Postdoc Spotlight

Anu Nagarajan
University of Maryland, College Park
Silvina Matysiak’s Lab





Q: What field is your PhD in? 

I received my PhD in Biophysics from Johns Hopkins University where I gained an excellent foundation for a research career. I had the fortune of working with Tom Woolf and have greatly benefited from his guidance and mentorship. My research focus was studying the conformational changes in CaATPase (SERCA) using molecular dynamics simulations.

 Q: What is your current research project?

I am currently working on developing a novel multi-scale simulation method, which would allow simultaneous representations of different resolutions in the same system to reduce computational cost. This would enable large systems to be decomposed into sets of nested regions represented in different resolutions based on their relevance. In addition, I am studying the effect of varying length of polyQ repeats and flanking sequences of Huntington protein on the interaction with lipid bilayers and changes in their structure.

 Q: What skills and experiences have you gained/do you hope to gain from your postdoc position?

Working with Silvina Matysiak has been a tremendous learning experience. In addition to working on novel methods research, I have had the opportunity to write grants, co-teach a course, and mentor students in my lab. These experiences have been essential in my development as an independent researcher.

 Q: Tell us about a great experience or opportunity you’ve had in the past year?

I have had the opportunity to present my work in several platforms, including conferences and publications in premier journals. It was inspiring to receive positive reviews and encouragement of my work. I have also had the good fortune of meeting exceptional scientists, who have motivated me.

 Q: What do you hope the next step in your career path will be?

I plan to pursue a career in academic research and hope to make valuable contributions to science and to the education of students and junior researchers.

 Q: Why did you join the Biophysical Society?

The Biophysical Society Annual Meeting provides a great opportunity to present my research and get valuable feedback from my peers. The Society also provides a wonderful forum to network and meet the many inspiring people who are working in my field.

 Q: If you were not a biophysicist, what would you be?

I have been an Indian classical music student, and it has been my passion since childhood. If I were not a biophysicist, I would be a musician running a music school.

Silvina R. Matysiak, Anu’s PI says:

Anu joined my lab in fall 2011. She is an outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow and she has been key in helping me building my lab which is a little over two years old. Anu is becoming an amazing independent researcher, working on multiple projects and having a nice balance between them. Anu has expressed to me several times her interest in going back to her home country (India) and opening her own lab in a research-intensive university. I see a bright future ahead of her.

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April 2013 Table of Contents