Ph.D /MS(Engg.) /MS(Research)
Admissions 2020
  1. Molecular Biology and Genetics
  2. Evolutionary and Integrative Biology
Fee: Rs.500/- paid
NameAthira C C
App. No. PH461284
Program Ph.D /MS(Engg.) /MS(Research)
E-mail Address
Date of Birth 31/08/1997
Gender Female
Nationality Indian
State of Domicile Kerala
Place of Birth Kodungallur
Category Other Backward Class
OBC - Sub-Classification NCL (Non-Creamy Layer)
Subcategory None
Address Line 1 Chilambittaserry House, P.O. Panangad,
Address Line 2 Sreenarayanapuram
City Kodungallur
State Kerala
Pincode 680665
Mobile Number +91-9497068190
Are you Currently Employed? No
Qualifying Degree
Qualifying Degree Status Year of Passing
M.Sc. (Life Sciences) Passed 2020

National Examination
National Entrance Test Year and Month Roll Number Rank Score
JOINT CSIR UGC NET for JRF 2018 - 12 (UGC fellow only) 316692 76 114.5

Academic Details
12 std / PUC
Board (State/CBSE/ICSE)State Board of Higher Secondary Examinations, Kerala
Institution and PlaceHSS Panangad
Year of Passing2015
Aggregate Percentage98
Any Specific Comments
Marks in core subjects
Subject Percentage
Biology 100
Chemistry 99
Physics 99
Mathematics 98.5
10 std / SSLC
Board (State/CBSE/ICSE)State Board of Public Examinations, Kerala
Institution and PlaceHSS Panangad
Year of Passing2013
Aggregate Percentage98.8
Any Specific Comments
Marks in core subjects
Subject Percentage
Biology 100
Chemistry 100
Physics 100
Information Technology 100
Integrated M.Sc.
Mode of Admission
Admission Registration Number
Year wise/Semester wiseSemester
UniversityIndian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata
Institution and PlaceIndian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata
Major SubjectBiological sciences
Year of Passing2020
Aggregate Percentage84.7
Any Specific Comments
Year/Semester wise performance
1 8.11
2 7.92
3 8.24
4 8.27
5 8.22
6 8.19
7 8.34
8 8.36
9 8.41
10 8.47

1 Dr. Rahul Das (, Phone:033-66340000 Ex, Address:Assistant Professor,
Department of Biological Sciences,
Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata) - As a project Guide
Academic background to conduct research5
Comes up with innovative ideas4
Ability to work independently or problem solving5
Clarity of comprehension of concepts5
Communication skill4
Can work in company of others5
Emotional maturity4
Athira expressed an interest in studying the regulation of cellular signaling events at a molecular level. In my laboratory, Athira pursued a very interesting question to understand how does ZAP-70 and Syk, the two non-receptor tyrosine kinases found in T-cells and B-cells, respectively, recognize their binding partners at the membrane. Athira was accepted on her credentials in the Biochemistry and Biophysics courses. She worked on developing a mathematical model describing the allosteric interaction of the tandem SH2 domain of ZAP-70 to its ligand and plans to test the observation by using biochemical tools. I observed Athira has a strong inclination towards bench work. The data she generated will be part of a manuscript we are currently working on. Athira was admitted to the flagship academic program of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) through a highly competitive entrance examination. I am pleased to learn that She has decided to continue her studies and move on to join the graduate training. As an undergraduate researcher, she demonstrated the maturity to independently execute, analyze, interpret, and troubleshoot her experiments. She worked diligently to obtain a comprehensive overview of the scientific problem she was investigating. Notably, upon starting in my lab, she read the literature supplied and often asked questions that were always well-thought-out and insightful. She is clearly enthusiastic about the research, and rigorously pursued it. Given her performance in the overall courses in our Institute, I am confident that she would do well at your Department as well. If any further questions arise, please feel free to contact me.

2 Dr. Sreeramaiah Gangappa (, Phone:0336136000-1338, Address:Assistant Professor & Ramalingaswami Fellow
Department of Biological Sciences
Indian Institute of Science Education and research Kolkata) - As a Teacher
Academic background to conduct research5
Comes up with innovative ideas4
Ability to work independently or problem solving4
Clarity of comprehension of concepts5
Communication skill5
Can work in company of others5
Emotional maturity5
It gives me a great pleasure in writing this recommendation letter in support of Ms. Athira C. C.’s application for the Ph.D program at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore. Academically, she is an exceptionally meritorious student, as she was the recipient of the coveted INSPIRE-SHE fellowship, awarded by the DST, GOI. She then joined the five-year Bachelor of Science – Master of Science (BS-MS) dual degree course at IISER Kolkata, which helped her in strengthening basic knowledge in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Earth Sciences preparing her for studies in interdisciplinary sciences. She pursued Biological Sciences as her major in the final three years of BS-MS course and secured a excellent Grade Point Average (GPA) of 8.47 out of 10.00. She also served as a “Teaching Assistant” for the first-year course ‘Introductory Biology II’ taught by me and another faculty in the department. Athira had fruitful interactions with the students, and also helped the instructors in the effective delivery of the content, grading answers script and creating interest among students.&#rl;&#nl;Athira is very enthusiastic, hard-working and diligent in doing her responsibilities. She is very good in planning and executing tasks in disciplined manner as evident from thesis work caried out by her. She works efficiently and amicably in a team setting. Athira has a very good knowledge of English along with great verbal and written communication skills, and she has all the potential to be an outstanding researcher. With this background, I strongly recommend Athira C.C.’s application for a Ph.D position at your prestigious Institute. Please write to me if you want to know more about Athira C.C.&#rl;&#nl;&#rl;&#nl;Sincerely yours,&#rl;&#nl;Sreeramaiah N. Gangappa&#rl;&#nl;Assistant Professor&#rl;&#nl;IISER Kolkata

Question 1
What is it about research as a career that interests you the most? In which subject area(s) would you like to pursue research? What led you to choose this area of research?

Response to Question 1
Right from primary school, I expressed significant concern in nature and its secrets, and the passion for biology grew stronger with time. With a profound interest in basic science, I joined the integrated BS-MS program at IISER Kolkata. The interdisciplinary course structure allowed me to explore new perspectives in addressing a problem. To complement my theoretical training with practical experiences, I engaged in research projects during my summer breaks. My research experiences with Dr. Malabika Biswas at BITS Pilani and Prof. Hatha at CUSAT led me to develop a strong inclination towards molecular microbiology. For my master's thesis, I joined Dr. Rahul Das's molecular signaling lab in IISER Kolkata. I tried to elucidate the biphasic interaction of ZAP-70 with CD3ζ, two crucial proteins present at the beginning of T cell signaling.
Life at IISER Kolkata fortified my desire to be part of a research community working towards a better tomorrow. My experiences have made me believe that all experiments and discoveries are essential; even you might not precisely predict how it would benefit our society. The purpose of the invention is to connect the dots; eventually, it will lead to a bigger picture. I realize the importance of unraveling the molecular and cellular mechanisms behind different phenomenons and diseases to develop proper treatment and preventions. To continue my path in research, I fixed to pursue doctoral studies in molecular life science.

Question 2
Describe any project, or laboratory experiment, or research-oriented training programme that you have been involved in. Please highlight the aspects that you particularly enjoyed.

Response to Question 2
My master's thesis with Dr. Rahul Das at IISER Kolkata focused on ZAP-70, a Syk family kinase present at the beginning of T cell signaling. ZAP-70 activation upon binding to ITAMs of CD3ζ chains denotes the central event of T cell signaling. Being one of the primary proteins to respond to T cell receptor activation, ZAP-70 demands a thorough investigation of its structural and regulatory features. Interestingly ZAP-70 reported having nearly 2.5 times lower binding affinity towards ITAM ζ3 peptide than that of ITAM ζ1. Despite the high sequence similarity of all three CD3ζ ITAMs, why ZAP-70 displays differential binding affinities? My objective was to design experiments that will shed more light on the distinct interaction of ZAP-70 with ITAM ζ3 peptide. For that, I primarily expressed and purified the ZAP-70 tSH2 domain through Ni NTA affinity, anion exchange, and size exclusion chromatography. Later I employed intrinsic tryptophan fluorescence studies with ZAP-70 and CD3 Zeta ITAM-3 peptide and determined the binding affinities. Stopped flow and Isothermal titration calorimetry experiments gave kinetic and thermodynamic parameters, respectively. I also performed thermal denaturation studies to check the stability of binding. Our results show that ZAP-70 binds to ITAM ζ3 peptide via a biphasic binding pattern and a delay observed in contrast to ITAM ζ1. Delay indicates the possible regulatory role of CD3 ITAM ζ3.

Question 3
State the reasons on why you want to opt for JNCASR for your advanced research / academic studies.

Response to Question 3
While searching for an opportunity to work and excel in an enthusiastic research group, I found the Ph.D. program at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCSAR). I was instantly intrigued by the quality of ongoing research activities in microbiology and molecular biology. After obtaining my Ph.D. degree, I want to eventually mature into an independent researcher in an academic environment working on molecular microbiology interface. I believe being a Ph.D. student at JNCSAR is the perfect start I need to accomplish my goals.

Another factor determining the quality of research is the lab atmosphere. A supportive lab group and a healthy working environment can maintain an excellent mental state and help solve our problems more efficiently. Remarks of the current Ph.D. fellows are assuring, and I firmly believe that the Ph.D. program at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research will provide top-class research facilities and a nurturing environment.

I declare that all the information and entries of marks are correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. If admitted, I shall obey all the rules and regulations of the Centre.
Date of submission : 30-11-2020
Date of printing : 17-01-2021
Signature of the Applicant
Observation & Recommendation
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