NEW PUBLICATION: An insight from PhD Student Rakshanya Sekar
Recently, our paper "Impairing Gasdermin D-mediated pyroptosis is protective against retinal degeneration" was published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation. As my first first-author publication as a PhD student, this paper holds a special place for me.
Following Yvette Wooff’s PhD work in 2019 on the role of various inflammasome components during retinal degeneration, Gasdermin D, as one of the executioner proteins of cell death, became a key focus due to its role in inflammatory processes in the retina. In 2021, when I started my PhD, I was eager to understand the role this protein plays in the retina and its mechanism in regulating cell death. Moreover, I was interested in exploring its therapeutic potential for protection against degeneration. We spent 2021 and 2022 investigating this key molecule and its therapeutic potential in retinal degeneration.
Our paper, titled "Impairing Gasdermin D-mediated pyroptosis is protective against retinal degeneration," demonstrates that mice deficient in Gasdermin D have significantly preserved retinal function, increased photoreceptor survivability, and decreased inflammation compared to controls following photo-oxidative damage-induced retinal degeneration. Furthermore, we found that Gasdermin D-dependent release of pro-inflammatory cytokines may likely be mediated by extracellular vesicles, which can propagate inflammation in distant recipient cells. We also present findings demonstrating the efficacy of targeting Gasdermin D using siRNA and a pharmacological agent in vitro, offering potential avenues for advancing therapeutic strategies.
This marks an exciting milestone in my PhD journey, and I am grateful for the guidance I've received from my supervisors and the lab members at Clear Vision Research. I also extend my thanks to all the co-authors who contributed to this publication - Professor Si Ming Man and his lab for the wonderful support.
- Rakshanya Sekar.
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