Ishani Dasgupta, studying signaling pathways to design disease therapeutics


My name is Ishani Dasgupta and I’m a Post Doc in the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology. Right from my childhood, I developed a natural flare for Biology and the more I ventured into it, the topic of Bio-science evolved from being an interesting textbook topic to one of intrigue, which is woven into real life. I think my mother has been the most effective scaffold in building my dream to pursue a career in research because she’s a strong advocate of science and education. I’m interested to study how cells communicate with each other through different cellular networking pathways. So, currently, I study a signaling pathway, which is called the Hippo signaling which regulates cell growth, cell division, depth and differentiation in stem cell maintenance. This pathway is controlled by several mechanical stimulus like substrate stiffness, cell density, and sensing tension at cell to cell junctions. Our lab has identified a candidate sensor of this mechanical tension between cell to cell junctions. Currently, I’m making mutations of that protein to identify which residue or domain is important for the function and also designing screens, so that we can identify novel interacting partners of this candidate sensor in response to tension. My journey at UMass so far has been very fulfilling because my supervisor is extremely supportive in promoting new ideas and helping me troubleshoot and developing my analytical skills. There are leading women scientists in the field of Bioscience, however, there is a gender gap and people perceive STEM as a male-dominated field, So, I think since women form half the nation’s workforce, I think it’s very important to encourage women who are passionate about science to come to the forefront.