Gayahtri Vijayakumar


"On one of my first commutes to the School of Engineering I saw the following quote by Stephen Hawking plastered on the train wall, “The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner, but that they reflect a certain underlying order, which may or may not be divinely inspired.” Then and there I knew I was in the right place! The following two years of my graduate studies had a profound impact in my professional, intellectual, and personal growth, justifying my decision to pursue a career in the life sciences. The School of Engineering MS program is the best way to prepare for a future in research, industry, or entrepreneurship.

The world is an uncertain place, but the education I gained from exceptional professors prepared me to think outside of the box. Projects assigned in my courses required familiarity with cutting-edge technology. For example, taking a drug through the developmental process helped me learn the fundamentals of therapeutic design, troubleshooting and implementation. My courses taught me practical knowledge, but it was my internships with the Basic Science Department that prepared me for industry. Under Dr. Nicola C. Partridge, at the NYU College of Dentistry, I worked on bone biology investigating the effects of Wnt signaling in Mesenchymal stem cells, as well as the role PTH plays in the bone micro-environment.

With increased confidence in my lab skills I was able to secure a Research Associate position at Weill Cornell Medical College after graduation. Building on the work from my internship, I continue to explore Wnt signaling in relation to breast cancer. In the future I hope to do my graduate studies in Immunology and Virology and uncover the mysteries of viruses, the most efficient killing machine at only a nanometer in diameter."