Name: Riva Verma
Mentor: Ian G. Macara, Ph.D.
Hey! My name is Riva Verma. I am an Undergraduate Student at the Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India. I am about to enter the final year of my 5-year Dual (B.Tech and M.Tech) degree.
I found about VISRA through a few acquaintances who held high regard for the quality of training and education at the Vanderbilt University. I chose VISRA over other internship opportunities I had because of the kind of interaction and environment offered at the Institute and I could not have been more satisfied by my decision. Further, the social activities covered as a part of the Summer schedule, designed to keep us motivated, helped us to build our social circles as well and maintain the perfect work-fun balance!
At Vanderbilt, I am working the lab of Dr. Ian Macara, Louise B. McGavock Professor, and Chair, Dept. of Cell and Developmental Biology. There are currently two major research projects underway in our lab: One on the mechanisms that determine the polarization of mammalian epithelial cells, particularly in mammary gland morphogenesis and in breast cancer initiation and metastasis; and another on the role of septins in cell polarity and DNA repair. My project particularly deals with the knock-down of Par-3, a protein essential for establishing polarity in epithelial cells, the absence of which may lead to cancer development. A part of my project deals with cloning of shMAGI-1, a novel protein from drosophila, and its role in polarity development in such cells.
After I finish my degree, I intend to go for doctorate studies in the United States. The GRE sessions that VISRA offers goes a long way in helping me achieve my dream. According to me, Vanderbilt as an Institution, in terms of Infrastructure and the quality of education, is one the best that one could ever dream to be a part of. Besides, the campus being located at the heart of Nashville, the city of music, and being well connected to the city areas, turns out to be a paradise for Music lovers amongst the Cowboy hats and boots! The kind of environment I got to experience here was unique and for anyone who wants to go for further studies or wants to gain practical knowledge of science, a well-crafted program such as this is a must. I am thankful to all the people I have been associated with for making the entire experience invaluable for me.