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Alum profile: Sai

Sai Gourisankar
Plan II & Chemical Engineering
Class of 2015
Stanford School of Medicine



What do I currently do?

I’m working on my doctorate at Stanford, pursuing interdisciplinary research in Chemical Engineering and the School of Medicine. Our lab combines chemistry with human genetics and modern genomics to develop targeted therapeutics. One project I’m currently working on, for example, seeks to discover the pathway regulating a highly mutated family of genes in Autism Syndrome Disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Another focuses on developing targeted breast cancer drugs that lead to cancer-tissue-specific death. These studies’ commonality is in the details: both focus on epigenetic regulation.

How has a Plan II education helped me beyond the classroom?

More than anything, Plan II expanded my horizons of what I thought my future education and career(s) could be. I didn’t initially pursue research or science! After I graduated, I received a Rhodes Scholarship to attend the University of Oxford in the U.K. to do my masters in history and public policy. I worked briefly in a nonprofit in Boston, helping set up a fund to bring interventions that that had been successful in helping children and families in another, bigger city such as NYC or SF to replicate their work in other places with need, such as my hometown of Atlanta, GA. Now I’m working in research and hope to continue working on translational biotech. Plan II – with its seminars, mentors, and amazing fellow students – gave me the background that supported pursuing these diverse projects.

 

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