A counterintuitive chemical reaction to simplify the production of biologically important compounds

The reaction simplifies the production of pharmaceutically important molecules called lactones and other complex compounds.

Prof Siddhesh Kamat from IISER Pune awarded EMBO Young Investigators grant

Read time: 2 mins
15 Nov 2019
Prof Siddhesh Kamat from IISER Pune awarded EMBO Young Investigators grant

Dr Siddhesh Kamat, Assistant Professor at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune, is among the 27 recipients of the European Molecular Biology Organization's (EMBO) Young Investigators Grant. EMBO is an organization headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany, and promotes international collaboration among life sciences researchers.

"I am greatly honoured and humbled to be part of such an elite group of scientists. This recognition is a testament to all the hard work, creativity and dedication put in by the current and past lab members," says Dr Kamat.

Dr Kamat and his lab work on mapping deregulated as-of-yet unknown enzymatic pathways and metabolic networks involved in human diseases. They use emerging biochemical approaches to study genetic mutations that influence disorders such as PHARC (polyneuropathy, hearing loss, ataxia, retinitis pigmentosa, cataract) in humans. They also study the functions of uncharacterized proteins that are linked to disease-causing genetic mutations. "The lab's long-term goal remains to provide novel insights and possible therapies for human neurological and immunological diseases," he says.

The new grantees will begin their four-year programme tenure in January 2020, joining 129 current and 340 former Young Investigators. The award opens up networking opportunities and access to core facilities at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. Each recipient will receive 15,000 euros in the second year of their tenure.

"Each of the new Young Investigators has demonstrated their ability to carry out research at the highest level, and it is a pleasure to welcome them to the EMBO community," says Maria Leptin, the Director of EMBO. "The first years as an independent researcher can be a particularly challenging time in a scientist's career, and we look forward to supporting these twenty-seven researchers in establishing their independent careers."

Dr Kamat has also been a recipient of the Young Scientist Medal 2019, Indian National Science Academy, UAA-ICT Distinguished Alumni Award 2019 (Young Achiever Category), DST-SERB Early Career Research Award in Life Sciences 2017, and Wellcome Trust DBT India Alliance, Intermediate Fellowship 2016 in recognition of his work.

For a young scientist, setting up his research group is the start of an exciting career in science, and Dr Kamat acknowledges the open lab system and his colleagues at IISER Pune for making it functional.

"Thanks to a wonderful group of highly motivated students and co-workers, as well as great collaborators, running a new lab has been an enjoyable experience for me thus far. Further, generous and flexible funding from the Wellcome Trust-DBT India Alliance has allowed us to take up new research problems, that would have otherwise not been possible," signs off Dr Kamat. 

Based on: https://www.embo.org/news/press-releases/2019/twenty-seven-life-scientists-become-embo-young-investigators