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IIT Roorkee Professor Awarded Senior Fellowship, to Work on Physiological Aspect of Pathogens

Prof Ranjana Pathania of the Department of Biological Sciences and Bioengineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee has been awarded the Senior Fellowship of the DBT-Welcome Trust India Alliance (2020-2021). This prestigious fellowship will sponsor Prof Pathania’s cutting-edge research in understanding pathogenesis of an antibiotic resistant pathogen.

The key aim of Prof Pathania’s research is to understand molecular mechanisms through which bacterial pathogens develop antibiotic resistance. The understanding of mechanisms of resistance will help in creating powerful strategies to discover novel antibacterial compounds.

Through her research, she will try to unriddle the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance and pathogenesis in the recalcitrant bacterial pathogen – Acinetobacter baumannii. Once decoded, this information will lead to the discovery of better antibiotics in the long run, says IIT Roorkee in an official press release.

Speaking about her research project, Prof Pathania said, “A. baumannii is one of the leading causes of hospital-acquired infections, including pneumonia, meningitis, bacteraemia, urinary tract and wound infections across the globe. Due to its resistance level to the last-resort antibiotics, World Health Organisation (WHO) has categorised A. baumannii as a highly critical pathogen. Hence, it is imperative to develop novel antibiotics against such pathogens.”

“To develop novel therapeutics, it is important to understand the physiological processes involved in its success as a pathogen and overcome host response. This funding will help us in understanding these pathways and targeting them for drug discovery in future,” she added.

Prof. Pathania’s research so far has elucidated ribo-regulation and other molecular mechanisms involved in the success of A. baumannii as a multi-drug resistant pathogen. This fellowship will enable her to decipher the role of small RNAs in A. baumannii physiology and pathobiology. On the whole, she will work on three such processes central to nutrient uptake and utilization in this pathogen.

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