Interview with Ranjeet Mahla
Ranjeet discusses his project and benefits he has drawn from his experience so far as an Oxford-BMS Fellow.
What are you researching now?
At present, I am investigating self-tolerance and auto-reactivity in Sjogren Syndrome. Sjogren syndrome is the second most common autoimmune rheumatic disease, and it is characterized by the presence of autoantibodies against ubiquitous antigens, including SSA (Ro52 and Ro60), SSB, La, and ANA. Using auto-antigenic bait proteins, I am characterizing self-reactive B cells. We use high parametric flow cytometry paired with single cells RNA-Sequencing to uncover the underlying molecular cues. Self-reactive B cells, which mediate salivary destruction, can be dynamic or stable. Understanding self-reactive B cells and their clonotypic diversity is essential for designing therapeutic approaches. We use multiome techniques, gene expression (GEX), epigenome (ATAC-Seq), and immunoglobulin (VDJ) repertoire analysis. This work is done in collaboration with Professor Lynn B Dustin at University of Oxford, Professor Benjamin Fisher at University of Birmingham and Steven Saenz and team at BMS.
What has your experience of this Fellowship been like?
Until now, it has been a fascinating experience. Regular meetings with fellow IFPN committee members and short career development training are the motivating aspects while expecting regular meetings, constructive suggestions, and feedback from industry partners. Being an industry fellow is a great motivation and opportunity to move in the industry and strengthen academic-industry partnerships between BMS-Celgene and the University of Oxford.
What are your aspirations for the future of this research?
Oxford BMS-Celgene fellowship is an excellent opportunity to build a career in industry and develop the confidence to pursue independent research. This fellowship is a foundation brick for my aspiration in research and development and nurturing the motives of entrepreneurship. In the coming years, I would like to develop unique machine (ML) learning and artificial (AI) models in autoimmune rheumatic diseases at the interface of infectious diseases. I expect to work for industry while in academia and contribute more to collaborative projects intersecting autoimmune and infectious diseases.