Meet our 2022-23 3MT finalists: Abesh Bera
November 09, 2022 - by Sarah Igram
Abesh Bera is a sixth-year graduate student at Iowa State in Microbiology, and he was last year's runner-up in the Three Minute Thesis competition. He will also participate in Thursday's final competition with his presentation, "Biased interaction of different Tubulin Isotypes with Tumor Overexpressed Genes (TOG) determines cell division rate."
Q: What brought you to Iowa State?
A: Iowa State has a strong interdepartmental Microbiology program which is welcoming to students coming from diverse academic backgrounds. For instance, while possessing an engineering degree in Biotechnology, I received the opportunity to explore and finally choose from a wide variety of research labs, pursuing either basic or translational research in different fields, that piqued my interest.
Q: Describe your research in three sentences or less.
A: Eukaryotic cell division is mediated by a dynamic network of hundreds of polymeric, filamentous microtubules (MTs) that are often targeted by certain taxol-based chemotherapeutic drugs specifically in cancer patients to kill cancerous cells- which are known to divide uncontrollably with little regulation. But since both cancerous and normal cells contain microtubules, such a broad approach can pose high risk to the latter, healthy cell population and further compromise the patient's health. My research focuses on understanding how different alpha-tubulin isotypes, that build microtubules, differentially interact with a single, highly conserved, microtubule plus cell division regulator named Tumor Overexpressed Gene (TOG), to unearth potentially novel and specific therapeutic targets for creating “low-risk” cancer drugs in the near future.
Q: What do you hope to gain from Three Minute Thesis?
A: I hope to gain practice and experience in public speaking for professional development.
Q: Share a fun fact about yourself.
A: I have loved photography since childhood, which serendipitously led me to work in an imaging-based graduate work many decades later. I never would have anticipated that, and now it's my favorite part of this job!
Founded at the University of Queensland, Three Minute Thesis (3MT) challenges graduate students to present their research to a non-specialist audience in three minutes or less. Iowa State's eight finalists will compete in our final competition on Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. You can watch a livestream of the event on the Graduate College's Facebook page.