Interview by Rhea Christian
Hear all about biology from our very own Microbiology Dr. Archana Christian nee Kadam.
1• How did you decide to pursue Microbiology?
" I loved science since school days, microbiology was a new subject for me in graduation. The different discoveries and inventions in microbiology made me curious and fascinated and therefore l decided to pursue Ph. D to unravel the mysteries of science."
2• What was your research about?
"My research was primarily focused on finding Peptides (protein fragments) that could bind Factor- B (protein in our body). Under normal conditions this particular protein forms an integral part of body's defense mechanism against infections but the same protein can harm our own body cells under certain conditions."
3• What was your mindset when you faced failures?
"As good as it sounds to say that l am doing research but in reality it needs a lot of hardwork and above all perseverance. Most of the time scientific experiments do not turn as you expect. There are many failures and sometimes you feel defeated or lost but even in failures there are hidden steps to success and many unexpected outcomes and discoveries."
4• How did you get your breakthrough?
" While doing my research on the protein Factor-B, l found five different peptides that bound the protein. The rationale was, when the peptides bind the protein it should inhibit its function, but to our surprise and my dismay none of these could actually stop the functioning of this protein even though they were good binders. I was discouraged by the results but l never gave up. After studying it carefully these peptides revealed that they had uncanny resemblance in their sequence, we called them as small motif. Further experiments with this motif containing peptide showed that it can efficiently block the activity of Factor-B. This was a novel peptide and was first of its kind to block this protein. I published my research in an international scientific journal (Journal of Immunology), a peer reviewed Journal. My article was listed in the Top 3 research papers at that time and l further patented this peptide. Although the research was challenging and they were many failures, in the end perseverance and hardwork led to my success."