Student Profile - Jay Jha

Jay completed his PhD in 2014 with the Baker Institute. Dr Jha now works as a research fellow in the Monash Department of Diabetes in the Diabetes and Kidney Disease Group. This interview was originally published in 2014.

Jay is a PhD student at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute and his research is based on the complications of diabetes, especially in relation to kidney disease. Jay's supervisor is Professor Karin Jandeleit-Dahm.

What is your research about?
Basically my research is about the complications of diabetes. People with diabetes have macrovascular complications such as cardiomyopathy and atherosclerosis as well as microvascular complications such as diabetic nephropathy, retinopathy and peripheral neuropathy. My research project focuses on diabetic nephropathy (DN), a chronic kidney disease which is the most common complications of diabetes and is the leading cause of kidney failure at late stage. The prevalence of diabetes is increasing day by day; however, we don’t have the cure for its various complications. Because of this, the morbidity and mortality rate is high worldwide. In my PhD, I am basically involved in pre-clinical research work which involves the use of various diabetic animal models and cell culture work. I am a basic scientist and my role is to find out the basic fundamental mechanisms which are involved in the pathogenesis of kidney disease in diabetes. Interactions between metabolic factors such as chronic hyperglycemia and hemodynamic factors are the leading cause of the development and progression of DN. However, it remains poorly understood that what intermediates are involved in this process. In recent years, it has been emerged that NADPH oxidase (Nox) derived ROS (reactive oxygen species) causing increase oxidative stress plays a crucial role in the development and progression of DN.  Oxidative stress is the imbalance between the oxidant and the antioxidant and my project defines the role of Nox, particularly the Nox1 and Nox4 in DN. Recently I have shown that it is the Nox4 mediated oxidative stress pathway that is predominantly involved in the development and progression of diabetic kidney disease.

Jay Jha

A visual summary of Jay's work

Who is your supervisor and what is your favourite thing about them?
Professor Karin Jandeleit-Dahm. She is very generous and helpful. It is very important to have a good relationship with your supervisor because they are your mentor.

What was your first job?
I am from a laboratory medicine background, I finished my Bachelor of Laboratory Medicine in 2004 and then I worked as a medical scientist. I worked there for more than a year in the diagnostic pathology laboratory and then I got an opportunity to do my masters in medical biochemistry. Soon after completion of my masters, I got an opportunity to work in the biochemistry lab as well as teaching biochemistry to undergraduate medical student.

What brought you to Australia?
Before moving to Australia, I got an opportunity to get some research experience in Germany. I applied for the PhD scholarship and I was lucky to receive an international postgraduate research award (IPRS) by Monash University and later on APA. I also worked as a research assistant in the same lab where I am doing my PhD, so it’s been a long journey.

What is your favourite place in the world?
Pokhara, in my home country. It is a wonderful place with full of natural beauties. There is a very famous lake where you can see the shadow of Annapurna Himalayas in it. It is a beautiful city.

What will you do when you finish your research?
I am very open towards future job prospective. I like pre-clinical research but at the same time I would like to work for clinical research too. I enjoy teaching, so I would prefer to work in the department associated with the university so that I can get the opportunity of teaching to some point. I love interacting with students; it’s one of my passions.

What advice would you give a student who is about to start their PhD?
You have to be very wise in selecting the lab and choosing your PhD research project as well as your supervisor. There is not a lot of funding for research projects these days so you need to be very careful in deciding your future carrier. If you are passionate about the science and innovations then go for it.  Last but not the least, in research you have to be very dedicated and committed towards work and you require a well balanced work and personal life.