CURF – Introduction

Hello everyone! My name is Anoop Nallanagulagari and I am a junior in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. I am currently pursuing a major in Rehabilitation Science, a minor in Chemistry, and a certificate in the Conceptual Foundations of Medicine. Welcome to the first of a series of blog posts regarding my research on the Investigation of the role of ketogenesis in hepatocellular carcinoma. 

Growing up, I loved to play basketball. I found myself constantly drawn to the sport, especially shooting hoops with my friends. It was an outlet for me to relax after a long day of classes. One day, after an intense basketball match, I found myself feeling drained. After experiencing this repeatedly, I realized my performance was not at its best, and I was determined to figure out how I could better fuel my body to excel on the court. This led to me looking into various diets in order to optimize my athletic performance and improve my nutrition.

I eventually found myself immersed in the intricacies of the ketogenic diet, a popular diet used to manage weight loss and control blood sugar levels. As I delved deeper into this diet, I became increasingly aware of the role nutrition has on the human body. This understanding fueled my desire to expand my knowledge and comprehend the impact of dietary choices on individuals living with chronic conditions.This led me to join Ramakrishnan lab, where I am able to further investigate how ketone bodies, induced by ketogenesis, play a role in hepatocellular carcinoma and diabetes.

Prior research has suggested that a ketogenic diet may actually exacerbate liver cancer and ketogenic insufficiency will decrease tumor burden. These adverse effects can be quite problematic and suggest that the ketogenic diet may be more harmful than helpful. Through the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship, I will identify molecular mechanisms that determine ketone body regulation in mice models and determine what steps are instrumental in liver cancer and diabetes progression. CURF provides me with an outlet to not only verbalize my findings, but to also educate the community on the impacts of the ketogenic diet.

My research with Dr. Ramakrishnan particularly aligns with my career goals as it allows me to further understand the clinical relevance of varying nutritional diets. I am passionately dedicated to the field of medicine with a strong focus on promoting healthier lifestyles and nutritional choices. Through compassionate and personalized care, my goal is to build lasting relationships with patients, guiding them towards choices that align with their unique needs and goals. 

I look forward to sharing my research progress in future blog posts!

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