Gyan Prakash (G3, Stirling Churchman lab)

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

I come from Rishikesh, India, nested in the Himalayans range and by the banks of the Ganges. Cultural diversity and pristine mountain trails with views of some of the highest mountain peaks are always a reason to visit. Not to mention, Indian street food and desserts are my callings to be back home more often.

What is your research focused on?

Mitochondria have their own genome and ribosomes that are required for synthesizing 13 core proteins of dual-origin oxidative phosphorylation complexes. Several subunits of the OXPHOS complexes are synthesized on the nuclear genome and cells coordinate the assembly of these complexes.
My work is focused on understanding the mechanism of mitochondrial gene expression, and how cells coordinate gene expression across the genomes. Further, we also focus on neurodegenerative diseases that manifest with mitochondrial dysfunction, where using iPSC neurons, we aim to understand how an imbalance in mito-nuclear coordination might lead to neurological disease.

What is your favorite part of your research?

The interdisciplinary nature of my research always makes it fun to work in teams, both within and across labs at Harvard. This helps in discussing and brainstorming hypotheses with fellow researchers and provides critical insights into results and experiments. Further, our lab is at the intersection of computational tool development, and integrating them with biochemical techniques makes it fun to keep delving further into mitochondrial biology.

How do you relax when you’re not working?

When not in the lab, I am mostly outside either biking (so many rail trials around Boston) squash, or boxing. Also, into lindy-hop and swing dance, always finding opportunities to enjoy some jazz and dance.