Student Spotlight

 

What initially attracted you to biophysics?

I was interested in the interface between the three main areas of science, chemistry, physics, and biology. In the fi eld of biophysics, I am able to study and understand the physics and chemistry, in real-world applications in the areas of health and biology.

What is your current research project?

My current work focuses on the amyloidogenic peptides amylin and prostatic acid phosphatase, which relate to type II diabetes and HIV transmission, respectively. I have characterized these peptides’ interactions with model membrane systems by observing their lipid aggregation, fusion, and membrane disruptive abilities. My current focus is on understanding the kinetics and mechanism of amyloid fi ber formation. I am looking at specific physiological compounds that either inhibit or enhance the kinetics of fiber formation, and trying to determine, what changes in the body might cause these peptides to undergo aggregation and enhance their respective diseases.

What do you hope to do after graduation?

After graduation the choice I am facing is to either move into the industrial sector or stay in the field of academia. I am currently leaning towards moving into industry, in either the chemical or pharmaceutical fi elds, but am still open to pursuing an academic career.

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

This year, I got the opportunity to be a student mentor to an undergraduate student in the lab. In doing so, I was able to get a feel for the other side of the academic world as I planned experiments and pieced together the story of the concerned project, while also guiding the student through the challenges of working in the lab.

Why did you join the Biophysical Society?

I had a terrific opportunity to attend the 53rd Biophysical Society Meeting in Boston. This was a great experience and it kept me informed on what is happening in this field...I plan on continuing [my membership] throughout my scientific career.

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

As a chemist by training and a biophysicist in practice, had I not ventured into the science field, I always had the inclination to become a chef. I currently tend to cook a great deal, and have in the past, thought of pursuing this further.

Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy, Hartman’s PI, says:

“Based on my interaction with him so far in the lab, I can summarize that Kevin is an outstanding student with an exceptional commitment to research. He works very hard and is always hungry to learn a great deal of bioanalytical/biophysical aspects of membrane-related and amyloid-related biological problems. He has presented his research in the Biophysical Society conferences, given several excellent group-meeting presentations, and is a team player. I am sure that he will continue to accomplish a great deal of work as a graduate student and develop an outstanding thesis from these projects.”

October 2011 Table of Contents