Indian Institute Of Technology, Kanpur
Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
I am a chemical engineer by training. I did my PhD from IIT Kanpur in soft mechanics and microfluidics with Porf. Animangsu Ghatak and Prof. Ashutosh Sharma. As the questions of biology always used to fascinate me, I decided during my PhD itself that exploring biological problems for Post-doctoral research should be my next step before starting my own lab. Thankfully, I found that opportunity in Prof. Jyotsna Dhawan’s lab in InStem Bangalore where I joined as a post-doctoral fellow in 2010.
After spending two years in Jyotsna’s lab, I wrote DBT-WT IA grant and received the fellowship in 2012. However I deferred the starting of my fellowship for almost an year as I wanted to spend a few months in Prof. Jeff Karp's lab at MIT where I worked on micro fabricated devices for cell biology studies.
Aim of my DBT-WT ECF grant is to understand how cells sense their mechanical environment and how they process these mechanical signals into bio-chemical ones. To address these questions, I am using my knowledge of material science and soft mechanics combined with my experience in cell biology. I change the mechanical and geometric environment of cells and measures the effect on cellular morphology and function. I am trying to map cellular response against physical parameters and to identify their critical limits. In coming years, I would like to study mechano-transduction i.e. how the stress at the outermost focal adhesions alters genetic regulation.
I joined IIT Bombay in 2014 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering. In my research group, we work with materials of different mechanical and geometric properties and ask the question how material property of the surrounding environment governs stem cell functioning. Understanding biology using engineering principles is the central theme and aspiration of my research.