I am Ankita Burman from Calcutta, which is a large metropolitan city in the eastern part of India. I completed my bachelors in zoology from Lady Brabourne College and my masters in Biophysics, Molecular Biology and Genetics from University of Calcutta. I entered the IGP in Fall 2011 and in May 2012, I joined Timothy Blackwell's lab and the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology.
Timothy Blackwell is a professor of Medicine, Cell and Developmental Biology and Cancer Biology. His group works in the broad areas of Lung Cancer and Pulmonary Fibrosis. After four rotations in different labs in different departments, I found this lab to be the perfect fit for me. I wanted to focus on a particular disease for my thesis reseach and probe its etiology, the molecular biology underlying its progression and potential therapeutic approaches - and I got the wonderful opportunity of studying pulmonary fibrosis in this lab. Moreover, during my rotation I found Tim to be an excellent mentor and also, the lab environment was extremely congenial. I joined the department of Cell and Developmental Biology (CDB) primarily because I am studying epithelial mesenchymal interactions in the lung which play a role in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and the courses offered by CDB are most suited to my research interests. Also, the seminars that CDB conducts would be in sync with my academic and research interests. I am looking forward to the exciting research that I would be doing, during the next few years in grad school.
What surprised me most as soon as I reached the US was the pristine beauty of Nashville. It is a green, quiet, beautiful city with undulating roads here and there! And the people here are really nice, friendly and very helpful. I am looking forward to living the dream which has been fulfilled... to begin my life as a full time PhD student, to learn to comprehend science with a more critical mindset, to find a lab where I can passionately and comfortably do science, to interact with so many different people and make new friends, and to work and relax in this huge and beautiful campus of Vanderbilt.
In 2013, Ankita was selected for the HHMI/VUMC Certificate Program in Molecular Medicine (CPMM).