Vaish Shankar

January 4, 2022

Vaish is interested in translation control in the context of the autism spectrum disorder, Fragile X Syndrome (FXS). FXS is caused by loss of a particular protein, Fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP). Amongst many other functions, one of the main cellular functions of FMRP appears to be in translational regulation, and it is thought that the misregulation caused by loss of FMRP leads to the various memory formation issues in FXS patients. Particularly, Vaish looks at how the loss of FMRP alters translation speed and status in FXS patients by studying patient-derived iPSCs differentiated to neurons. Previously, Vaish did her postdoc in the lab of Dr. Colleen McClung at the University of Pittsburgh, where she looked at the role of non-coding RNAs in the striatum in Schizophrenic patients and patients with Bipolar disorders, to explore their role in regulating the circadian rhythm in the brain. Vaish obtained her PhD in Biochemistry at the lab of Prof. Norbert Polacek, from the University of Bern, Switzerland, where she worked on the expansion segments of eukaryotic ribosomes to understand their difference from prokaryotic ribosomes, and also their role in specialized translation. She graduated from University of Glasgow, Scotland with MRes Biomedical Sciences, where she worked with Prof. Hugh Nimmo and Dr. Andrew Hamilton in projects on cellular and molecular functions of viral and plant RNAs. In her free time, she enjoys playing with her toddler daughter and going on walks and hikes, dancing and listening to music.