Finding cures for children's genetic diseases


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Meet Pragathi Masamsetti

Pragathi Masamsetti is a PhD student working at Children's Medical Research Institute (CMRI). She is currently studing cancer cell death and is hoping to help scientists understand how different cancer cells behave with different chemotherapeutic drug treatments.

Q: How did you come to work at CMRI?
I developed my interest in research while working as a research assistant at the University of Texas. After my family migrated to Australia, I wanted to pursue my PhD and was excited to find out the impressive cancer research taking place at the Children’s Medical Research Institute.

I submitted an application to start my PhD at CMRI and fortunately, I got accepted after the interview process. I feel lucky and grateful working along with renowned scientists and being part of a wonderful research organisation like CMRI.

Q: What does a day in the life of a PhD student look like?
As a PhD student, I plan, conduct and analyse experiments to test the hypothesis of my PhD project. I also have meetings with my PhD supervisor to discuss experiment results, as well as read scientific journal papers and attend seminars to stay updated with current research findings.

I also mentor an honours student in their own research project. When I can, I enjoy catching up with fellow PhD students and scientists over lunch, to have some friendly and scientific discussions.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job, and what are the biggest challenges?
I enjoy learning new lab techniques and having discussions about science in an institute with such a multinational and friendly atmosphere. I especially enjoy the independence I have in exploring, thinking and coming up with different research ideas in my project.

I would say producing results in time, and overcoming delays caused by technical difficulties has been a challenge for me.

Q: What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently performing experiments to study the types of cancer cell deaths with different drug treatments using live cell imaging microscopes. These experiments should help us to understand how different cancer cells behave with different chemotherapeutic drug treatments.

Q: If you hadn’t taken up your role at CMRI, what would you like to be doing?  
Due to my interest in medical research and data analysis, I would have pursued a career where I can integrate and work with research as well as clinical data to predict complex assocations between gene mutations and diseases.

Projects like Pragathi's can lead to important research findings. However, her work and the work of the labs she works in rely on funding to continue operating. Your support can make a difference.