Postdoctoral Alumni - Shruti Haralalka
After completing her postdoctoral training at the Stowers Institute, Shruti Haralalka, Ph.D., didn't travel far to find her next position. Haralalka remained in the Kansas City area to work at the global pharmaceutical company Ceva Sante Animale, whose U.S. headquarters are located in Lenexa, KS.
“I had wanted to work in industry after postdoctoral training,’ said Haralalka, a scientific auditor at Ceva. She collaborates with Ceva's quality assurance, statistics, regulatory, and R&D staff to write and audit the reports and protocols that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reviews before granting licenses for new poultry and swine vaccines. Her goal is to ensure that Ceva's submissions to the USDA are scientifically accurate and adhere to ethical and federal government regulations.
Haralalka has many personal and professional ties to the Kansas City area. Her husband, who gave up his job in their home country India to follow her to the U.S. when she joined the Institute in 2004, now holds a senior position at the Federal Reserve Bank’s offices in Kanas City. Their son was born in Kansas City. “We like the pace of the city and its lifestyle,” said Haralalka, who received her Ph.D. degree in molecular microbiology in 2003 at the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata, India. In addition, Haralalka is actively involved in the local scientific community as the founder of Leaders in Scientific Research in the Greater Kanas City Area. “I created this group with the intention to bridge the gap between academia and industry in Kansas City,” said Haralalka, also a member of the Kansas City Metropolitan Biotechnology Group, Heartland BioBreak, and the Project Management Institute’s chapter in Kansas City.
Haralalka credits her experiences at the Institute under the mentorship of former Associate Investigator Susan Abmayr, Ph.D., for the success she is experiencing in her position at Ceva. “At the Institute, I learned to be a successful project manager, critical thinker, and effective communicator,” Haralalka said. “In addition, Susan’s strong work ethic influenced my approach and attitude towards scientific research.” Indeed, her colleagues at Ceva, which she joined in early 2015, have praised Haralalka’s strong work ethic. “My Stowers training has made me a better scientist and given me the edge to compete with all the other brilliant minds out there,” she added.Haralalka, the first author of five scientific papers during her tenure at the Institute, is particularly proud of the study that she conducted with Abmayr on the protein Myoblast city, which governs the fusion of muscle cells into muscle fibers. “In fruit fly embryos, we found that Myoblast City functions exclusively in only one type of muscle cell, the fusion-competent myoblast, and directs the formation of actin at its contact site with the fly’s growing body wall musculature.” Scientists had previously assumed that Myoblast City and actin functioned in both fusion-competent myoblasts and growing muscle cells. She noted that the research would not have been possible without the involvement of the Stowers imaging core facility