I am fascinated by the studies involving dietary interventions (especially natural products) to discover cures for diseases. The use of model systems, especially Caenorhabditis elegans (a roundworm), has emerged as a powerful tool to carry out pre-clinical evaluation of potential therapeutics. In my PhD, I utilized C. elegans, to evaluate prolongevity effects of dietary nutraceuticals. Later, I worked in the area of Endocannbinoid pharmacology in Switzerland, where I developed novel screens to identify natural compounds that modulate the endocannabinoid system. Back in the U.S., I started working in the area of rare diseases focused on Mitochondria at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). At CHOP, I interacted with patients, and helped generate models of diseases and collaborated with pharmaceutical companies to carry pre-clinical evaluation of drugs. Overall, I have worked in both industry and academia, spanning three continents. I developed extensive experience working in a variety of areas, ranging from pharmaceutical quality control and bioassay development to generating and studying disease models and developing high throughput platforms.
Currently, I am part of the “NeuroPlant” project which has brought together experts from diverse backgrounds, ranging from neuroscience, physiology, plant genomics and chemistry, to engineering and computational biology. The goal of this team is to leverage medicinal plants and animal behavior to identify new chemical and molecular entry points for the treatment of neurological and psychiatric disease.
Outside the lab I like to travel, try out new foods (especially chocolates) and do photography.