Varadraj N. Vernekar, Ph.D. (Postdoctoral Associate, aka "Varad")
I was born and raised in India. I earned my bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering (University of Pune, India), master’s in Bioengineering (Clemson University, SC), and doctorate in Bioengineering (Georgia Institute of Technology, GA). My fascination with science and technology has continued to grow with my post doc at Duke University, NC.
My interests lie in the application of chemistry and engineering principles to solve biomedical and biotechnological problems. Some of the areas I have investigated include: protein adsorption, biomaterials, 3-D cell culture, tissue engineering, traumatic neural injury, and in vitro diagnostic technologies. Currently, I am interested in the development of biomimetic, physiologically-relevant in vitro models; bio-hybrid micro-system sensors; and bio-molecular sensing, diagnostics, and surface modification technologies.
In the past, I have been recognized for contributing to both academic and industry research settings. Some of my previous accomplishments include: the first empirical determination of thermodynamic parameters for peptide-residue / SAM-surface adsorption (2nd prize in poster presentation at the International Vacuum Congress, 2001), a novel assessment of traumatic brain injury using a 3-D cell culture model (recognized in the top 5 scientific presentations at the National Neurotrauma Society Symposium, 2006), and development of high-throughput and high-content in vitro diagnostic platforms (microPerfusions, Inc., a start-up company at Georgia Tech’s technology incubator, 2010-12).
Monty Reichert’s, Ph.D., interests in biosensors, behavior of proteins and cells at surfaces, and wound healing, and my own research experiences, interests, and accomplishments fit well together. As post doc in his lab, I am building an in vitro model to study the migration of lymphocytes along 2-D chemokine gradients. I am thoroughly enjoying my current work experience; I believe that my contributions will help in the development of new approaches for improving biological immunity to infection one day.
Finally, I recharge my brain-chips by strength training, hiking, reading, watching movies, and painting!