A research student of Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN) has been selected for the Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship. The student is designing a solution to Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). A PhD scholar in Biological Engineering, Krittika Ralhan, will use the scholarship to conduct a part of her doctoral research work at the University of Rochester, NewYork.
Fulbright Fellowships are among the most prestigious fellowships in the world. The Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research Fellowships are designed for Indian scholars who are registered for a PhD at an Indian institution.
Ralhan has received her Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research Fellowship 2017-18 in the neuroscience subcategory. Explaining her research on Alzheimer’s, she said, “AD is primarily caused by the aggregation of certain key brain proteins which is directly related to aging. In a normal brain, such proteins are responsible for maintaining the day-to-day activities in humans. However, in the case of Alzheimer’s, these proteins lose their function which leads to a devastating effect on memory, cognition, linguistic skills etc. For my project, I plan to work towards development of cure for AD by designing inhibitors which will target the aggregation of these proteins.”
Ralhan said, “AD affects over 10 million people globally and the problems are compounded as there is a lack of effective curative therapy. More than 90 per cent of AD patients are above 65 years of age, leading to a constant need for care providers. Apart from being the fifth leading cause of death, the care-giving cost worldwide for Alzheimer’s patients is estimated to be over 600 billion dollars.”
Ralhan will leave for Rochester in September 2018 to join Dr Rudi Fasans’s lab at University of Rochester which has expertise in designing macrocyclic peptides.