What sparked your interest in science?
The summer before starting college, the Grinnell Science Project introduced me to the dynamic cytoskeleton during a one-on-one biology workshop where I learned to fluorescently label F-actin in C. elegans. I fell head over heels for microscopy and became inspired to learn more about the inimitable network of cytoskeletal polymers and molecular motors of the cell.
What attracted you to UC Berkeley?
As a California native, I was ecstatic to have such a fantastic research institution so close to home. I was impressed by the unbelievable, cutting-edge research, vibrant scientific community and strong commitment to STEM outreach. Scientists here highly value and encourage collaboration and inter-lab communication, which was a top priority of mine.
What are you currently working on in the lab?
I am currently studying the structure and function of microtubules and microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) using cryo-electron microscopy, under the mentorship of Dr. Eva Nogales and Dr. Rui Zhang. I have been introduced to advanced microscopy techniques and powerful image processing software to visualize proteins at atomic resolution.
Describe your ultimate dream/goal for your future.
Dr. Eva Nogales is an incredible role model. I hope to be a brilliant and influential scientist just like her. I plan to pursue a career that combines my passions for scientific research, grant-writing, teaching and STEM outreach. I hope to mentor others to not only share my research goals but also my vision to create a more diverse, empowered scientific workforce.
When I'm not in the lab, I can be found...
At CorePower Yoga! Pratyahara is #WHYIYOGA. I also love visiting and spending time with my family. I have five amazing younger siblings who all inspire me to be a better, more resilient person everyday.
If you could go back in time and give yourself a piece of advice during your first year in graduate school, what would you say?
I would say to keep an open mind because you never know which project you are going to fall head over heels for!