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Abhinandan Batra

Published: October 17th, 2016

Category: Student Spotlight

abhifinalAbhi is a senior student in the Rehabilitation Science program and is mentored by Dr. Krista Vandenborne

I am in the fifth year of my PhD program and it has truly been a fantastic ride. After finishing my masters program from Georgia State University, Atlanta, I wanted to pursue my career further as a researcher. One of the major factor that attracted me to the Rehabilitation science program at university of Florida is the vast array of the research that goes under one umbrella. I joined this program with a lot of enthusiasm and have worked with Dr. Krista Vandenborne and Dr. Glenn Walter, my remarkable mentors, who have always encouraged, guided, and helped me in achieving my goals.  The main research interest of the lab revolves around developing non invasive marker of disease progression in muscular dystrophy population. One of the main stronghold of rehabilitation science program and especially Dr. Vandenborne lab is the opportunity to do translational research, which has helped me hone my skills as a researcher, working with both animal model of disease and human population.  I always wanted to explore the possibility of decreasing patient suffering and have been lucky to conduct research with this amazing team. Working as part of a multidisciplinary Imaging DMD team has allowed me to learn about different work patterns, diverse ideologies, and greater aspects of knowledge. My experiences working with dystrophy community has been truly rewarding, despite their distress they always greet me with a smile. They teach me important life lessons and remind me to smile, something we sometimes forget due to our busy lives. This journey truly has been a fantastic experience.

Overall, this program provided me with various opportunities and platforms to present my research at both national and international meetings which has boosted my confidence and significantly enhanced my professional network.

My research focuses on the development of non invasive measures, specifically magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to examine disease progression in two different forms of muscular dystrophy (Collagen VI myopathy (COL VI) and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD)).  DMD and COL VI are progressive neuromuscular diseases that affect patient’s ability to walk and overall functional ability by affecting skeletal, respiratory and cardiac muscles.  Aim of my project is to examine the effect of disease on skeletal muscles, using MRI in these two dystrophic population and also if MRI as a tool can be sensitive to differentiate between these two different forms of dystrophies. Further, I am also interested in examining the effect of disease on cardiac muscles in DMD using MRI techniques.

Awards and Honors:

  • Pre Doctoral Fellowship, Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Center, University of Florida. (2015- Present)
  • Outstanding Poster Award at the New Directions in Biology and Disease of Skeletal Muscle Conference in Orlando, Florida (2016)
  • Graduate School Fellowship, University of Florida, (2012-2015).
  • Outstanding research award, PHHP graduate research day, University of Florida, (2014).
  • Outstanding research award, PHHP graduate research day, University of Florida, (2012).

Abstracts presented at the national conferences:

  • Batra A, Lott DJ, Abrogast J, Chrznawoski S, Willcocks RJ, William T, Schmalfuss C, Vandenborne KH, Walter GA. Relationship between cardiac muscle involvement and lower limb muscle composition in DMD. New Directions in Biology and Diseases of Skeletal Muscles conference, Orlando, 2016
  • Batra A, Vohra R, Chrznawoski S, Lott DJ, Walter G, Vandenborne K, Forbes SC. Effect of PDE5A inhibitors on muscle damage and performance during progressive low intensity training in mdx mice. Advances in Skeletal Muscle Biology in Health and Diseases. University of Florida, 2016
  • Batra A, Lott DJ, Willcocks RJ,  Forbes SC, Triplett WT,Dastgir JS, Sweeney HL, Bonnemann CG, Byrne B, Rooney W, Senesac CR, Wang DJ, Vandenborne K, Walter GA. Physiological changes in skeletal muscle of leg based on MRI and strength measures in children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Collagen VI myopathy. New Directions in Biology and Disease of Skeletal Muscle. Chicago, IL, 2014.
  • Batra A, Lott DJ, Willcocks RJ, Forbes SC, William T, Dastgir J, Sweeney L, Bonnemann CG, Byrne B, Rooney W, Senesac C, Wang DJ,  Vandenborne K, Walter GA. Cross sectional and contractile area comparison in children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Collagen VI myopathy. MDA conference, Washington, 2013.