What initially attracted you to biophysics?

I was fascinated with biology since high school, but my passion for physics led me on a career path with physics as my major until I was introduced to biophysics. The interdisciplinary science gave me an opportunity to apply my knowledge of physics and optics on biological systems.

What specific areas are you studying?

I conduct high pressure and micro-spectroscopic studies at single-cell level to understand the effect of thermodynamic variables and pathological conditions at cellular level.

What is your current research project?

I am developing a novel approach to microabsorption spectroscopy and using it to study bio-assemblies at single-cell level. I employed this technique to investigate the growth of malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum inside a single erythrocyte.

What do you hope to do after graduation?

I plan to set up my own research and development company, which will develop and manufacture noninvasive optical techniques to study biological assemblies, micro fluidics, and forensics samples. I plan to specialize in developing new diagnostic measures employing simple optics.

What do you see as the biggest challenge as a student of biophysics?

Though the field has developed significantly, there exists a huge scope where researchers from biology and physics can put their heads together to explore new horizons.

Why did you join the Biophysical Society?

For me the Biophysical Society serves as a platform for exchanging ideas with experts in the field. It is really important for networking and possible collaborations.

When you’re not studying biophysics, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I love going out to nature trails and beaches. If not camping then I am cooking new dishes and watching movies in my spare time.

Alfons Schulte, Arora’s PI, says:

Silki has an unusual drive and initiative. She has bright ideas, overcomes all kinds of obstacles, and does amazing experiments. In her thesis research Silki developed a novel experimental approach for micro-absorption spectroscopy and high-pressure microscopy of single cells. She applied this to determine morphological, volume, and spectroscopic changes in individual red blood cells and erythrocytes infected with the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.”

December 2011 Table of Contents