Debjani Pal joined ORNL in 2022 as a Research and Development Staff Associate in radiotherapeutics after holding a postdoctoral research associate position in the Bioscience Division. Her primary research interest was understanding the molecular mechanism of the plasminogen-apple-nematode (PAN) domain-mediated immune signaling in cancer progression, COVID-19 infectivity, and plant immunity using multiple mammalian cell lines and transgenic plants. The discovery could result in the development of targeted cancer drug therapies with limited off-target effects.
She had previously worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, focused on two significant projects: dissecting the Anaphase Promoting Complex/Cyclosome (APC/C) role in glioblastoma stem cells and delineating the effects of the USP37-Chk1-Axis on the regulation of G1/S transition via the tumor suppressor form of the APC/C, APC/CCdh1. In addition, she did postdoctoral research in cancer biology, funded by the National Institutes of Health, at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. During her doctoral research, she radiolabeled proteins to characterize the Twin Arginine trafficking system in the thylakoid membrane of plants.
Debjani's focus now is on developing radiolabeled nanobody-based theranostics agents to fight cancer.
She holds an honors Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology with chemistry and physics and a Master of Science degree in microbiology from the University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India, where she also served as a lecturer in microbiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. She earned her doctorate in Protein Biochemistry from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
She is a member of the American Society of Plant Biologists. She judged the 2018 Hayes Graduate Research Forum at Ohio State University and has served as a reviewer for several journals, including "Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology," "Cancers," "Cells," "International Journal of Molecular Sciences," "Toxins" and "Cancer Reports."
2017 Excellence in Research- Best Post-Doctoral Trainee award from the Ohio State University College of Medicine.
2013 Travel award to present research at American Society of Plant Biologists Annual Meeting, Providence, Rhode Island (National Meeting)
2011 Outstanding Poster Award, American Society of Plant Biologists Midwestern Section Annual Meeting, Purdue University, Indiana (National Meeting). Published in media news.
Trademarks and Patents
Methods For Immunoregulation by Modulating Plasminogen-apple-nematode (PAN) Domain-containing Proteins. ORNL Ref: 4200.2. SSMP Ref: 38529. Commercialization Manager: Jennifer T Caldwell. Oak Ridge National Lab. Invention Disclosure accepted and patent published (Patent 17/012139)
A method to modulate protein ubiquitination, cellular internalization, and proteolysis. The provisional application for ID 5064 was filed on May 25, 2022, and assigned US Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 63/345,591 (Invention disclosure accepted and patent filed)