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Why did you choose the Biochemistry PhD program at A&M?
I knew I wanted to pursue a PhD in biochemistry but my B.S. is in Chemistry for Professional Chemists, so I was not sure exactly what research area I want to focus on in graduate school. What appealed to me about the program at Texas A&M was the opportunity to rotate through different labs for the first year so I could get exposure to biochemical research and choose the right lab for me. Also, the stipend is great considering the affordable cost of living in College Station.
How would you describe the atmosphere in the BIO BIO department?
I love the graduate program here at A&M. The atmosphere in the BioBio department is relaxed and I have always felt like I could seek advice from any BioBio faculty member.
How did the first year of the program help you prepare for your independent research project?
The classes taken in the first year of the BioBio grad program did an excellent job teaching me how to critically analyze the literature as well as exposing me to current biochemical techniques. I learned how to get the most out of every paper I read, which has really helped me outline experiments for my own independent research project.
How have your experiences in the BIO BIO graduate program shaped your thinking as a scientist?
My lab is located in the Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building (ILSB). The design of the ILSB allows for biologists, chemists, biochemists, and scientists from other disciplines to work out of the same building and share their expertise with each other. Being exposed to collaborations between scientists with diverse backgrounds has made me realize how much I enjoy this type of atmosphere, and I think that it is really important for science to keep moving in this direction instead of segregating ourselves according to our discipline.
What is the subject of your thesis research in the Gohil lab?
My current research is focused on studying the role of phospholipids in the biogenesis of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) complexes. Specifically, I am interested in elucidating the precise role of non-bilayer phospholipids, such as phosphatidylethanolamine, in OXPHOS function and formation. I am applying standard bioenergetic assays including oxygen consumption, membrane potential and pH measurements to unravel the role of phospholipids in mitochondrial physiology.
What is the best part about being part of the BIO BIO program?
The BioBio department has resources like the Protein Chemistry Laboratory, the Laboratory for Biological Mass Spectroscopy, and the Microscopy and Imaging Center, so students, like myself, have the opportunity to receive the training and support required for a successful project and are not limited by the methods they can utilize to address complex biological questions.