PhD (Biochemistry), Department of Biochemistry, Indian Institute of Science (2007)
Post-Doctoral Fellow (Cell Biology), University of Geneva (2010)
Post-Doctoral Fellow (Proteomics & Cell Biology), University of British Columbia (2015)
Ramanujan Fellow (Cell Biology), Indian Institute of Technology (2016)
Research Scientist, Vancouver Prostate Centre
Dr. Syam Somasekharan joined the Vancouver Prostate Centre as a Research Scientist in 2016. Dr. Somasekharan did his PhD in Biochemistry at the Indian Institute of Science, working on cell signalling mediated by calcium sensitive kinases under cellular stress. In his first post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Geneva with Prof. Jean-Claude Martinou, he investigated the molecular mechanisms of Bax activation in apoptosis process. This work led to a new mechanism discovery of Bax activation during mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilisation (MOMP) [Cell (2010) 142:889-901], now highly cited in the apoptosis field.
In 2010, Dr. Somasekharan joined Dr. Poul Sorensen’s lab as a post-doctoral fellow to study mRNA translation regulatory research in sarcomas and prostate cancer. During this period, Dr. Somasekharan developed a novel mass spec technology called “Click-SILAC” method, with a combination of SILAC (stable isotope labelling of amino acids in cell culture) and click chemistry to identify and quantify newly synthesized proteins [J Proteomics (2012) 77:e1-10]. Click–SILAC has become a popular tool to study protein dynamics in complex biological processes such as signal transduction, cancer biology, and drug discovery. More recently, Dr. Somasekharan has been studying RNA granules in cancer cells, and demonstrated for the first time in the field the involvement of stress granules in tumour invasion and metastasis processes [J Cell Biol (2015) 208:913-29]. Dr. Somasekharan also co-authored several other publications in high impact journals, which include Cell (2013) 153:1064-79; Cancer Cell (2015) 27:682-97; and Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (2014) 111:3032-7. He is also a recipient of several national and international awards including Ramanujan, Ramalingaswamy and Early Career Research Awards from the Government. of India.
Currently Dr. Somasekharan is working on several projects that relate to prostate cancer, including: research on the relationship between stress granule machinery and prostate cancer stem cell destiny; mitochondrial dynamics of prostate cancer cells under varied treatment stresses; and mass spec profiling studies to understand prostate cancer disease progression and vulnerabilities. With sincere motivation and a strong scientific collaborative attitude, Dr. Somasekharan is engaged to fight prostate cancer and open a new page in his research life.