Portrait of a Grad Student - Preethi Jayanth


My name is Preethi Jayanth and I am an International student who joined the PhD program in Dr. Szewczuk’s lab in 2006. I completed my Masters degree from the University of Mysore, India and was working as a Research Assistant at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UAE University, UAE before I joined Queen’s University.

In the Szewczuk lab, we study the role of glycosylation in receptor activation. There is mounting evidence suggesting that the glycosylation of secreted and cell membrane bound receptors are essential for their transport and function. My project involves the study of the effects of glycosylation on Tyrosine kinase (Trk) receptors. Trk receptors are signaling receptors for the neurotrophin family of molecules and are very important regulators of the mammalian nervous system. Although the signaling pathways of Trk receptors are well defined, the parameters controlling the interactions between the ligand and the receptors still remains to be clearly defined. Our lab was successful in discovering that the nerve growth factor NGF binding to TrkA receptor induces sialidase activity which influences the desialylation and, consequently causes receptor dimerization and activation of TrkA. At present, I am working on identifying the candidate sialidase involved in Trk activation and also investigating the molecular mechanism of sialidase activation. This new emerging mechanism for the control of Trk receptor signaling will open a whole new area of glycobiology research  and will widen the scope for the development of novel therapeutic drugs to combat human diseases.

My work allows me to employ different molecular biology techniques like SDS-PAGE and immunoblotting along with cytochemistry assay techniques that require the visual observation of cells via microscopy. Since most of our assays are carried out on live cells, I am also familiar with the culturing of various mammalian cell lines.

For further information, contact Dr. Szewczuk