“If together by specific pairing between the bases on

 

“If you prefer an academic life as a retreat from reality, do not
go into biology. This field is for a man and a woman who wishes to get even
closer to life”-Hermann Muller

Biology was the first subject that actually got a 10 year old’s fascination
when she first learnt about the science behind heart attack. Heart attack had
been in my family’s medical history, and that day I decided to look for a cure.
However, small and insignificant this episode may seem but this was enough to
ignite in my mind the curiosity of the intricacies of human body. Little did I
know that one class lecture would throw me into this enthralling and mystifying
world of biological sciences.All through school with every class, I was only
persuaded to delve deep into the subject.

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This insatiable thirst for the subject propelled me to go for a
Bachelors in Science in one of the biological subjects. The choice of course
wasn’t difficult to make. Francis Crick was right when he said that it was the
molecule that has the glamour, not the scientist. The study of molecules
sustaining life had to be the key to get to the core of the subject and unravel
biology in a different way altogether.Through long, the double helical
structure held together by specific pairing between the bases on two strands
became one of the iconic images of science. However, it was only later in our
molecular biology lectures that I realized that this molecule is a lot more
sophisticated than it looks. Getting to truly understand the central
dogma of biology was not merely about learning facts but how each fact lurked
the fascinating detective story of its discovery. Complexity of mechanisms of
replication, transcription, translation presented a particularly compelling drama
and one only gets filled with plenty of remaining mysteries. Undergraduate
program was a new avenue where I got exposed to various fields of study. It was
gratifying to finally be able to get at the core of the mere facts that we were
presented with at the school. Moreover, it was exhilarating to be able to put
knowledge gained so far into practical use through various research projects.

 I’ve been involved in an
Innovation Project titled, ‘Network
Analysis in systems biology of neurological disorders’ for a year now.
The project aimed to take a holistic approach to polygenic disorders. Under this project I worked on Alzheimer’s
disease. As Alzheimer’s is a polygenic disorder, network analysis approach was
followed. Networks help identify various disease proteins, pathways and functional
modules in Alzheimer’s and thus play a crucial role in drug development.

However, it was the summer of 2017
that actually provided me an insight into a researcher’s life. I had got
through Indian Academy of Sciences, a summer research fellowship at Centre for
DNA and Diagnostics, Hyderabad, India. I was in the Diagnostics Division and
the lab was involved in diagnosis and research of various genetic disorders.The
project that I was supposed to work on was “Molecular and Insilco analysis of
patients with canavan disease (CD)”. Aim of the project was to characterize known and novel mutations in
patients with CD which is important for better diagnosis of carriers and
accurate prenatal diagnosis. In addition to this main project, I worked on
another side project that was aimed at functional analysis of a splice site
mutation in BUB1 gene.

Through these projects I learnt the
molecular techniques used in genome analysis which I was not able to be exposed
at the college level. I got a hand at techniques like genomic DNA isolation,
Primer designing for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), gel ectrophoresis, Sanger
Sequencing, sequence analysis on various sequence analysis softwares,
polymorphism  softwares, pathogenicity
prediction softwares, mutation prediction softwares, structural analysis on
PyMol, tissue culture of cos 7 cell lines, transformation, RT-PCR, etc. This
two months experience at one of the country’s leading research institute was
extremely fruitful and equipped me with practical knowledge and experience
required by a science student. It also gave me the opportunity to attend
lectures by eminent scientists. Moreover, it also provided me with a platform
to present my work at the TIFR Summer Symposium in Hyderabad, along with other
summer research fellows from the country. All in all, this life time
opportunity allowed me to look beyond our textbooks and made me familiar with
the kind of research going in the country.

The motivation to go for a course like Biochemistry and molecular
biology comes from the fact that these two courses together have grown to
encompass virtually the entire spectrum of science from physics and chemistry
to biology and medicine. I feel, this field would allow me to study life on
every level from individual molecules to the interrelated webs of earth’s
organisms.

The contribution of molecular biology and biochemistry to the
scientific revolution has been immense. From production of vast amount of rare
drugs and vaccines, tracing evolution, creating instant
test for a host of illness, to identification of criminals. Therefore, I feel
this is one of the most challenging and potentially rewarding fields. The
masters program of molecular biology and biochemistry at University of Bremen offers
through their each module a wide array of interdisciplinary subjects that would
train me thoroughly to go for a Phd in molecular biology and finally enable me
to get into the field of drug and vaccine development hence allow me to
work for improvement of existing tools for diagnosis and detection of diseases.
With its research excellence and interdisciplinary profile, I believe
University of Bremen would prove to be a quintessential place of study and aid
me to grow both scientifically and culturally.