Why have you chosen to do a PhD in an international collaboration project?

Studying bioinformatics at the PhD level has always been an important goal. I was attracted to this international project because it was completely different from my previous educational experiences. I wanted to be exposed to new opinions and ideas and expand my worldview. The eCHO ITN program has been an incredible opportunity for me as I have had the opportunity to experience diverse disciplines, cultures, and backgrounds!

My lab and the PhD-project I am doing

My project, under Dr. Colin Clarke, involves using multi-“omics” methods and novel sequencing technology to identify non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) and their role as regulatory elements within CHO cells in order to study their effect on industrially relevant phenotypes. I am particularly interested in studying long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) as they are not well characterized in CHO but have been implicated in regulating diverse cellular processes such as apoptosis and cell cycle progression in other organisms such as humans, mice, and fruit flies . This project’s goal is to identify ncRNAs as targets for cell line engineering to improve therapeutic production in CHO cells.

What kind of tips would you give to future PhDs taking part in an ITN?

The best advice I can give is to cultivate strong relationships with fellow ITN members. ITN fellows come from many different countries and diverse disciplines. They can offer invaluable insight and are great sounding boards for your project ideas. I have made lifelong friends and would enthusiastically recommend an ITN project to everyone interested in pursuing a PhD.

Scientific Background

I received my Bachelor’s in microbiology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. During my senior year, I had my first encounter with the field of bioinformatics where I was involved in analysing GC-MS/MS data patients who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The goal of this project was to identify isoforms unique to the prostate cancer phenotype for use as potential therapeutic targets or biomarkers. Prior to starting my PhD project, I was working as a Bioinformatics Analyst for a sequencing service provider in Chicago, IL. These experiences sparked a deep and abiding interest in bioinformatics and the problems it can solve. The journey has been incredibly rewarding so far!

eCHO Systems

Krishna Motheramgari, DCU