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Cambridge Biosciences DTP PhD Programme


MRC Toxicology Unit

Research theme: Bioscience for an integrated understanding of health


I am a second year PhD student in the MRC Toxicology Unit. I completed my undergraduate masters degree in biochemistry from the University of Exeter in 2020. My undergraduate research was based on diagnostics of infectious fungal disease. My PhD research is based on how transcriptional and translational pathways in metazoan cells communicate under stressful stimuli. Both transcription and translation have been evidenced to pause during stress, my project askes the question: Are these pathways communicating with each other. These processes are activated during neurodegeneration and therefore understand these mechanisms will improve our capabilities of tackling age related diseases


Project Title:

Exploring coordination between stress-induced translational and transcriptional attenuation

Project Summary:

Environmental stress can activate cellular survival pathways such as the integrated stress response (ISR) and stress-induced transcriptional attenuation (SITA). Both pathways are activated during disease.

The ISR is an evolutionarily conserved process that facilitates cell survival in several pathological conditions through global translational attenuation, central to this pathway is the phosphorylation of the α subunit on eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2α). Recently, global transcriptional downregulation has been observed when eukaryotic cells are treated with stress-inducing stimuli, such as heat shock (HS). We have termed this response, SITA. Although ISR and SITA are stress-induced pathways, likely to be activated as mechanisms that facilitate cell survival, little is known of their coordination. We aim to understand how cells undergo SITA, and if this process is coordinated with stress-induced translational attenuation. We will unravel the mechanistic pathways that activate SITA and determine if stress-induced translational attenuation is involved in SITA. 


Teaching and Supervisions

Research supervision: 

Dr Ritwick Sawarkar 

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Contact Details

Job Titles

PhD Student