Reety Arora is a molecular biologist trained in Tumor Virology and Cancer Biology.
After a Bachelor’s in Engineering in Biotechnology from Panjab University, Chandigarh she went to the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA to pursue a Ph.D. in molecular biology. She completed her doctorate in Prof. Yuan Chang and Prof. Patrick Moore’s laboratory, studying a virus, that they had just then discovered, called Merkel cell polyomavirus, and how it causes a rare skin cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma.
Having gained expertise in tumor viruses and molecular cancer research she returned to India to study muscle stem cell biology and pluripotency in Prof. Jyotsna Dhawan’s laboratory at Institute for Stem Cell Biology (inStem), Bangalore. Post this 2-year post-doctoral fellowship, she moved back to studying tumor viruses and their role in cancer although with the perspective of stemness. She was awarded the Wellcome Trust DBT India Alliance Early Career Fellowship for this endeavor and pursued this during her 7-year post-doctoral track under the mentorship of Prof. Sudhir Krishna at National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore. This fellowship allowed her to run a curiosity-driven independent team within the larger group. She was able to address several Merkel skin tumor-related questions during her research and this allowed her to contribute to the current knowledge substantially. During this term, she also spend 6 months in Dr. James Decaprio’s laboratory at Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA learning the smallest details of ChIP-sequencing and Mass-spectrometric analysis related to cancer data.
This is also when she had her first rendezvous with CRISPR technology and was enamored. She chose to attempt two CRISPR-related projects, one as a diagnostic assay for detecting Merkel cell polyomavirus in Merkel skin tumors and the other to reduce the expression of (knock-down) Merkel cell polyomavirus T antigen in tumors as a potential therapy. Both projects showed promising results and are published in the public domain.
After her fellowship, she briefly consulted for Sankalp India foundation to help them set up a diagnostic laboratory for their hemoglobin disorder transplant wing in Bangalore. Before starting with CrisprBits she was working as a research consultant for a drug discovery company, Capulus Therapeutics for cancer target identification and validation.