Gunjan M. Kukreja, PhD, MSc, Research Associate 2, MS & Lab Manager, Internal Medicine (Sadeghi Lab)
What is your role at Yale School of Medicine?
I work in the Sadeghi lab in the Yale Cardiovascular Research Center (YCVRC) as a Research Associate 2.
Have you been involved in any projects that you are particularly proud of?
I am currently working on a project where we are using a novel tracer that targets collagen turnover, which will enable us to detect early stages of matrix remodeling and track pulmonary fibrosis. This project has a huge diagnostic significance.
A paper from our lab was recently published in Circulation Research on the role of macrophage elastase in vascular integrity. I have worked at establishing a preclinical model that we used for these experiments.
Overall, there are a lot of interesting projects in my lab, and being a lab manager as well as research associate, I am involved in most of the projects in some way. There is a lot of exciting work that we are part of that I am particularly proud of. I am also proud of managing a lab across two locations, one at YCVRC and one at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, and maintaining a close-knit unit despite the lab members being spread across two locations.
Why did you decide to work at Yale School of Medicine (YSM)?
Yale School of Medicine is one of the world’s leading centers for biomedical research. I am involved firsthand in innovation and invention, plus we are trying to improve overall health by finding non-invasive ways to detect and track various diseases, which will have a huge impact on people’s lives.
How did you become interested in your line of work?
I have always been science-driven and ever since I learned about genetics, I wanted to pursue it further. I always found molecular biology very interesting. Having had the opportunity to work under Sir Alec Jeffreys, the renowned scientist who discovered DNA profiling and genetic fingerprinting, helped reaffirm my passion for this field. I have always hoped to be able to have an impact on people’s health and well-being and being in medical research helps fulfill that aspiration in a small way.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
Knowing that we are involved in development of tracers which can one day help improve diagnosis and lead to better understanding of progression of various diseases. We may have a real impact in bridging diagnostic gaps and improve overall health.
Why do you love working at Yale?
I love the camaraderie across the campus. My lab is a very collaborative one, and it is great to be around people who are like-minded and willing to share knowledge. I do also love the architecture across Yale, the events, benefits, and work-life balance. I love walking across old campus in fall; it's extremely picturesque.
What is a fun fact about you?
I love cooking and often feel it is a lot like the science I do in the lab. I joke that when I retire, I would like to set up my own food cart on Cedar Street.
I love reading books, which has turned into listening to audio books while driving to and from work; or at work when I am repeating an experiment for the n-th time.
I love organizing get-togethers and as a lab manager I get the perfect opportunity to get everyone together for fun events which helps with lab bonding and working collaboratively. I have an almost 2-year-old son and I am enjoying learning how to balance being a scientist, lab manager, home manager, and a new mom!