Prompted by my curiosity in drug discovery and development, in 2013 I enrolled in a PhD program in Bioorganic Chemistry at the University of Melbourne, undertaking the challenging synthesis of peptide hormones and conducting detailed structure-function studies on insulin-like peptides.
I completed a Master of Pharmacy in mid-2008 at NMIMS University, Mumbai, India. My Master’s research was a collaborative industry-academic project involving molecular modelling and synthesis of modified carbohydrates for anticancer and anti-inflammatory activities. After completing my degree, I worked as a medicinal chemist at Piramal Life Sciences, India, developing anticancer drugs resulting in a drug candidate for non-small cell lung cancer.
Prompted by my curiosity in drug discovery and development, in 2013 I enrolled in a PhD program in Bioorganic Chemistry at the University of Melbourne, undertaking the challenging synthesis of peptide hormones and conducting detailed structure-function studies on insulin-like peptides. I finished my PhD in 2016 and the following year I joined Monash University as a Bridging Postdoctoral Fellow working with a team focusing on antimicrobial drug development and systems pharmacology. Here I applied my knowledge of peptide synthesis gained at University of Melbourne.
As an early career researcher, I have been fortunate to receive several small grants enabling trips to Europe, Asia and the United States to present my work, and two Early Career Researcher grants, which have propelled my own research. More recently, I took on a new role as NHMRC Peter Doherty Fellow at Monash University, where my team addresses the challenge of drug resistance against pathogenic bacteria by investigating the efficacy and toxicity of novel peptide antibiotics. Along with conventional peptide drug development, my team is also developing a synthetic antisense antibiotic. Antisense antibiotics are small nucleic acid polymers like RNA or DNA, which interact and block the resistant genes of bacteria. Due to their selective targeting of bacterial genes, antisense antibiotics are very potent and produce fewer side effects than other drugs, making them a promising strategy for curing infections.
Along the way, I have learned a great deal about drug discovery and development. My background in bioorganic chemistry developed at the University of Melbourne has been essential in enabling me to conduct advanced research in the development of drugs based on peptide-oligonucleotides.