Nidhi Satishkumar: Attacking the growing problem of antibiotic resistance
Nidhi Satishkumar, a Graduate Research Assistant in the Chatterjee Lab at IMET, has loved science for as long as she can remember. As a kid, she would come home from school and tell her mom all about what she had learned about biology, chemistry, and physics. She attended Fergusson college in India, where she discovered her particular area of interest – biotechnology. She liked the diversity of this curriculum and decided to pursue a master’s degree while interning at the R&D unit of Gennova Biopharmaceuticals. After explaining to her boss her interest in studying abroad, Nidhi’s boss was able to direct her to Professor Som Chatterjee, who introduced her to IMET. Nidhi is determined to contribute to science and to use her expertise in antibiotic resistance help millions of people around the world.
Today, Nidhi is working in the lab with Professor Som Chatterjee studying antibiotic resistance of Staphylococcus aureus. S. aureus is a major human health concern; it can cause infections and can lead to sepsis and death if it enters the bloodstream. She noticed that over time a multitude of people have contracted Staphylococcus aureus. Doctors have been struggling because S. aureus is increasingly developing resistance to the antibiotics we have traditionally used to treat it. Nidhi and her labmates study the pathways by which S. aureus develops this resistance. This knowledge could help us to prevent resistance from developing or to create new, more effective drugs. When Nidhi has finished her PhD program, she hopes to take her research and lab skills to work in a hospital or industry position, translating basic science into improvements in human health for the general public.
As Nidhi continues to develop as a researcher, she hopes to share her love of science with others. Her story may inspire the next generation to pursue a career in science. Nidhi said, “I feel that teaching students about how science can impact the future is important … I would encourage them to ask questions and help them see examples of how science changes the world…” Already, Nidhi is using science to address a significant and growing problem in human health, demonstrating the great impact that research can have on our future. These experiences from the lab will help her in her future jobs and to inspire the next generation of students.
-written by Joi Eubanks, Building STEPS intern