Cyrianne Keutcha (G5, Duraisingh Lab)

Where are you from and what do you enjoy most about your hometown?

I have two hometowns! My first and original hometown is Bafoussam, a city in Cameroon, Central Africa. Bafoussam provided a great community and growing up in such a community gave me a self-worth that made me. My second hometown is Atlanta, Georgia, where I moved when I was 14 years old. A center for Black American wealth, higher education, the civil rights movement, and culture. I really enjoyed living in Atlanta because I learned and experienced all the city had to offer.

What is your research focused on? 

I study the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, which causes the most deadly form of malaria. Malaria is a global health burden, especially in tropical regions i.e., Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia. My research focuses on understanding the functional role of novel invasion ligands in P. falciparum using reverse genetics in erythroid cells and forward genetics in the malaria parasite.

What is your favorite part of your research?

My favorite part of doing research is being a part of my lab’s community. Malaria genetics is complex, and talking through these challenges with my lab is critical for untangling these difficulties in my work. Additionally, I have long been intrigued by the genetic manipulation of erythroid cells to study key host determinants in invasion, and now I get to work on this question full time!

How do you relax when you’re not working?

I enjoy hiking, reading, hanging out with friends, going to the theater, and trying new things in my free time.

Tell us about an activity outside of lab you’re involved in and why it’s important to you

I am one of the executive directors of The Health Professions Recruitment & Exposure Program (HPREP). HPREP is a high school science enrichment program that recruits high school students from underserved and underrepresented backgrounds in the Boston area, into science and medicine. My journey in science was enhanced by all the mentors that shared their time and knowledge with me and volunteering with HPREP allows me to pay it forward.