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STATEMENT OF
PURPOSE

 

You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him
discover it within himself. – These words by the celebrated scientist
Galileo Galilei perfectly mirror my awakening towards the scientific
realm.  Back in class 9, an unfortunate
but major incident occurred in my life. My grandmother lost her vision due to diabetes
retinopathy. Being extremely attached to her emotionally, seeing her in pain
impacted me profoundly. I can recall how distressed I was initially. The
initial distress gradually gave way to an intense motivation to find a way out
to help her. This was when my close association with this domain commenced.
Ever since, it has grown from strength to strength. At that time, I came across
a possible treatment called ‘Artificial Retina Transplant’, which has not come
into practice till date. Once the deep-rooted desire to aid my ailing
grandmother pushed me towards biology, I observed the limitless knowledge
withheld in this field and wanted to delve into its depths. Much like Galileo
put it, this incident made me discover my true calling in life.

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With
the very beginning of my journey holding emotional roots and encouraging me at
every step, I opted for Biotechnology in my higher classes in order to combine
two foremost scientific realms – biology and engineering. Studying the subject
and becoming aware of the fast-paced changes it was witnessing fuelled my
curiosity further. The presence of supportive teachers and my own determination
to explore biotechnology ensured that I continued walking on this path with
increasing dedication.

During
Masters, I was able to sharpen my vision and garner detailed understanding of
various subjects. Amidst a pantheon of options available, Biochemistry,
Molecular biology, Cell biology, Immunology, and Neurobiochemistry attracted my
attention the most. Biochemistry, Molecular biology and Cellular biology
captivated me because of their relation to the human anatomy at the cellular
level. The fact that I had access to lab courses for each of these subjects
also played an important role in my comprehension. It enhanced my interest in
doctoral studies. The perfect amalgamation of theory subjects and lab course
converted my initial zeal into deep fascination for research work in biological
sciences.

On
the practical front, I attempted to implement key theoretical concepts and test
my mettle in their application. I worked on a project titled – Anticancer
and apoptotic potential of synthetic chalcone compounds, derivatives on Liver
cancer cell lines. I learnt
about maintenance and culturing of different cancer cell lines and a few
cytotoxicity assays like MTT assay and Neutral Red assay. For further
confirmation of the results, I carried out DNA fragmentation test and DAPI
staining. Apart from this, I acquired skills in a few more techniques like
Immunohistochemistry diagnosis, Western blotting, Column chromatography and
different PCR variants. My knowledge about the lethal disease of cancer
augmented manifold post this undertaking. This venture introduced me to
the well-disciplined life that a researcher ought to have. After this
experience, I felt assured that I want to be involved in a cancer research
program.

Beyond
academics, I was always involved in various extra-curricular activities to
develop an all-round personality. I was careful to not let go of any
opportunity where I could expand my knowledge. I was a part of the 2016
Extension Lecture Series – “Recent Trends in Biosciences” held in my university
and attended a UGC sponsored National seminar on recent advances in
environmental toxicology (2017). I participated in different contests where, in
addition to interacting with fellow students and keeping myself updated with
the latest developments, I also won on several occasions thereby boosting my
self-belief. I was awarded the second position for presenting a review poster
on “Effect of Marijuana on Alzheimer’s disease pathology” in a one day
symposium at the Department of Biosciences, Jamia Milia Islamia. These
activities also helped in grooming my communication and organizational skills.

The
time is ripe for me to let those seeds of passion flourish which were sown
during childhood. With the passage of time, I have seen numerous medical
advances influence human existence and achieve unbelievable feats. However, we
are yet to come up with a long-term solution to the fatal disease of cancer.
The more I study about this disease, the more it continues to amaze me. With PhD,
I wish to develop anticancer drugs involving molecular-targeted therapy which
can prove to be a new promising treatment for cancer in the coming future. I
intend to concentrate on molecular biology, specifically in the field of cancer
biology.

We
need to revolutionize cancer treatment at the earliest possible. Biologically active macromolecules can be used instead
of conventional ‘small molecule’ treatments to destroy tumor cells. These can
be engineered to be far more specific and active than current small-molecule
therapies. But the challenge against this therapy is how to deliver these
macromolecules efficiently inside all cells. Through my PhD I want to work in
this area, and unravel the mysteries of this ever-evolving disease. I
want to translate my learning into something meaningful, which can make a
difference to the society.

I have
found several faculty members who share my interests at the University of
Houston. In Prof. Zhang “John” Weihua’s lab,
I am interested in the work going on related to cancer metastasis. It perfectly
mirrors my interests. I see a possible match with Prof Tasneem Bawa-Khalfe’s
work involving the study of cancer progression as result of alteration in
post-translational modification system. 
I will be honored to be guided by such recognized faculty members in the
pursuit of my goals.

 

At
University of Houston, I hope that the inspirational framework can accompany my
relentless spirit to take me ahead in the right direction.

 

 

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