Ranjini Ghosh Dastidar joins ERA Chair WELCOME2 Nutrigenomics group

Ranjini Ghosh Dastidar, a graduate of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India joins prof. Carsten Carlberg’s WELCOME2 team to explore the effect of vitamin D and other nutritional compounds on the human epigenome.

What is the focus of your research? 

I wish to investigate the effects of vitamin D and other lifestyle changes on the epigenome as well as transcriptome of healthy and (pre)diseased individuals. My chief areas of interest are autoimmunity and metabolic syndrome.

What organizations/institutions have your studied or worked in? 

I graduated with B.Sc. with honours in zoology from the University of Delhi, India, majorly interested in genetics, evolutionary biology and immunology. Following this, I completed my masters in computational biology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, focusing on the identification of candidate DNA polymorphisms in the rice long non-coding RNAs involved in drought response. It was here that I gained interest for epigenetics. I collaborated with other professors at the University to work on the more computational aspects of biology. One project aimed at simulating pressure-induced unfolding of proteins by insertions of water molecules in the voids. Another project was to determine the 3D structure of three instrinsically disordered proteins. 

What do you consider the greatest achievement in your career so far? 

I achieved a high national rank in the Graduate Aptitude Test for Biotechnology in India, securing the prestigious fellowship for meritorious students.

What was your motivation to join WELCOME2 team? 

For my dissertation, I read much about epigenetics and grew more interested in understanding how big a role it might play in the expression of human diseases. The rise in autoimmune disorders after the pandemic and vitamin D deficiency in the populace led me to nutrigenomics. Prof. Carsten Carlberg is renowned for his works in the subject. I was greatly interested in his ongoing research on the effect of vitamin D on the genome of individuals and their implications for metabolic syndrome.

What are your research goals to pursue in the near future? 

I wish to learn as much as possible under the superb tutelage of Prof. Carlberg and then to apply the knowledge for personalised medicine for the general population.

What are your outside of work interests? 

Apart from the curricular, I enjoy many hobbies, specifically painting and baking. I enjoy baking sweet as well as savoury pies. When under duress, I resort to painting peaceful landscapes and sceneries. However, nothing can be a greater comfort to me than sipping on a cup of hot chocolate while reading a good crime thriller.

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