancer cells.
With an offer of the EMBO Long-Term Fellowship, I feel motivated and privileged to have my dream become a reality. A core aspect of research is to explore for new evidences and I hope to contribute significantly to the existing knowledge."
Dr. Vasuki Ranjani Chellamuthu
Research Fellow, Professor Daniela Rhodes's Laboratory
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