UAF BLaST Scientist of the Month – March 2018

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BLaST Scientist of the Month – March 2018

Short summary: BLaST Scientist of the Month Malabika Maulik Furthers Biochemistry and Neuroscience work in Fairbanks, Alaska


Malabika is pursuing her PhD in Biochemistry and Neuroscience and has been a BLaST Graduate Mentoring Research Assistant (GMRA) since 2015. She received her undergraduate degree in zoology and a master's degree in biotechnology. Before joining UAF, she worked in the pharmaceutical industry on clinical drug development for GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis. She is originally from the state of Assam in northeastern India, an area famous for its tea gardens. In her free time she enjoys walking in the woods and gardening.

Research Focus

Malabika's major research interests are aging, neurodegeneration and nutrition. Her PhD thesis focuses on answering questions about the combined role of diet and supplementation on the molecular pathology of Parkinson's disease. To answer these questions, she uses two popular models: the nematode worm C. elegans and mice. Her studies have unraveled how Alaskan botanicals, including endemic Alaska bog blueberries, can improve neuronal health and improve Parkinson's-like pathology by targeting molecular machinery in both models.

Teaching Experience

At the start of her graduate career, Malabika was a Teaching Assistant for General Chemistry (105 and 106) for a year. As a BlaST GMRA she, together with PhD graduate Swarup Mitra, co-organized a two-week "boot camp" research course focused on neurodegeneration (BMSC 293) in the summer of 2017; Malabika is planning another one-week biomedical research methodology course for the summer of 2018. She also contributed to BLaST's Maymester Biomedical Exploration Experience class in 2016, and served as a guest instructor for the BLaST Research Skills Seminar course (BMSC 393) in Fall 2016 and Spring 2018.

Mentoring Experience

Malabika's principles of mentoring are based on mutual learning and strong interpersonal relationships. As a BLaST GMRA, she has mentored 14 undergraduates and 1 high school student in the laboratory, most of whom have also been funded by BLaST (5 BLAST Scholars and 4 UREs). She has also served as an advisor for 2 UREs on their undergraduate Honors theses.


Photo 1:

Caption: Malabika Maulik, BLaST Graduate Mentoring Research Assistant in the Neuroscience lab, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Summer 2017.


Photo 2:

Caption: Right: Malabika (center) with two mentees, former BLaST URE Farimang Touray Jr (left), and UAF undergraduate Zoe Rodes (right) at the May 2017 University of Alaska Fairbanks Commencement Graduation, Fairbanks, Alaska.

BLaST acknowledgements:

BLaST is supported by the NIH with the linked awards; TL4GM118992, RL5GM118990, UL1GM118991. UAF is an AA/EEO employer and educational institution and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual:

The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.
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