THE RAJAGOPAL LAB
Aleks Szymaniak, PhD
Aleks grew up in small-town central New York, where there were less people to struggle over the pronunciation and spelling of his name. Biology and chemistry were an inherited passion, so Aleks ventured to the bustling metropolis of Albany, NY, to study pharmacy at his parents' alma mater, Albany College of Pharmacy. It became immediately apparent that neither nature nor nurture could explain everything, so Aleks abandoned the apothecary for the laboratory, receiving his BS in Molecular Biology from LeMoyne College. During undergrad, Aleks conducted research on the phylogeography of the intertidal mud snail Zeacumantus subcarinatus, and the flagella of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, which was almost as hard to explain as the pronunciation and spelling of his name. Feeling like an actual scientist was pretty sweet, so Aleks made it his full time job in Boston, where there were finally just as many people with names just as challenging as his.
What drew you to your field?
There are a lot of fields in central New York, but regenerative medicine is substantially more interesting.
What do you do when you’re not in the lab?
Think about what I should be doing in the lab. Family. Music. Cooking. Eating (see pic, amazing Cioppino in SF). Traveling. Hiking. Reading. Playstation. Trying new things.
Describe Rajagopal lab culture in 3 words:
Science. Food. Repeat.