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DC 2
Asifa Khan

I am a curious researcher, looking forward to exploring new frontiers in medical science. This curious nature led me to pursue my Ph.D. at University of Pavia, Italy with the MSCA-DN, which would enable me to interact actively with the scientific community and fellow DCs. I did my bachelor’s in applied Biosciences with a minor in Computer Science from the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Pakistan. I completed my master’s studies in the Medical Research program at Uppsala University, Sweden. It was a combination of laboratory and computational skills used in biomedical sciences. My Ph.D. project would mainly revolve around the roles of proteoglycan sulfation in musculoskeletal ageing.

My Research Interests

The complex network of cell signaling pathways and cellular mechanisms that maintain cell homeostasis fascinate me. I am interested in implementing laboratory techniques and multi-omics methods in investigating the underlying cellular mechanisms of pathologies.  Besides bone and cartilage diseases, I have a keen interest in cancers and the molecular basis of tumorigenesis. The resilient nature of tumor cells intrigues me to learn about the strategies they develop to thrive. So that we can develop counter-strategies to combat them.  I am specifically interested in proteoglycans as they have a crucial role in developmental processes, ageing, tumorigenesis, and cell homeostasis. The scientific topics which inspire me the most include autophagy, apoptosis, and stress responses. During my master's thesis, I studied the roles of heparan sulfate proteoglycans in autophagy. Autophagy is a self-engulfment mechanism to regulate cell homeostasis and degrade damaged cellular materials. Dysregulation in autophagy results in diseased conditions, including Alzheimer's disease which is commonly associated with ageing. In my current position at CHANGE (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions funded Horizon Europe training network), we are uncovering molecular mechanisms in connective tissue ageing and disease. In particular, I will be dealing with Osteoarthritis (OA) which is the most common joint disease worldwide. I will be investigating cartilage homeostasis, the involvement of inflammation and oxidative stress in cartilage degeneration, and muscle phenotype in mutant mice. The motivation behind my passion for research is to identify therapeutic targets. I believe that an understanding of pathogenesis would help us develop better drug candidates to prevent and treat diseases. Ultimately, I want to serve humanity by innovating and exploring new frontiers in biomedical sciences.

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