Dr. Somdutta Saha received did her formal education in India and in the U.S.A. In 2004, she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from The University of Calcutta in Kolkata, India. In 2006, she completed her Master of Science degree in Bioinformatics from The West Bengal University of Technology in Kolkata, India. She first entered the United States in August of 2008 in order to pursue her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Bioinformatics at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, in Little Rock, Arkansas. On December 14, 2013, she received her Ph.D. degree in Bioinformatics jointly from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
She has over 7 years of experience working as computational biology scientist in the field of early stage drug discovery using novel therapeutics - spanning the entire spectrum of candidate molecule selection screening and optimization. As part of doctoral studies, she investigated the structures of receptors/targets that will provide us with an effective tool for the development of cancer immunotherapeutics. Targeted therapies are expected to be more effective than current treatments and less harmful to normal cells. The advent of therapies based on mechanisms that target critical molecular pathways of tumors has evoked considerable interest. There is a growing number of FDA approved monoclonal antibodies and small molecules targeting specific types of cancer suggestive of the growing relevance of this therapeutic approach. Targeted cancer therapies, also referred to as "Personalized Medicine", are being studied for use alone, in combination with other targeted therapies, and in combination with chemotherapy. Targeted therapy blocks the growth of cancer cells by interfering with specific targeted molecules needed for carcinogenesis and tumor growth, rather than by simply interfering with all rapidly dividing cells. Her dissertation primarily focused on the structural aspects of targeted therapy and can be broadly categorized into comparing the molecular details of interactions with integration of information, exploring and investigating the origins of antibody polyspecificity – important for developing antibody-targeting therapeutics and how to design small molecules – peptides based upon antibodies as a therapeutic lead. Her dissertation vividly describes designing ligands (peptides) for carbohydrate targets and may be expanded for clinical relevance. Designing peptidyl ligand targeting glycan antigens is a promising concept that uses mimicry as a functional tool to target these antigens. This mimicry suggests that peptidyl based ligands emulate carbohydrate-carbohydrate interactions as well as being small molecular forms of antibodies and lectins. Here, they have designed one such peptide and tested its binding parameters in silico and later validated with experimental observations. It was also tested for biological activity in the lab. Such results are important as we develop topical formulations that might affect tumor growth.
In her present role as post-doctoral scientist at GlaxoSmithKline Plc., she is responsible for performing computational biological analysis to search for new candidate molecules for treatment of gut related human disorders like Chron’s Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, obesity etc. There is a huge unmet need for finding new strategies to cure these autoimmune disorders. She works at the cutting edge of a very innovative science - the field of microbiome that is effectively striving to take the world of drug discovery at a new level keeping the wellness of patients in mind. Additionally, she also established a scientific profile through high-caliber publications in peer-reviewed journals and through conference presentations in the past and also in the future.
Computational Biology; Computational and Structural Chemistry; Structure based drug design; Immuno-informatics and Microbiome research.