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Untangling Protein- Protein Interactions In Lund, Sweden
A bit of Me:
I am Sounak Chowdhury, Indian by origin a PhD Student at Lund University, Sweden. I come from a small town Chinsurah along the sides of the river Ganges, about 50Kms away from “The City of Joy- Kolkata”. I like to explore new places, culture and indulge myself in trying new food. As a kid, I always enjoyed painting as a leisure activity but I rarely find time to paint nowadays. Cricket is the sports that I am interested in.
I hold a dual Bachelor and Master of Technology degree (B. tech & M. tech) in Biotechnology from KIIT School Of Biotechnology (KIIT University) Bhubaneshwar (“The Temple City” of India). As a part of the course, I worked on breast cancer and stem cells for my summer project and Master’s dissertation.
Introduction to Diseases:
About 15 years back while enjoying a summer chat with my grandfather, he introduced me to what diseases and infections are and how they affect humans. Since then I was curious about it and took Biology as a major subject in my high school. As I continued studying biology the human immune system always fascinated me. To gain a better understanding of how the human immune system works, I did my masters dissertation on how the Treg cells (a kind of human cells) behave in breast cancer. I guess this quite explains my urge to understand the tussle between human immune system and different diseases or infections. That is what brought me here in the ViBrANT ITN Programme to understand how the Group A Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria infect humans.
My New Home, Lund:
A few thousand miles away from my hometown, I found a new place for myself, Lund. Lund is a small town in the south of Sweden just on the other side of Copenhagen separated by the Öresund strait. Here, I work in Johan Malmström’s group on bacterial infections at the Lund University.
Just imagine two people shaking their hands; yes, exactly I am unravelling such handshakes between the human as a host and bacteria as a pathogen. Group A Streptococcus pyogenes is a bacterium that infects only humans and are responsible for a considerable rate of morbidity and mortality. These bacteria have specific proteins on their surfaces imagine them as one hand which they use to interact or rather shake with human proteins the other hand that would in turn help the bacteria invade and infect the human. As an Early Stage Researcher(ESR), my aim is to identify these bacterial proteins that interact with human proteins and design a map of such interactions.
My Secondment In Oslo:
Within the ViBrANT ITN programme, I travelled to Oslo for a couple of months. It’s been few weeks I am here and I will continue a part of my project here. It is a great experience to work at a different place with new people and knowing the group. Apart from the work, I am enjoying the snow here in Oslo.