Nominee: Pavan Kumar Kakumani
Assistant Professor, Memorial University
Brief Biosketch provided for the nominee:
The candidate is an early career researcher and his lab works primarily on the role of RNA-binding proteins in small RNA-mediated gene regulation and cell differentiation. His past contributions include, a) demonstrating the involvement of cold shock proteins in the biogenesis of non-canonical miRNA, miR-451, specific to erythrocytes, and b) illustrating the tissue specific function of RBPs, namely, CSDE1 in the progression of melanoma skin cancer, by hindering miRISC/AGO function and target gene silencing. Since opening his lab in Summer 2021, Dr. Kakumani and his group have been trying to decipher the involvement of PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) in retrotransposon regulation and mRNA translation underlying cell fate decisions. He has been an active member of review committees for NSERC (CGS-D and PDF scholarships) and CIHR grant competitions. Furthermore, he is serving as a member of Memorial University’s Senate Committee on Research, Biochemistry Undergraduate studies committee and faculty search committees at the departmental level.
Justification provided for the nominee:
I am interested in, and committed to, expanding RNA research activities in Atlantic Canada and educate the stake holders both at the university and the societal level, about the potential of RNA-based medicine in treating human diseases that are prevalent in Atlantic provinces, especially Newfoundland and Labrador, and Canada as a whole. I would like to bring forth a perspective that is diverse (through my past and present experiences), and contribute to the development of policies that are pan-canadian, in accelerating RNA-related research and discoveries in Canada, with the ultimate goal of improving the health and wealth our society.