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Post Student Researchers Make Headway in DNA Research Link to Cancer Cells

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Rita Langdon,Associate Provost and Director of Public Relations
C.W. Post Campus,
Long Island University
516-299-2334

DNA StudentsBrookville, N.Y. -- When Sanket Patel, Dipen Patel and Venkata Sravani Kollu, all international students from India, arrived at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University, they had similar goals. Master's degree students in biomedical science, each had a strong background in pharmacy with a desire to continue research in a laboratory setting.

Although they didn't know one another prior to arriving at Post, the three soon began working together with Dr. Daniel Ginsburg, assistant professor of biomedical sciences, conducting important research about cancer cells and DNA that will someday hopefully provide doctors with the ability to intervene in turning on and off oncogenes, the genes responsible for the production of cancer. Their research focuses on transcription, which is the first step in gene expression. Transcription is the process of synthesizing an RNA molecule from a DNA template. Transcription is the mechanism by which genes "turn on" or "turn off" in ways that can cause cancer cells to form and grow.

Earlier this year, the trio presented their research on the molecular mechanisms of gene expression at 12th International conference in Mechanism of Eukaryotic Transcription at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. While the event was attended primarily by Ph.D. candidates from numerous prestigious universities such as Harvard, Princeton, and NYU, Sanket Patel and Dipen Patel of Queens and Kollu of Hicksville, were among the only master's level students to present their research at the conference.

Sanket Patel"We were very proud to attend," said Sanket Patel, who is interested in the legal aspects of health care and holds a bachelor's degree in pharmacy from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences. "We are very grateful to Dr. Ginsburg for the opportunity."


Venkata Kollu"It was so exciting," said Kollu, who is a registered pharmacist in India. "We met so many great scientists -- people whose research we read every day. The experience was inspiring and it really helped me realize the magnitude of what we are doing and work even harder. When you meet someone great, it makes you want to be great." Kollu, who worked for two years in the chemistry department laboratory, said she has been interested in science since she was a young child. "Science is a field that does so much good day by day. You can really help people and that's something I have always wanted to do." Coming to the United States she said, offered her many opportunities in the field, a sentiment Dipen Patel shares.

Dipen Patel"My aim was to get good education and do my masters abroad," said Dipen Patel who earned a Bachelor of Pharmacy (B Pharm) from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health and Science, and was recognized for scoring in the highest percent in his first year class at KLE's College of Pharmacy Hubli. "America is the only country where we can get the best education all over the world."

As happy as they were to come to this country, there were some adjustments, particularly on a personal level.

"I never visited America before," Dipen Patel said. "Starting in it was quite difficult to adjust, but as the time went, it was good. I am a vegetarian so it was a big problem for me regarding food -- I don't even eat eggs. But now I've made myself comfortable."

Sanket Patel said he knew there would an adaptation period, especially since he comes from a small city, but because he studied away from home while in India, he is good at adjusting to any environment.

"It was exciting to prepare for my first out-of-country trip," he said, adding that he had never met anyone from another country before. He's met lots of other students and neighbors who he says have been "cooperative and very helpful."

The three students, who will graduate at different times next year, are still figuring out what their next steps are. Sanket Patel is interested in research projects which relate to basic science at a molecular level while Dipen Patel would like to work for a pharmaceutical research company and possibly pursue his Ph.D. Kollu, who once thought she would like to be a research assistant is now reconsidering.

"It really depends on the opportunity," she said. "I want to learn about everything."

Posted 12/19/2011

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