School: Milken Institute School of Public Health
I grew up in Kolkata, India, where my parents still live. After high school I received a scholarship to a tiny college in West Virginia, and decided to come and see America. Small town West Virginia was a bit of a culture shock after Kolkata which is a lively, bustling, and extremely crowded city. But I settled there for a few years and completed my BS and MS. Afterwards I attended the University of Pittsburgh, School of Public Health, where I completed my PhD in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology. My focus at the University of Pittsburgh was characterizing the immune responses that occur in the brain shortly after HIV infection. This was the beginning of my interests in the HIV/AIDS field. Right after my PhD, I moved to Lebanon, New Hampshire (a very beautiful but very cold place) as a post-doctoral fellow in Dartmouth Medical School and started working in the area of HIV transmission in women. I have always been interested in women's rights and women's health issues; but it is at Dartmouth where my life-time research interests sharpened into focus as I figured out how I can use my scientific training to help protect women from HIV/AIDS. However, protecting women is so much more than laboratory science. Women in many cultures do not have the right to negotiate condom use with their partners and husbands and desperately need women-controlled methods to protect themselves against HIV and other sexually transmitted pathogens. During my time at GWU, I have also started to work with other high-risk and at-risk groups including transgender women and men. My goal is to utilize my scientific training to help develop such methods that will help and empower vulnerable populations.
When I am not working, I am reading! I am a voracious reader and gobble up just about every topic under the sun. My apartment suffers from a constant overflow of books and many have to be stored in my pantry!