I completed my Bachelor’s in Zoology at Delhi University and earned a Masters in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Guru Nanak Dev University in India. While I received extensive training in basic and molecular biological sciences, my passion always leaned towards the practical applications of science within the human population. This led me to delve into the field of pharmacogenetic epidemiology, where I explored how single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) influence our response to commonly administered drugs.
I further pursued my Ph.D. in the pharmacogenetics of epilepsy at the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), New Delhi. During this enriching period, I also collaborated on projects related to schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease with fellow colleagues. Our approach involved the candidate gene methodology, starting with a solid foundation in understanding biochemical pathways and gene products involved in drug metabolism, transport, and action. Subsequently, we prioritized SNPs with potential functional relevance for genotyping in diseased individuals and healthy controls.
Navigating the field of population genetics proved to be more challenging than initially anticipated, as it necessitated a strong grasp of epidemiological principles and biostatistics. Nonetheless, despite working with the candidate gene approach, which was somewhat lagging behind the state-of-the-art GWAS, I successfully published extensively.
My academic journey then took me to Germany for postdoctoral studies, where I shifted my focus to GWAS with access to a wealth of samples. I had the privilege of working on a wide range of phenotypes, from common diseases like heart failure to rare conditions like Parkinson’s disease and lymphatic filariasis. I also developed expertise in Polygenic risk score analysis and Mendelian randomization, an approach to assess the causal role of potential risk factors on diseases of interest using GWAS datasets.
Throughout my postdoctoral experiences, I worked at different institutions, including Charité University, University of Lübeck, University of Tübingen, and University of Marburg, where I worked closely with biostatisticians, epidemiologists, clinicians, and human geneticists. This diverse exposure equipped me with a broad spectrum of skills, ranging from basic epidemiology to biostatistics to bioinformatics.
Currently, I serve as a bioinformatician at a prominent human genetics clinic in Germany, where I engage in extensive collaborations and have access to GWAS data from diverse populations worldwide.
Recently, I had the privilege of meeting John O’Connor, the CEO of GeneFood, a company dedicated to helping individuals understand their genetic background and make informed dietary choices for a healthier life.
This opportunity allows me to leverage the skills acquired during my Ph.D., focusing on the prioritization of genetic variants from genes encoding products of biological pathways and understanding how they indirectly influence the metabolism of biomolecules.