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Student successes in graduate school: Krystal BreslinAsma Beiraghi Salek

Asma Beiraghi Salek | Ph.D. Student, Biology | Biology Department I am incredibly passionate about Forensic Science and when I read about the work that Dr. Susan Walsh and her collaborators were doing, I knew I wanted to be a part of that kind of advancement in the field.

What degree are you working toward?

Ph.D. in Biology

Why did you choose graduate school at IUPUI?

When applying to MSc programs in 2013 I chose IUPUI for several reasons. The Biology Department at IUPUI provides all students in the MSc thesis program with full financial support. Moreover, I was highly interested in Neuroscience and IUPUI has many faculty doing excellent neuroscience research. Here I found my exact area of interest in Dr. Baucum’s lab studying synaptic connectivity and dysfunctionalities, specifically in neurodegenerative disease. After graduating with my MSc, I decided Dr. Baucum’s lab was a very inviting place to do research. His eagerness to new ideas, his excellent support of his students and his ambition all convinced me to stick around for my PhD.

What has been your favorite academic accomplishment since you’ve been here?

There have been many great opportunities at IUPUI to help me excel at being the best scientist possible. This includes travel awards to national meetings where I presented my work to others scientists, some of whom are leaders in the field of neuroscience. Other opportunities, such as teaching different lab courses or my involvement as vice president of the Biology Graduate Organization have been invaluable to my growth as a scientist. All of these opportunities can be distilled down into my favorite accomplishment of being honored with the outstanding master’s thesis award at IUPUI.

What do you enjoy most about life in Indianapolis?

I love being around nature, especially animals and birds. I always energized from surrounding myself with different types of plants and animals. This is what I like about Indy. It has all this beautiful nature embedded in city. Beside the beautiful nature of Indy, I enjoy the people here at IUPUI; my advisor, our lab manager, my great lab mates and all the awesome friends that I have here, all are part of the beauty of my life here in Indianapolis. I cannot explain how much love, care and support I have received from them.

Please provide some details about your work/research as a graduate student and/or any activities you are involved in.

My research focuses on the interactions between various synaptic proteins in neuronal cells. Healthy brain function is a result of proper connectivity of neurons which is primarily dictated by proper organization of synaptic proteins. Any change in the interactions between synaptic proteins can lead to an alteration in normal brain function. My research tries to uncover the molecular and cellular basics of some of the protein-protein interactions that underlie important pathways in learning and memory. These findings allow for a better understanding of the molecular basis of number of brain functions and can also pave the way to understand a number of brain dysfunctionalities.

Asma is also a recipient of the IUPUI Travel Fellowship award. Read more about her Travel Fellowship here »

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