I come from a small valley surrounded by Himalayas known as Dehradun in India. I completed my Master’s in Biotechnology from National Institute of Technology, Rourkela, India. I spend my leisure time in painting and cooking (The spicy Indian cuisine). I aspire to travel and explore the world as much as I can.
European Spallation Source (ESS)
start date | 25/09/2017
supervisor | Esko Oksanen
Elucidating the function of proton pumps with neutron crystallography
Proteins classification is based on several criteria such as function, structure, shape and solubility. Membrane proteins, that we can find attached into the membrane of the cells, are classified based on their solubility. These class of proteins (also called MPs, for membrane proteins), perform vital functions for the cells like acting as transporters and receptors of molecules, or transducing signals and energy across the membrane.
Some membrane proteins (e.g. bacteriorhodopsin -BR- and cytochrome C -COXs-) act as pumps exchanging protons (Hydrogen, H+) across the membrane. This exchange of protons from one side to another across the membrane creates a potential gradient that provides chemical energy for the cell. In this sense, Hydrogen plays a central role in the operation of proton pumps and by revealing the position of these atoms, researchers can describe the structure of this type of proteins.
The most commonly used technique to study the structure of proteins is X-Ray crystallography. But as hydrogens position is not visible through X-Ray, we use neutron diffraction. Which also raise different challenges since it requires larger and well-defined crystals. Thus, my work relies on developing new methods to improve crystal size and diffraction quality to have a deeper understanding of proton pumps proteins thanks to neutron diffraction.
Skills & Expertise
#Protein Purification & Expression
Mitigen (USA), 2020 – cancelled due to Covid19
Aarhus University (Denmark), March 2019
Université Grenoble Alpes (France), September 2018
Workshops & conferences
LINXS 2nd Symposium – Integrative Structural Biology | Lund (Sweden), October 2019
iNEXT Crystallography Course | Oulu (Finland), May 2019
FEBS School – Advanced methods in macromolecular crystallization VIII | NovéHrady (Czech Republic), June 2018
12th Central European Training School (CETS) on neutron techniques | Budapest (Hungary), May 2018
Swati has not just been doing research, she has also been involved in science communication activities to engage citizens with science.
Participating to the event “Crystals made of tears: from misery to cheer” at The Devereux pub in central London | July 2019
Blogging about science and PhD life| see all blogposts from Swati: Portrait, Swati’s view on the last research workshop, News from the neutron macromolecular crystallography (NMX) technique, Last year of thesis in perspectives: Nature, Science and Art