PhD Candidate, Anjali Pai
Anjali Pai, PhD Candidate
Position: Phd Student
Thesis Title: What features of mRNA 5' leaders determine their sensitivity to mTOR
Supervisor: Dr Pasha Baranov
I completed my Biotechnology Engineering degree from NMAMIT, India. This course gave me a flavour of all the different fields available and I decided to pursue my studies in cancer. I was intrigued by this disease and I got to learn more about it with my Masters degree from University College London. I wanted to continue my studies in cancer and decided to do my PhD and thereby got into the prestigious PhD Scholars programme in Cancer Biology in UCC.
My current research is focused on finding the features of mRNA 5’ leaders to determine their sensitivity to mTOR (Mammalian target of Rapamycin). Cancer is characterised by uncontrollable cell growth. Cell growth requires protein biosynthesis, therefore, expression of the genes encoding products of translationary machinery is regulated in a growth dependent manner that often involves mechanisms of translational control.
mTOR is the master regulator of protein synthesis and is its dysfunctioning is seen in various forms of cancer. Our project aims at looking at the 5'UTR of mTOR and predict the features that may be responsible for mTOR sensitivity. A region of oligopyrimides in the beginning of the 5'cap followed by a GC rich sequence called as the TOP (Terminal oligopyrimidine sequence) is found in many mTOR sensitive genes. We aim to confirm these findings, find other features that make a gene mTOR sensitive and confirm our findings on an experimental level.
My research is supported by Health Research Board, Ireland.