Novel interactions in autophagy

Sakshi Singh aims to reveal novel interactions between lipids and proteins in autophagy, which is the body’s way of cleaning out damaged cellular components.

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Professor Anne Simonsen and Saksi Singh at the Simonsen`s lab. Photo: Fredrik Neuman/Felix features

“Autophagy is crucial for the normal development of cells and organs, but defects in autophagy have also been linked to various diseases, such as cancer, neurodegeneration, Crohn’s disease, liver diseases and metabolic syndrome”, says Sakshi Singh.

Singh is a bioinformatician and is currently a Scientia Fellow in Professor Anne Simonsen’s lab at the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo.

Opportunity with Scientia Fellows

She arrived in Oslo in 2020 with her husband, who is also a researcher at UiO. She learned about the opportunity for a Scientia Fellows position through a friend and colleague, who was also a Scientia fellow in Simonsen group. After meeting with Simonsen, they wrote a proposal for a Scientia Fellows position together, and she started as a fellow working in January 2020.

Singh’s work is focused on the bioinformatic characterization of lipid-binding proteins identified in genetic screens for regulators of selective autophagic clearance of damaged or dysfunctional mitochondria, a process called mitophagy.

Combining bioinformatics and biology

“In the current project, I will use various bioinformatic tools in combination with molecular cell biology and biochemistry to characterise candidates identified in these screens with the aim of revealing novel interactions between lipids and proteins in autophagy and understanding their regulation and importance in health and disease.”

Sakshi Singh is the first bioinformatician to join Simonsen’s lab.

“We are seeing more and more need for informaticians and biostatistics – not to confuse the two – to analyse huge data sets, and to give a different outlook on our research projects”, says Simonsen.

International competence

As with many of the research groups hosting Scientia Fellows, the group is international, with researchers from nine different countries. Singh is originally from India, but she took her PhD in Italy, worked in the Netherlands and is now in Norway.

“When you travel and work in different countries you become more flexible and realise that there are many ways of conducting research, and it is possible to pick which works best for you”, says Singh.

“To some extent, you can talk about different research cultures, but in my experience, it is even more important that the person leading the group has developed a good work environment. The Simonsen group has been very helpful and supportive”, she concludes.

Simonsen’s lab:

  • Work in the laboratory is currently focused on identification of novel lipid-binding proteins involved in different types of autophagy and elucidation of their function in autophagy and link to disease.
  • To address these challenges, we use a combination of cell biological, biochemical, imaging, genomic and computational approaches, as well as disease-related model systems.
  • Read more here

Scientia Fellows:

  • Transnational fellowship programme (2019-2024) in the field of Health Life Sciences.
  • Based at the University of Oslo
  • Co-funded by EU and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
  • Read more here




Published Sep. 6, 2021 9:11 AM - Last modified Sep. 30, 2021 10:19 AM