I obtained my undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the University of Madras in India, where I was placed second in the state for academic excellence. I then obtained my Masters in Biochemistry from the same University. I then obtained my Ph.D in cell and molecular biology under the guidance of Dr. Lara Mahal at UT Austin. My thesis focused on deciphering the identity of carbohydrates present in the cell surface using microarrays of carbohydrate binding proteins called lectins. We established that viruses such as HIV mask themselves from the immune system by decorating their surface with sugars similar to that of the host cell surface. The cohort of sugars found in the viruses were also remarkably similar to small immunomodulatory vesicles that cells natively produce, thus providing another mechanism for immune evasion. Inspired by the use of chemical and analytical tools to understand biological systems, I joined the lab of Chris Chang to gain experience in the creation and application of
such tools in diverse biological systems. Currently, I am interested in the use of fluorescent probes to understand cellular signaling in disease states such as diabetes and cancer.