University of California San Diego
National Institutes of Health
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
As a school kid I enjoyed mathematics and physics, and ignored biology. I thought I had left biology for good when I opted for the mathematics stream in the last two years of school, and eventually joined an engineering college for a degree in computer science. However, it was during my four years (2000-2004) at IIT Kanpur, that I came to know of the exciting side of biology. Those were the years when the successful sequencing of the human genome was making news, and the consensus was that this data held the key to major biomedical advances. I thought my programming skills could be of some use.
After graduating from college, I joined the PhD program in bioinformatics and systems biology at the University of California, San Diego. My thesis focused on developing computational tools for data analysis in protein mass spectrometry. A collaborative project on identification of neuropeptides introduced me to the field of neuroscience. Soon I became engrossed in learning about the brain – it is fascinating how the movement of chemicals in brain cells leads to perceptions and behaviors! Two days after defending my thesis, I moved to department of Psychology as a post-doc, and eventually to the National Institutes of Health to learn the techniques of experimental neuroscience. After an enjoyable post-doctoral experience, I returned to IIT Kanpur where I am starting a neurophysiology lab, with the help of the Intermediate Fellowship, to study how sensory preferences are encoded in the brains of simple animals.