|Divya G. Shastry
Biochemistry & Biophysics
With so many members of my family being doctors, engineers, and scientists, I always knew that I would pursue further education after getting an undergraduate degree. The School of Science Accelerated BS/PhD program allows me to actively and realistically pursue the idea of obtaining a PhD by the time I am 25. I have always been interested in the biological sciences and biological engineering and at RPI, I feel that the interdisciplinary approach to research allows me to have an integrated experience: here, I can both do science as well as see the direct application of my research.
Since my father received Master’s and PhD degrees from RPI and my sister received a bachelor’s degree from here, I luckily had a great deal of information about RPI before and after starting here as an undergrad. When I heard about the Accelerated PhD program, I decided to take a shot and apply: the idea of starting research early with a fixed goal in mind strongly appealed to me.
After completing rotations in the labs of Dr. Robert Linhardt and Dr. Patrick Maxwell, I joined Dr. Pankaj Karande’s lab in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering last year (at the beginning of my junior year), where I am co-advised by Dr. Karande and Dr. Linhardt. During my rotation in the Karande lab, I was introduced to a project involving targeted drug delivery through the blood brain barrier. I am currently working on E. coli expression studies to optimize protein production for use in in vitro studies of drug transport across the blood brain barrier. I will be working on engineering peptides for drug purification as I finish my undergraduate studies and transition to graduate status.
Outside of research, I am involved in the Women’s Mentor Program, Tri-Beta Biological Honors Society, and the Indian Student’s Association. I am also a member of RPI’s symphonic band, where I play the flute.
Through the Accelerated Program, I feel that I can be a part of the quest to understand how the world works - in anything from uncovering minute mechanisms in a cell to taking a step in the large war against cancer - in an exciting and unique research opportunity.