RIVERSIDE, Calif. When she feels unmotivated, Divya Sain, a graduate student from India at the University of California, Riverside, remembers "Shane shane parvata langhanam," her father's favorite chant, which translates from Sanskrit into English as "Slowly and steady, even mountains can be conquered."
The latest mountain Sain has conquered is securing the Guru Gobind Singh Fellowship for 2012-2013. The $30,000 award is given to a student of an Indian or Pakistani university who is committed to returning to her country of origin after receiving her doctoral degree at a UC campus.
Sain, who grew up in New Delhi, came to UC Riverside in 2007 to study plant pathology with Jason Stajich, an assistant professor of plant pathology and microbiology. Specifically, Sain studies the fungal cell wall an important feature that distinguishes fungi from the host plants and animals they infect.
"The fungal cell wall is an excellent target for developing antifungal drugs," explained Sain, who expects to graduate with a Ph.D. in genetics, genomics and bioinformatics in August 2013. "Currently, I am identifying and validating the genes responsible for synthesizing as well as maintaining the fungal cell wall. Knowledge about these genes can be used to design antifungal drugs."
Sain foresees her research will be an asset to the antifungal drug development industry in India and hopes to apply her knowledge to actively combat fungal diseases that are rampant in that country. She explained that India, like all major developing countries, is plagued by the menace of fungal infections in plants and humans.
|Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala|
University of California - Riverside