On August 18th 2014, at Brown University Sidney Frank Hall, Brown-MBL PhD candidate Akash Srivastava successfully defended his dissertation entitled “Transdifferentiation of Liver to Pancreas”. Akash, a PhD student in the Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry Department (MCB) at Brown University conducted his research at MBL’s Eugene Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering under the advisement of Dr. Marko Horb and committee members Dr. Rich Freiman, Dr. Kristi Wharton, and Dr. Eric Morrow from the MCB Department. In 2008, Akash started his PhD at McGill University in Canada then transferred to Brown University entering the Brown-MBL Program in the fall of 2011. He holds a B.S (Biology) from Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gorakhpur University in India and a M.S. (Biochemistry) from Bundelkhand University also in India.
Akash’s PhD research focused on elucidating the molecular mechanisms involved in transdifferentiation of liver to pancreas in Xenopus laevis. He identified a previously unknown role of a highly conserved beta-catenin inhibitor protein Chibby in transdifferentiation of liver to pancreas and in normal pancreas development. His research also provided a better understanding of the function of Wnt/beta catenin signaling in pancreas development. Funding for his research came from the Marko Horb lab at MBL with grant support from the National Institutes of Health.
After completing his final manuscripts, Akash plans to work as a Validation Consultant in the pharmaceutical industry this fall.