Scientific Zeal

About first author: Dr. Swati Priya is an ICMR Postdoctoral Researcher from National Institute of Immunology. She graduated from Miranda House (Delhi University) in Zoology(H) and post-graduated in Biomedical Science from Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Centre for Biomedical Research (Delhi University). She started her research career in 2012 when she joined for her Ph.D research work at National Institute of Immunology. She has worked extensively in the field of miRNA and Colon Cancer. She worked on the collaborative projects, where she deciphered the role of Histone activation marks in the presence and absence of Bloom Helicase and its global role in gene expression. She has also worked on project involving the role of BLM in c-Jun degradation with the help of FBW7 alpha. Her extensive work also helped in contribution towards recruitment studies of BLM on DNA double stranded break sites. Her current research work involves deciphering the DNA damage sensitive miRs upregulation in rectal cancer and their regulation and downstream target genes. Her work further elaborates and gives insight into BLM involvement in the expression of miRs via resolving G4 quadraplex present on miRS TSS in B cell lymhoma.

How would you explain your research outcomes to the non-scientific community?

We have found a signature of six miRNAs that can be used as prognostic biomarker for colon cancer. These miRs are up regulated in the cancerous tissues of colon cancer patients. We have deciphered how these signature miRs are regulated by a common transcription factor CDX2 which in turn is highly expressed in colon cancer tissue. These miRs target a number of genes involved in DNA damage repair pathway leading to genome instability and progression toward cancer.


finding will enable us to detect colon adenocarcinoma in early stages of the disease

How do these findings contribute to your research area?

The miR signature have been found to be up-regulated in 1st stage of colon cancer. This finding will enable us to detect colon adenocarcinoma in early stages of the disease.

What was the exciting moment during your research?

The exciting moment waswhen the signature miRs were found to be highly expressed in the tissue samples of Indian colon cancer patients. This validated our result from TCGA database. Further, high tumorigenic and invasive potential of CDX2 in SCID and Nude mice models were initially very interesting as in literature, role of CDX2 as tumor suppressor has been emphasized. There are more papers that talk about the tumor suppressive role of CDX2 and less papers which highlight the oncogenic potential of CDX2. Our study has shown the tumorigenic and invasive potential of CDX2.

What do you hope to do next?

I would prefer to stay in academia. I would love to teach and carry out research in an independent lab in future.

Where do you seek scientific inspiration from?

Dr. Sagar Sengupta of course. I have learnt a lot from him. He is a very meticulous person who tries to give best training to his students.

How do you intend to help Indian science improve?

I would like to improve science through my research work. I am continuing my research with miRNA and cancers like rectal carcinoma and B-cell lymphoma. The mechanistic details would enable us not only in detection of cancer but will help in therapeutic aspect also.


Priya S, Kaur E, Kulshrestha S, Pandit A, Gross I, Kumar N, Agarwal H, Khan A, Shyam R, Bhagat P, Prabhu JS, Nagarajan P, Deo SVS, Bajaj A, Freund JN, Mukhopadhyay A, Sengupta S. CDX2 inducible microRNAs sustain colon cancer by targeting multiple DNA damage response pathway factors. J Cell Sci. 2021 Aug 1;134(15):jcs258601. doi: 10.1242/jcs.258601.

Edited by: Dolly Singh

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