Indian Institute of Science Education and Research
Back in January of 2020, just weeks before the COVID-19 virus hit India, Amruta Swaminathan attended the Asia-Pacific Drosophila Research Conference held in Pune. While there, “a very exciting poster from the Gibson lab” got her attention, leading her to look up the relevant publication and discover the Stowers Institute.
She chose the Grad School at Stowers primarily because of the variety of science being done in the labs, but she’s also excited to be part of a diverse community, since she’s never lived outside of India before. “It never ceases to amaze me how different all our cultural backgrounds are, yet how much we share in terms of our thoughts, emotions, fears – and of course, passion for science,” she says.
Swaminathan fell into her love for science in high school. Finding her textbooks inadequate, she turned to college textbooks to get a better understanding of subjects like physics and found “a passion for devouring these excellently written texts that helped me see the beauty and elegance in all the sciences.”
During her undergrad at the Indian Institute of Science Education at Research (IISER), Swaminathan spent a year in a computational biology lab, studying properties of human T lymphocytes. From there she went to the Morphogenesis and Differentiation lab at IISER, where she did her master’s thesis work on understanding the role of non-muscle myosin II in cortical actin remodeling in fruit flies. She graduated in 2021 with BS-MS dual degree in biology.
While at Stowers, she hopes to balance her developmental biology experience with time spent learning more about evolutionary biology. “I think both these areas are extremely beautiful because they hold the answers to the ultimate questions that biology tries to answer - what life is and how it came to be the way it is,” says Swaminathan.
In her free time, Swaminathan says she enjoys “experimenting in my kitchen – sometimes with near-disastrous results!” She also pursues passions for music, singing, and writing stories.