Samhitha Raj

Samhitha Raj

I work on understanding the role of thyroid hormone in gene regulation in post embryonic brain development. Postembryonic brain development in vertebrates is critically dependent on thyroid hormone, an absence of which causes irreversible damage to the developing brain. Regulation of genes during early development might be influenced by stress, external and internal environmental factors and epigenetic changes. My research focuses on how thyroid hormone mediated genetic and epigenetic changes modulate the brain during various stages of development in vertebrates.

The most exciting part of research for me is designing an experiment. To ask a question, and figure steps out to logically explore the scientific question is just awesome! My second favorite part is teaching research.

The interesting thing about research to me is filling in the small pieces of a bigger puzzle. Specifically, for my research project, I get to study things that are so novel and poorly understood and I get to contribute to the understanding of molecular mechanisms of thyroid hormone and epigenetics.

Teaching has by far been the most exciting part of my career so far. I’ve enjoyed teaching research to undergraduates and interacting with them and explaining the logic and rationale behind experiments and troubleshooting.

U of M is a goldmine of resources and a fantastic place to do research. The environment at U of M is very collaborative and interdisciplinary. I’ve been able to find like-minded individuals that want to work together to inspire the next generation of students to pursue biology and I owe it to U of M.