Postdoc spotlight - Dr. Tirthadipa Pradhan-Sundd

February, 2016



In what field was your PhD? How did you arrive at this specialization?

I received my PhD from Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada in cell signalling and trafficking of signalling pathway components. After completing my M.Phil from the University of Sheffield in developmental biology, I joined SFU as a graduate student to study the role of endocytic trafficking in Wnt pathway. At Pitt, I continue to study the role of Wnt pathway components in liver development and pathophysiology.


What is your current research project?

My current research project focuses on how signalling at the cell junction could be involved in maintaining the blood-biliary barrier in the liver. The liver is the largest organ in a vertebrate body which is structurally and functionally complex and is considered second to the brain in its complexity. Many mysteries still exist which continues to stump liver biologists for centuries. One such less understood phenomenon is how the blood flowing from the liver is intricately separated from the bile. Disruption of this blood-biliary barrier is responsible for fatty liver diseases and liver injury in children as well as in adults. We are trying to identify how junctional stability and signalling at the junctions could be responsible for maintaining this barrier function. I am using mouse model, patients’ samples as well as different types of cell lines to address these questions.


Tell us about a great experience or opportunity you’ve had in the past year.

There have been a few great experiences and opportunities to me in the last year. An NIH sponsored funding and a few publications that I have gotten and working on and also the remarkable group of liver disease researchers I have met here are worth mentioning.


What do you hope the next step in your career path will be?

I would like to join an academic institution as a faculty member in future where I can enjoy both research and teaching.


If not a scientist, what would you be?

I would most probably be a children’s book writer.