Sumithra Srinivasan

Title of the project: Evaluation of biocompatible materials for biomedical applications using the model organism C. elegans

Supervisor and Host institution: Dr. Anna Laromaine at Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC)

Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) are free living roundworms, that are optically transparent, possess short life cycle (3 days), high reproduction and share 60-80% genetic homology with humans. Already an important small animal model in developmental biology and genetics, C. elegans are also gaining attraction in nanomaterial toxicity testing. Several groups are evaluating toxicity and functionality of different metallic nanoparticles such as silver, gold etc. but not biocompatible polymeric materials. I am therefore working on evaluating biocompatible polymers and composites using C. elegans as a small animal model.

“A MSCA-COFUND fellowship imparts great exposure and versatility!
Thanks to DOC-FAM fellowship, I have met people from different parts of the world who are expertise in very different fields than mine. This fellowship is a wonderful opportunity to have multifaceted PhD experience that is beyond a traditional outlook."

I come from Chennai, a city in the southern part of India. I did my undergraduation in Bio-engineering and Master in Medical Nanotechnology at SASTRA University in India. For my master thesis, I was offered a semester abroad program scholarship by my university to do my thesis project at the Universitat de Barcelona in 2015 working on nano-liposomal vesicles. After this, I worked as a research fellow in different institutions in various parts of India, specialising mainly on Nanomaterials & Nanomedicine.

In 2018, I landed again in this lovely city to do my PhD in ICMAB-CSIC, under the supervision of Dr. Anna Laromaine. Here, I am introduced to the amazing small animal model, “C. elegans”. I believe research is something that we all do in our daily life, consciously or not. The last 5 years in scientific research has made me realise how much I love problem solving and learning new things every day. I hope to have a well-rounded PhD experience that prepares me adaptable to any environment. After PhD, I hope to explore industrial research and contribute to real world scientific needs.

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