My primary focus of research is to understand the molecular dynamics and cellular plasticity during the microevolution of transforming cells leading to therapy resistance and inadequate
management of cancer. During my Ph.D. at the Institute of nuclear medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS, DRDO) with Dr. Sudhir Chandna, I elucidated the low-dose radiation
sensitivity and cellular adhesion dynamics during progressive stages of neoplastic transformation. While studying the plastic nature of the transforming tumour cells, I was
quite fascinated by the sub-clonal hierarchical organization of the tumour acquired during cancer stem cell differentiation. As a postdoctoral fellow, I joined Prof. Daman Saluja’s lab at
University of Delhi, where we identified a natural product to target multiple pathways that regulate the self-renewal, growth, survival, differentiation in Acute Myeloid leukemic stem
cells (LSCs), as well as concurrent EMT in solid tumour stem cells for a possible complete remission.
Despite recent advancements, the incidence of Acute Myeloid leukemia (AML) has been steadily increasing where India stands at the top three countries exhibiting maximum AML
burden around the globe. A huge unmet need exists to develop a diagnostic/prognostic workup for more accurate and personalized risk stratification and treatment planning. At
DSPH, our research focuses on the specific biological properties of Leukemic Stem Cells (LSCs), to develop additional management strategies for a refined risk stratification system to
allow health policymakers, physicians, patients, and society as a whole, to raise awareness as well as improved clinical outcomes in AML.
Anxiety and depression disorders are immensely debilitating and ubiquitous psychiatric conditions with substantial resistance to current forms of treatment strategies. They are commonly characterized by frequent relapses and high percentages of suicidal ideations and suicide attempts. An urgent need therefore exists to explore the intrinsic mechanisms of these disorders and develop more effective treatment strategies. Recent experimental findings indicating that the gut microbiota composition can have deep-rooted consequences towards alleviating or relieving mental disorders have raised hopes towards a microbiota based therapeutic strategy. However, our inability to successfully modulate/control the microbial community towards a desired state have tremendously hindered progress in realising these microbiota based therapeutic strategies. In particular, a lack of holistic understanding of the gut-microbiota dynamics and inconsistency in microbiome data has been a major hindrance in this goal.
Using my theoretical training I plan to develop mathematical and computational models to understand: (i) the basic governing features driving gut microbial dynamics, and (ii) the influence of gut microbiome in the genesis of certain complex disorders, e.g., anxiety disorders. Such models can provide quantitative and holistic understanding of these highly complex non-linear systems and help devise therapeutic strategies to modulate disrupted gut microbiota towards desired compositions.
I am also involved in constructing mathematical models to enhance our understanding of other complex diseases like Type 2 diabetes where classical treatment approaches focusing solely on a few components have been found inadequate to achieve long-term and permanent cure of these complex disorders. My approach will be to consider such disorders as complex adaptive systems requiring non-traditional investigational approaches.
Further, I would also like to work towards understanding human-environment interactions with focus on its impacts on the fast depleting natural ecological ecosystems. I believe mathematical models integrating cognitive psychology (e.g., controlled and automatic decision making) and game-theoretic evolutionary dynamics can be beneficial in understanding and devising strategies to solve modern challenges.
About me: I am Parth Pratim Pandey, MKPDF scholar at DSPH, IOE at the University of Delhi under the mentorship of Prof. Sanjay Jain (Prof. at the Dept. of Physics and Astrophysics, University of Delhi). I am a theoretical systems biologist currently engaged in basic science questions that deeply impinges on public health issues. I obtained my PhD from the Dept. of Physics and Astrophysics, University of Delhi under Prof. Sanjay Jain. My PhD thesis is titled “Mathematical Models of Cells: Bacterial Growth Laws, Size Control and Balanced Growth”. After PhD I did my Post-Doctoral research under Prof. Sergei Maslov at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, where I worked on mathematical modelling of bacterial ecosystems.
Pain is a multi-faceted pathophysiological condition with a wide variety of causes. It is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with, or resensing that associated with, actual or potential tissue damage. Chronic pain, as associated with Rheumatoid arthritis, endometriosis, requires not only special treatment and care, but clear understanding of it’s biology.
At DSPH, I am involved in designing novel therapies to combat such chronic pain states. The opioids are gold standard for chronic pain management but their use poses a challenge for clinicians due to development of tolerance to pharmacological action and it’s abuse potential. Cannabinoids sourced from Cannabis sativa, are implicated to act via endocannabinoid system and appear as lucrative non-opioid analgesics for management of chronic pain. They act centrally via CB1 and CB2 receptors to mitigate complex neural pain pathways. There is scanty information on the regulatory mechanisms and implications of these GPCRs. Using my domain knowledge of structural biology and MD simulations, I want to target the niche area of protein-protein interactions that may regulate the membrane bound receptors of the central nervous system. Such studies can provide leads that can be translated to develop therapies for pain alleviation with diminished abuse liability.
Urban waste disposal and management has emerged as a crucial major environmental issue of today’s time, and has gained significant importance in the area of public health. Being important stakeholders in the waste management process, Rag-Pickers are forgotten invisible true environmentalists- the unsung heroes of solid waste management. During my doctoral research, I have done extensive field work and found that due to involvement in the hazardous occupation, directly exposed to waste materials, there is a high prevalence of various diseases among rag pickers. They are highly stigmatised & vulnerable and playing very immense role in the informal waste management sector at the cost of their health. In order to have an inclusive society and sustainable India, there is dire need to investigate their critical health issues at micro level.
Myself is Dr. Usha Rani have done post-graduation in the discipline of geography from Choudhary Charan Singh (CCS) University, Meerut (Uttar Pradesh), and was awarded Ph.D. on Solid Waste Management from the Department of Geography, Delhi School of Economics, (Faculty of Social Sciences), University of Delhi in 2021. Currently, I am pursuing advanced research as a post-Doc Fellow focusing on Occupational Health Hazards of Rag pickers from the premier institution, Delhi School of Public Health (DSPH), Institute of Eminence (IoE), University of Delhi. I plan to diagnose their health issues and prepare feasible strategies to build resilience, reduce risk & vulnerabilities for the sustainable livelihood and health security for achieving sustainable development goals. I have published a few articles and research papers in various peer-reviewed & UGC-CARE listed journals and books. I have given many paper presentations in different conferences and seminars/webinars. I am a life member of various professional bodies such as National Association of Geographers, India (NAGI), Association of Geographical Studies (AGS) and National Geographical Society of India (NGSI).
Neurological disorders have become public health challenges in recent decades. Several recent studies support the role and importance of intestinal health and its microbiota in neurodegenerative disorders. The gut-brain axis, a bidirectional communication system, allows the gut microbiota to communicate with the brain and vice-versa. However, factors associated and their mechanistic aspects to influence the neurodegenerative disorders are still unclear.
The massive development of digital data and computational methods allow us to build adequate models of biological systems and related diseases using systems biology approaches to get insights into the role of gut microbiota in neurodegeneration. In this context, we use an interdisciplinary approach to explore the gut-brain interactions and functions from molecular to systems level by treating the brain as a complex system rather than a separate entity. We extensively explore the role, pathways and effect of neurotoxic substances such as short-chain fatty-acids and lipopolysaccharides (that produced by the gut microbiota) in the blood brain barrier and in the brain and find the new therapeutic approach to reduce the effect of these neurotoxic substances in the brain and the barrier. We also focus on the immune reaction of the translocated bacteria/acids in the brain which lead to neurodegeneration. Based on research data, we use multivariate mathematical models with a stochastic and statistical approach to estimate the pathways and prevalence of the neurodegenerative disorders on the onset of age. This study may lead to the discovery of novel biomarkers in the neurodegeneration that may provide an earlier diagnosis before the development of neurological symptoms.
About me: I received my bachelor’s degree in Chemistry (Hons.) in 2011 from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi; and Master’s degree specialized in Physical Chemistry in 2014 from Hindu College, University of Delhi, Delhi. I have completed my doctoral degree in 2021 in the area of Theoretical and Computational Biophysical Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Parbati Biswas from Theory and Simulation Lab, Department of Chemistry, University of Delhi, Delhi. My thesis title is “Stochastic Dynamics of Protein Misfolding and Aggregation”. I have worked on the theoretical and computational study of the kinetics and dynamics of the protein folding, misfolding and aggregation in terms of the neurodegenerative disorders. My research work also includes the mathematical analysis of barrier crossing problems for the two state transition of protein and nucleic acids.