Krittika Ralhan, a PhD scholar in Biological Engineering, has been selected for the Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship in the neuroscience subcategory. Krittika works on cures for Alzheimer’s Disease and will use the scholarship to conduct a part of her doctoral research work at the University of Rochester, NewYork.

The Alzheimer’s Disease is primarily caused by the aggregation of certain key brain proteins which is directly related to aging. In a normal brain, such proteins are responsible for maintaining the day-to-day activities in humans. However, in the case of Alzheimer’s, these proteins lose their function which leads to a devastating effect on memory, cognition, linguistic skills etc. For her project, Krittika plans to work towards the development of a cure for the disease by designing inhibitors which will target the aggregation of these proteins.

Ralhan says, “AD affects over 10 million people globally and the problems are compounded as there is a lack of effective curative therapy. More than 90 per cent of AD patients are above 65 years of age, leading to a constant need for care providers. Apart from being the fifth leading cause of death, the care-giving cost worldwide for Alzheimer’s patients is estimated to be over 600 billion dollars.”

Ralhan will leave for Rochester in September 2018 to join Dr Rudi Fasans’s lab at University of Rochester which has expertise in designing macrocyclic peptides.