Meet Neetika Jaisinghani of SUNY, Stony Brook. Neetika recently joined as a postdoctoral fellow in Jessica Seeliger’s lab and is finishing up her training at our Metabolomics course. This is her first course at CSHL and we suspect to have her back on campus participating in our future metabolism and immunology meetings.
What are your research interests? What are you working on?
Metabolism plays an important role in the host pathogen interaction of tuberculosis (TB). My research interests pertain specifically to how altered lipid metabolism in the host as well as the pathogen perturb the pathology of the disease. During my PhD, I worked on how infection of macrophages alters their lipid metabolism which finally affects their inflammatory response. And now I am excited to start studying pathogen’s lipid metabolism in Dr. Seeliger’s lab.
How did you decide to make this the focus of your research?
During my initial training at Dr. Sheetal Gandotra’s lab at CSIR IGIB, India, I learnt that tuberculosis infection leads to formation of lipid-rich macrophages in granulomas, the mechanism of which was not clearly understood. I started with a biochemical approach and found out that, contrary to common belief, bacterial infection of macrophages actually did not increase synthesis of lipids in macrophages. This was when I became drawn towards understanding metabolism in tuberculosis infection. I then went on to identify necrotic cell death as the metabolic stimulus responsible for lipid-rich macrophage formation in tuberculosis granulomas.
How did you scientific journey begin?
My interest towards research developed during my PhD in Gandotra’s lab at CSIR IGIB, where I was working with a great group of people who came from different scientific backgrounds. The discussions with my PI and my fellow lab mates kept me up-to-date on the recent discoveries as well as the history of scientific revelations in TB.
Was there something specific about the Metabolomics course that drew you to apply?
While my PhD training helped me gain expertise in studying host and pathogen lipid metabolism with techniques such as biochemical pathway analysis using metabolic labelling, lipid analyses using thin layer chromatography, and confocal microscopy, I lacked mass spectrometry training essential to understanding bacterial lipid metabolism as a whole. The Metabolomics course at CSHL will be beneficial in filling that technique gap and help me answer the unanswered questions from an omics perspective.
What is your key takeaway from the course?
This is a very intensive course on metabolomics, which helped me think about the various techniques of metabolomics that I can use to answer the questions about mycobacterial metabolism. Apart from that, I really enjoyed interacting with the other students, teaching assistants, organizers and the guest speakers. I learnt a lot from their experiences.
If someone curious in attending this course asked you for feedback or advice on it, what would you tell him/her?
I am thankful to the organizers Amy Caudy, Adam Rosebrock and Justin Cross for considering my participation. The organizing team is always available and approachable to answer questions and give their insights on a specific problem. Additionally, the nature of the course is such that you learn a lot at the end of it. I strongly feel that this is the best thing there is for anyone who is beginning to study metabolism.
What do you like most about your time at CSHL?
I like the CSHL campus, it is very scenic and beautiful. The scavenger hunt, beach picnic and sailing trip made my stay such a memorable one. I remember telling my course mates at one point that I don’t want to leave here. CSHL is a wonderful location with a lot of history, just being here inspires me and I’ve heard many of the course mates say the same thing.
Neetika received a scholarship from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) to cover a portion of her course tuition. On behalf of Neetika, thank you to NIGMS for supporting and enabling our young scientists to attend a CSHL course where they expand their skills, knowledge, and network.
Also, thank you to Jessica Seeliger for encouraging and supporting her lab members to take part in our training courses – and simultaneously. (Nuri Kim is currently training at our Advanced Bacterial Genetics course. [http://bit.ly/cabg2019])Finally, thank you to Neetika for being this week’s featured visitor. To meet other featured scientists – and discover the wide range of science that takes place in a CSHL meeting or course – go here.