February 1, 2011
Health Sciences Campus, Kochi
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham received its second visit this month from an MIT scholar interested in collaborating with Amrita on research projects.
Dr. Shiladitya Sengupta, Assistant Professor of Health Sciences and Technology at MIT, toured our Amritapuri and Kochi campuses on January 18-19.
Dr. Sengupta is associated not only with MIT but Harvard as well. He leads a project at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Sengupta obtained his MBBS degree at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in the 90s. He later went to the University of Cambridge as a Nehru Scholar to obtain a PhD.
Having studied and worked on several continents, Dr. Sengupta now wants to return to India. Possibly, he will set up a translational research institute with funding from the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.
Why translational research?
“My current research work focuses on understanding basic relationships at the cellular level that define a pathological state, and in using this knowledge to develop novel strategies or medicines for treating disease,” he stated.
In a lecture titled Towards a Cure for Cancer: A Translational Story, Dr. Sengupta provided an overview of some of the questions his research seeks to answer.
How does the cellular microenvironment modulate cellular functions or vice versa?
Can complex sugars that constitute the microenvironment play a cohesive role in intracellular regulation at the protein signaling or genetic levels?
“Using novel tools, we dissect complex sugars and connect what we learn with changes observed in genetic and protein-signaling,” he explained.
“We are using this understanding to engineer novel therapeutic approaches for new drug discovery, for hybrid nanotechnology applications for novel therapeutic strategies, and for regenerative medicine using directed stem cell differentiation.”
A recipient of numerous awards and achievements including Era of Hope Scholar Award from the US Department of Defense, Top 35 Innovators of the World Award from Technology Review Magazine and Coulter Foundation Career Award from the American Heart Association, Dr. Shiladitya now wants to give back to his country of origin.
“Dr Sengupta wishes to collaborate with our Center for Nano sciences in the area of nano medicines for cancer applications and with our School of Medicine in the area of cancer genetics,” shared Dr. Shanti Nair, Dean-Research of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.
“In his current work, he is exploring mechanisms that drive tumor progression, in particular the less explored role of the tumor stroma. Additionally, he is developing novel nano medicines inspired by the increasing understanding of tumor progression, and also incorporating the structure activity relationship of the active molecules and engineering design.”