I am a senior undergraduate at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and a 2019 Khorana scholar.
My work at the Nowicki lab at Duke University involved exploring the effects of categorical colour perception on mate choice in zebra finches. Realistic animations of videos of singing males were used in a two-choice experimental set-up to determine the preference of females under highly controlled conditions. Data were also collected to investigate the role of luminance in categorical colour perception in these birds. I also picked up fieldwork techniques such as misnetting and banding/ tagging, essential for an ecologist. In addition, birdcare (handling and rearing of bird populations in the lab) comprised a major part of my learning experience in the lab. I was also exposed to the rich field of bird-song, another primary area of research in the lab. My work would help further current understanding of how animals perceive the world and influence our knowledge of the evolution of colour-based signals in the animal kingdom.
2018 Khorana Scholar who worked at Duke University under Ashutosh Chilkoti.
“I’m working on exploring the use of recombinant polypeptide to deliver platinum based anticancer therapeutics using Elastin like polypeptide (ELP). This involves cloning of bacteria, including its transformation with plasmids, plasmid extraction along with the expression of the protein in the transformed bacteria. This will be followed by characterisation of the protein and its conjunction with anti-neoplastic drugs.”
Varad is a final year medical student interested in developing technologies with public health applications. He is also interested in other aspects of public health such as health policy and the use of AI in public health. He wishes to work in the public health sector in India in the future. He was selected to develop low-cost diagnostic devices using immunological tools under Prof Ashutosh Chilkoti at Duke University.