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Noopur Vilas Khobrekar
Graduate Student

I believe that genuine curiosity and tenacity which come only through earnest passion are foundational to research and lead to major advancement in science by inspiring innovation. As a member of the diverse scientific community at Columbia, I am eager to train at the frontiers of science where I can use the latest technology to solve the classic problems in Biology.

During my Masters in Biotechnology at Columbia University, I covered major areas of Biology including cell and cancer biology, genetics and physiology. Through this coursework, I was introduced to the research on protein mechanics and cellular mechanotransduction. After completing my Masters, I further pursued this research interest while working as a research assistant in Dr. Michael Sheetz' Lab. My project in the Sheetz lab was to observe the mechanical-induced stretching of GFP-mCherry labeled Focal adhesion Kinase - a cell adhesion protein - using live-cell super-resolution Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy. For the data analysis, I used a new super-resolution technique called Bayesian Analysis of bleaching and blinking (3B) which resolves the positions of individual fluorophores within as little as 30 nm. This project not only trained me in the fast-evolving field of live cell super-resolution microscopy but also gave me a hands-on experience in standardizing a new technique such as 3B to analyze the experimental data by carefully setting up parameters and designing better controls to obtain reliable and reproducible results.

As a graduate student at Columbia, I wish to further my knowledge and training to study the mechanics of individual proteins - especially molecular motors - in real time at the level of a single molecule to capture the ‘intermediates' that may elude us in static bulk studies. At the same time, having observed the plethora of research conducted in the labs here, I am keen to explore different areas in Biology with an open mind.

Noopur Khobrekar