City Girls' Study on Cinnamon vs Cancer Goes International
By Rahul V Pisharody | Published: 08th January 2014 08:04 AM |
At 18, these two young girls have achieved something most of their counterparts could not even dream of. Under graduate students of St Ann’s College for Women, Mehdipatnam, Zehra Fatima and Battul Shabbir not only succeeded in finding the anti-cancer agent properties of ‘Cinnamon’ but also got a paper published in an international journal with remarks “accept in current state.” The support and guidance from their head of department Dr V Venugopal Rao, is what they think made the impossible, possible.
Their paper on ‘Studies on Renaturation Kinetics of DNA on addition of Cinnamon Extracts’ was published in the December 2013 issue of International Journal of Scientific and Engineering Research. The journal rated the study 4 out of 5 in terms of originality of content, technical quality and clarity of presentation and 3 out of 5 in terms of significance of contribution.
Their more than elated guide, Venugopal Rao, points out that the significance of the research lies in the fact that these students have fought against all odds in terms of age, family, funds, etc and would inspire more and more youngsters to turn to research, which he said was the need of the hour. It was the first time from the college a student’s research paper was published in an international journal. Following their success, now more and more students are aiming high and dreaming big.
The project was conceived by Zehra and Rao and initiated in last September. Ask Zehra what drove her towards her goal, she has another tale to add. It was the urge to prove herself before her family and show that there is something more in life than courses in medicine and engineering. ‘’After my Intermediate, I could not get into MBBS as my parents had wanted. I was interested in genetics and research and, I wanted to prove myself,” says Fatima, who dedicated her success to her parents on their wedding anniversary earlier.
The study, partially funded by the college, intended to find out the effect of cinnamon extracts used at different concentrations on denatured DNA. Cancer can be due to damaged DNA in human cells. ‘’We applied cinnamon extracts on the damaged DNA from onion root cells and found that the extract could repair the DNA. We could find that the density of DNA decreased in different concentrations of Sodium Hydroxide solution. More the incubation, more was the repair to the damaged DNA,” she explained.
According to her, however, the core idea behind the research was to try to explore the fact that ‘’each and every creation of God is beneficial in its own way.”
Hailing from a traditional Hyderabadi family, and clock ticking fast towards marriage, Fatima says she would not be able to pursue further research and would settle for an MBA in hospital management. But, she is determined to continue her research with RDNA technology before the end of her under graduation.