Dr. Baskar Bakthavachalu, Senior Scientist, Tata Institute for Genetics and Society, Bangalore, has been awarded the prestigious SERB Science and Technology Award for Research (SERB-STAR), instituted to recognize and reward the outstanding performance of Principal Investigators of SERB projects. Baskar and his team studied the intrinsically disordered region (IDR) of the protein Ataxin-2 and its role in the formation of granules or amyloid filaments inside neurons. Their findings indicate that the IDR domain, though assists in the development of long-term memory, also causes specific forms of neurodegeneration. They deduce that this may be because the mechanisms that allow the formation and clearance of granules under normal conditions lean towards granule accumulation in diseased conditions. Baskar’s group is currently studying the cellular mechanism that regulates the Ataxin-2 granule assembly and also exploring therapeutic strategies to block/clear Ataxin-2 granules in iPSC and mouse ALS models.
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