Kanika’s Journey Since 2013

I was a Khorana scholar in the summer of 2013 while pursuing my undergraduate degree in Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.

During this period, I interned in the lab of Prof. Aseem Ansari at University of Wisconsin, Madison. Simply saying that the Khorana program was a turning point in my scientific career would be an understatement. The program and the mentorship provided by Prof. Ansari dared me to dream big and instilled in me the confidence to pursue unexplored scientific territories. I worked on elucidating the mechanism of transcription factor-DNA binding specificities in the Ansari lab.

The opportunity not only exposed me to basic lab techniques but also gave me a sense of how to ask the right research question, something that has been very useful during my PhD. I am glad to be able to stay in touch with Prof. Ansari as well as other Khorana scholar alumni. This has expanded my reach of networking opportunities and given me lot of food for thought as to how I can use my skills, time and resources to give back to the community.

I completed my PhD in the labs of Prof. Elizabeth Villa and Prof. Kit Pogliano at University of California, San Diego in January 2020. During my PhD, I used novel modalities in the field of electron microscopy to look at the tiny molecular machineries which help bacteria grow and divide.

Currently, I am a post-doctoral candidate in the lab of Prof. Michael Fischbach at the Bioengineering Department at Stanford University where I will explore how the bacteria present in our gut influence our health and immune system.

I am always happy to connect with past (and future!) Khorana scholars at

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