Student Spotlight

What initially attracted you to biophysics?

I wanted to take an integrative approach to performing biomedical research. I knew more than just biochemistry would be needed to study proteins. I could combine my background in chemical engineering, along with the physical sciences, and my love for math to study the structure and function of ion channels.

What specific areas are you studying?

Structure and function of glutamate receptors.

What is your current research project?

We use ensemble and single molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer coupled with electrophysiology to study the functional consequences and conformational changes due to ligand binding.

What do you hope to do after graduation?

Although I enjoy the challenges of lab work and research, I am also looking into alternate careers. Patent law in particular is very attractive to me.
At this point I want to keep my options open.

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

Trying to get students not in the area of biophysics to share my passion for it. In particular I find it hard to convey the importance of doing basic biophysics to students and researchers doing applied drug discovery work.

Why did you join the Biophysical Society?

Networking. By attending the Biophysical Society meetings, I have had the chance to meet and discuss my project with some of the greatest
minds in Biophysics today. Not only do I get to share my ideas, I also get to learn about other peoples’ work and possibly form collaborations.

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

I am an ardent reader; I love to read fictional novels by authors like Robin Cook, Jeffrey Archer and Michael Crichton. I also enjoy listening to music during my spare time.

Vasanthi Jayaraman, Rambhadran’s PI, says:

“In my opinion Anu is a perfect role model for students. She is not only involved in her projects but actively participates in all the projects in the
lab, troubleshooting and providing new ideas. Her success is evident from the fact that she has eight publications and is graduating with a PhD
in three years. She also sets a good example for women students who are worried about worklife balance— she will be having her fi rst child
a month after she defends her thesis this summer. Who says you can’t do it all!”

May 2011 Table of Contents