Bio junior wins Goldwater Scholarship

04-05-2016

Author(s): Tim Brouk

Shovik

Shovik Bandyopadhyay’s collaborative research and publishing opportunities made the honors Biological Sciences junior a clear choice for a Goldwater scholarship, which are awarded to college students pursuing research careers in science, mathematics or engineering.

A St. Louis native, Bandyopadhyay started research just months into his Purdue career. He’s been based in Ji-Xin Cheng’s lab, located in the Martin Jischke Hall of Biomedical Engineering.

“The lab itself has its various focuses on a tool called Raman spectroscopy,” Bandyopadhyay explained. “It lets us image the metabolism of cells. Specifically, what’s in interest to us is the cholesterol metabolism. I’m part of a team that uses these spectroscopic techniques to image cholesterol metabolism in cancer.”

Bandyopadhyay’s lab duties include culturing cancer cells and treating them with different conditions. He prepares the cells for live cholesterol metabolism imaging from the Raman laser spectrometer in Cheng’s lab.

Bandyopadhyay’s first project took much of the past two years but he produced a poster during his sophomore year and has since submitted a paper to Blood, the nation’s top hematology journal. His work was in collaboration with Washington University in St. Louis. It looks at combination therapy for resistant leukemia from the cholesterol metabolism imaging from Cheng’s lab. During summers, Bandyopadhyay used Washington’s signaling labs to come up with interesting results.

“By combing those two aspects, we were able to propose a combination therapy,” Bandyopadhyay said. “That’s what I love about this lab: We have chemists; we have engineers; we have biologists. Dr. Cheng really values this interdisciplinary approach to research, which I think is something about Purdue that is really cool.”

Bandyopadhyay is appreciative of the “unique” emphasis the College of Science puts on undergraduate research, especially so early in a student’s career. Freshmen and sophomores don’t have to wait to find experience in labs.

“At Purdue, it’s not only available, it’s encouraged,” he said.

Bandyopadhyay said the Goldwater scholarship will help fund his senior year at Purdue, which should then propel him to more research and medical school.

Bandyopadhyay is also up for the Astronaut Foundation scholarship, which is awarded to students pursuing education and careers in STEM fields. Bandyopadhyay recently penned a chapter in the upcoming Springer textbook “Kinase Signaling Networks in the “Methods in Molecular Biology” series.

“It’s really about opportunities,” Bandyopadhyay said. “There’s nothing that I’m doing that any other Purdue students couldn’t do. It’s seeking out opportunities and PI’s that are trusting and generous enough to give you those opportunities.”

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