Sunetra Sase, PhD
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
I am a postdoctoral research fellow in the neuroscience field, who is fully committed to a career as an independent scientist. My natural inquisitiveness led me to research science from the beginning of my undergraduate career. I come from small town in India (Kolhapur) where research resources are limited and in spite of that, I sought every opportunity to be actively involved in laboratory research where I conducted small project of “Evaluation of antimicrobial properties of Aegles marmelos Fruit” in Pune University in collaboration with my Undergraduate Microbiology Department. Subsequently during my Master thesis at the Shivaji University, I worked on “Isolation and purification of Asparginase and Glutaminase enzyme from soil bacteria”. After completing my Master thesis, I first worked as a teaching instructor for undergraduate Colleges. However, to continue to advance my research career, I chose to apply for Medical University of Vienna PhD program and chose Dr. Gert Lubec proteomics laboratory which was 7th best proteomics laboratory in the world. I graduated with PhD in neuroscience from the Medical University of Vienna, Austria in April 2015. During my PhD studies, I gained expertise in mouse behavior, immunohistochemistry, biochemical and microscopic imaging techniques. I was responsible for establishing protocols for confocal microscopy and imaging of dendrite morphology and their prevalence involved in learning and memory paradigms in the laboratory (Plos one 2015, J. Neurochem 2015). I gained first four- authored publications, three with equal contributions, and in total eleven publications arising from these studies are enlisted. After a one year break to care for my newborn son, my work then turns to the translational application of skills I had learned during my graduate studies. My previous background on learning and memory during my thesis and the interconnections of different brain areas and their functional importance had always fascinated me. Further, I learned how these connections are associated with behavioral output and many neurodegenerative disorders (e.g PTSD, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, Leukodystrophy). I became specifically interested in pediatric leukodystrophies, as these debilitating diseases involve defects in oligodendrocytes, neurons, and astrocytes. Therefore, to pursue my academic goals, I got an opportunity to work under Dr. Vanderver on one of the hypomyelinating leukodystrophies, Hypomyelination and Atrophy of Basal ganglia and Cerebellum (H-ABC). In the last two years, I thoroughly characterized the H-ABC mouse model and dissected molecular mechanisms underlying H-ABC (https://elifesciences.org/articles/52986) My current work under Dr. Vanderver includes developing treatment strategies for leukodystrophies. My current position will hone skills in mouse behavior analysis and translational research and eventually develop my professional aspiration to be independent investigator for developing treatments for different neurodegenerative diseases.
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