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Purushothama Rao Tata, PhD


Purushothama Rao (for simplicity, he usually goes by Tata) was born in a small town in south India. He was fascinated by the diversity in animals and plants, especially patterns in biological systems. In school he admired the theories of Darwin (evolutionary biologist), Mendel (geneticist) and Newton (physicist). Tata finished his high school education in his home town and joined Kakatiya University to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology. In 2004, he joined University of Hyderabad, where he pursued his Master of Science in Animal Biotechnology. Then he moved to University of Ulm, Germany to pursue his doctoral degree. In Ulm (where Einstein was born) he joined Institute for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and started to understand how molecular events guide embryonic development. During his doctoral studies, he played a lead role in characterizing a vertebrate novel gene (brand new) during early embryonic development; identification of epigenetic chromatin regulators of a Pluripotency associated micro RNA cluster (EEmiRC) and understanding the role of a key transcription factor in mesendoderm induction.


His present research interests include 1) to uncover and understand cellular plasticity and the associated mechanisms in lung regeneration and disease; 2) to characterize a novel population of cells in alveolar homeostasis, regeneration and disease.


What drew you to your field?

See narrative above.


What do you do when you’re not in the lab?

Spend time with family, playing chess (yet to achieve grand master title), and watching movies.


Describe Rajagopal lab culture in 3 words:

Science science SCIENCE.

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