PhD Candidate Profile: Gorvadhan Anande

Govardhan Anande

What is your research about?

Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are two forms of blood cancer commonly affecting older individuals and with poor prognosis. Recent studies have identified that a significant proportion of MDS patients (~60%) have mutations in genes that control RNA splicing, a fundamental biological process by which information encoded in DNA is conveyed into proteins. Mutations of these genes are also found in 10%~20% of AML patients. Recent discoveries are beginning to uncover that these mutations affect the ability of cells to perform proper RNA splicing. However, the question of how improper RNA splicing leads to MDS and AML is poorly understood.

In my Ph.D., I am investigating whether improper RNA splicing, even in MDS and AML patients who do not have any discernible mutations in genes involved RNA splicing genes, leads to the disease. Understanding this is of great importance clinically and scientifically. It will permit the development of new therapies that could more effectively treat MDS and AML. In addition, my findings will open the door for new research to understand molecular mechanisms underlying blood cancers. 

What is translational application of your research?

This pre-clinical research will lead to greater understanding of molecular mechanisms of the aberrant splicing in MDS and AML patients without SF mutations, which will resolve many unexplained questions in the field, but it will also facilitate the development of novel yet effective therapies by targeting upstream splicing regulators. In clinical terms, these drugs should lead to improvement in both clinical response and overall survival of MDS and AML patients without any splicing factor mutations.   

How would the TCRN PhD scholaship help you succeed?

The TCRN Scholarship Top-up and research support will facilitate my PhD projects by allowing me access to conferences and fieldworks. Recently, TCRN research support helped my 4 weeks international fieldwork at the Karolinska Institute, Sweden where I worked on Clinseq-AML cohort.