Even as the threat of the deadly Zika virus looms large, a team in Purdue University has made a major breakthrough by decoding the structure of the deadly virus. This decoding is now a major step forward in developing an effective treatment for the fever that develops due to the virus. And what is heartening for us is that a young Indian girl is part of the team of researchers that cracked the code. 29 year old Devika Sirohi, a doctoral student at the University was one of the four students who were part of the team. [Feature Image Credit: Fostergem)
If your curiosity is piqued, here is more on her:
- Devika Sirohi was born and brought up in Meerut. She completed her schooling from the city-based Dayawati Modi Academy. She then went on to pursue honours in biochemistry from Delhi University and MSc from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai. Her quest for science and medicine then took her West Lafayette near Chicago where she is pursuing a PhD in ‘Structure and Maturation of Flaviviruses’ for the last five years.
- Both her parents, Mr SS Sirohi and Ms Reena Sirohi are city based doctors. Her father is a pathologist and her mother is a pediatrician.
- Out of the seven-member team, who was able to break through the structure of the virus, three were professors and four students, and Devika is known to be the youngest student and member of a team.
- Devika is a graduate research assistant since the last five years at Purdue University and this year she will submit her thesis of doctoral research.
- She is the co-author of “The 3.8 Å resolution cryo-EM structure of Zika virus”, the research paper which contains all the findings of the team.
The Zika virus has currently spread to 38 countries, and India is one of the five countries where research for a preventive vaccine is underway. Given that the World health Organisation had in February declared the Zika virus outbreak as an “international public health emergency”, this research breakthrough definitely comes at a welcome time.