I was raised in Chennai, India, but later moved to Hyderabad, where I attended high school. Here, my interest in microbiology research began during two internships at local biotech companies, where I observed basic research as well as large-scale biotechnology processes. This interest in microbiology research led me to obtain my bachelor’s degree in microbiology at the University of Minnesota (Go Gophers!). At UMN, I was fortunate to have many diverse research experiences, most recently working as a research technician in the lab of Dr. Christine Salomon. My work involved isolating and characterizing microbes from environmental samples, and screening these for activity against P. destructans, the causative agent of White Nose Syndrome (WNS) in bats. I also spent a summer interning at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, where I helped identify putative binding sites for a transcription factor involved in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
I am particularly interested in research involving vertebrate microbiomes, microbial ecology, and host-pathogen interactions. I would also like to develop the computational skills necessary for this kind of research. I chose Duke’s MGM program since the research interests of the faculty here aligned very closely with mine. During the interview weekend, I was struck by how friendly and approachable the faculty were, and enjoyed getting to explore the Duke campus along with the city. Ultimately, I chose Duke because it would give me many opportunities to grow as a scientist in my field of interest.
In my spare time, I like to hit the gym, explore local food and drink, read (biographies, journalism, science), and play the guitar. I also enjoy looking for interesting horror movies.