Dr. Bahal was born and raised in India. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Punjabi University, Patiala. Further, he received his Master’s degree from Department of Medicinal Chemistry in National Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Drug Research (NIPER), Mohali.
He received his Ph.D in Nucleic Acid Chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University under the supervision of Prof. Danith H Ly. During Ph.D, his research was focused on the optimization of new generation gamma Peptide Nucleic Acids (gPNAs) as an effective tool for gene regulation. In independent projects, he demonstrated that genomic DNA can be targeted in a sequence unrestricted manner using new generation gPNAs (Bahal R. et al Chembiochem, 2012).
For postdoctoral training, he aspired to learn more about the therapeutic effects of PNAs, so, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Peter M. Glazer at Yale University, an expert in nucleic acid mediated gene repair. At Yale, his projects also involved an active collaboration with Dr. WM Saltzman (an expert in nanotechnology based applications). He independently established a PNA synthesis facility in the Glazer lab and showed that nanoparticle delivered gPNAs can be used as antisense and gene editing agents (Bahal R. et al Nature Communications, 2016). In collaboration, with Dr. Donald Engelman (Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale) and Dr. Frank Slack (presently at Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School), he successfully demonstrated that anti-microRNA PNAs can selectively target lymphomas in mice and inhibit their growth in vivo (Cheng CJ, Bahal R. et al Nature, 2015). He joined the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of Connecticut in August 2017 as an Assistant Professor.