Bio: Sumitra is currently a third year Tetrad student in the Nystul lab. This year, she was a recipient of the Fletcher Jones Fellowship, which recognizes outstanding research achievement, and was elected Vice President of External Affairs for the UCSF Graduate and Professional Student Association. Prior to coming to UCSF, she graduated with honors from the University of California, Davis, receiving both a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Science in Cell Biology. At UC Davis, she worked as an undergraduate research assistant in several labs studying topics that ranged from zebrafish development, to plant biology, to the social factors that underlie racial disparities.
Current work: In the Nystul lab, Sumitra is investigating how epithelial stem cells are maintained during adulthood. Her current research is aimed at understanding how mutations that affect cellular stress response pathways cause stem cells to become hypercompetitive and spread through the tissue at abnormally high rates. This research will provide new insights into the genetic program that governs stem cell maintenance, and may be an important step toward the development of new cancer diagnostics that identify pre-cancerous stem cells before they develop into tumors.