I am a PhD graduate from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston. My PhD research involved solving fundamental biological problems using mathematical and computational tools. I have used mechanics based mathematical models and statistical physics based computer simulations to understand the mechanism behind HIV protein induced cell membrane softening. From the statistical analysis of the trajectory data of the atoms of the lipid cell membrane, we discovered that the structural rearrangements of the lipids around the HIV proteins cause the softening of the cell membranes. I also developed a mathematical model to understand how the curvature of a cell membrane influences the force of interaction between transmembrane proteins, the application of which is found in self assembly of proteins and drug design, gating of ion channels etc. Furthermore, I used statistical tools and statistical physics during my internship at Microsoft Research to develop protein structure based fitness functions for HIV, as a measure of intrinsic fitness of HIV. I am excited to leverage my quantitative background and artistic mind to pursue a career as a Data Scientist.
I am passionate about promoting science and computing among young girls for the betterment of society. I was a part of SWE (Society of Women Engineers), which fosters leadership and promotes the status of women in technology. Apart from scientific research, I am passionate about singing and have been training in classical voice for the last 2 years. Please visit my youtube channel for recent performances: Click here
1) My research paper titled “Revisiting the curvature-mediated interactions between proteins in biological membranes” published in Royal Society of Chemistry Soft Matter.
2) My research paper titled “Rigid proteins and softening of biological membranes — with application to HIV induced cell membrane softening” published in Scientific Reports Nature. It is placed among top 100 read Scientific Reports articles in 2016 among more than 20,000 published papers.
3) I received Schlumberger Faculty for the Future PhD Fellowship, a 50,000$ per year fellowship for women PhD students from developing countries. I am very excited to receive this fellowship and can’t wait to meet all the fellows at the Schlumberger Fellows Meeting in Boston this year (November 10-13, 2015).
4) I finished my summer internship at Microsoft Research, Redmond in the eScience Research Group with my mentor Jonathan Carlson. I worked on the research problem entitled “Structure as a measure of intrinsic fitness of HIV”, in which we researched on structure-based fitness of HIV. A big advantage of using structural approach is that it is independent of the host immune system and hence it really is an intrinsic fitness measure. I had lot of fun during the internship, and the beautiful Pacific Northwest of USA really mesmerized me!
5) I was selected for 65th Interdisciplinary Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting, held in Lindau, Germany (June 27-July3, 2015). This week long meeting is to inspire young scientists like me, so that we can better address the world’s pressing problems. The meeting was attended by 70 Nobel Laureated this year, the highest ever in any meeting. I was particularly excited to meet the Nobel Laureates Arieh Warshel (He got Nobel Prize for Soft Matter Simulations) and Kailash Satyarthi (Nobel Peace Prize winner from India).