From Research to Regulations
Dr. Mamta Naidu’s research focused on DNA damage repair and dose-response of progenitor cells and cell lines to low/ high LET radiation. Indian born Dr. Naidu started her career at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai, studying the effects of radio-detoxified lipopolysaccharide on immune cells. At the North Shore University Hospital-NYU School of Medicine she further explored autoimmune disorders in specific cell death mechanisms. After her post-doctoral fellowship at NYU, she joined the NASA Space Research Laboratory as its beam line scientist focusing on the effects of radiation on our neuroimmune system, as part of NASA’s Human Research Program.
As a NASA funded investigator, Dr. Naidu’s team showed that exposure of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells of spinal cord to fractionated dose of low/ high LET radiation, increased the base excision repair enzyme, Apurinic Endonuclease-1, skewed the differentiation of these progenitors into astrocytes as opposed to myelin forming oligodendrocytes, and resulted in cognitive deficits between 3-9 months post exposure.
Dr. Naidu’s team has solved few structures of Apurinic Endonuclease-1 with unfolding of the enzyme in presence of its thioxanthenone inhibitor, Lucanthone, under clinical trials in US. After being funded by NASA for 6 years, Dr. Naidu transitioned into a subject matter expert position of a Cancer Biology/ Immunology Expert at the Risk Assessment Division in Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency- HQ, where she has developed an SOP and white paper for labeling of new/ existing chemicals and microbial products as sensitizers and updating USEPA’s cancer assessment tool Oncologic. Dr. Naidu serves as a Panelist Reviewer on NASA, NSF and NIH study sections.
Dr. Naidu ascribes her success to her numerous mentors (onsite/ offsite) and sponsors who taught her to arrive at her regulatory decisions, solely on the basis of weight of evidence. She herself has been a mentor and sponsor to several colleagues and students. Dr. Naidu is the recipient of a NASA Space Radiobiology Research award and most recently, a mission award from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
A Scientist’s Journey: from research to regulation policies