Current Title and Department: MD/PhD Student
Current Employer:  Mount Sinai
Undergraduate Degree, University: BS, Rutgers University
Graduate Degree, University: PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Who have been your mentors?
Alice Huang

What are you currently working on/what was the topic of your ORS Poster?
My research focuses on investigating the role of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in tendon regeneration. In our lab we compare regenerative tendon healing in neonates to fibrotic healing in adults to elucidate mechanisms that drive tendon regeneration. We have recently uncovered novel age-dependent differences in neonatal Tregs that permit tendon regeneration.

What project(s) are you looking forward to in the near future?
I just wrapped up my PhD and am now returning to medical school to finish my MD/PhD and then apply into an orthopedics surgery residency. However, in the long term I am interested in understanding how inflammation permits or restricts tissue regeneration.

What has been the biggest challenge for you in your research?
For me, it was learning how to manage my time. Prior to grad school, in undergrad or medical school your time is dictated by assignments, classes, or exams and as a result you have a highly organized schedule that moves you along year to year. By nature, PhDs are longer less structured programs where you have to define your own path and it can be hard to know what you should be doing in the moment, or in the next week, month, or year. It took me some time to learn how to set those landmarks, and even more time to learn how to set realistic goals. Completing individual development plans with your mentor is a helpful way to learn how to self-organize.

What advice would you give to trainees who are just starting out in the field?
Read broadly and read a lot. Most of the breakthrough ideas for my PhD came from reading random papers that were seemingly irrelevant. Doing experiments, and going down the rabbit hole of troubleshooting, experimenting, and finally getting a result to find out your hypothesis is rejected can be saved if you find a paper that has already studied the question. It is important to set protected time to just read.

When do you do for fun outside of the lab?
I love to cook!

Follow Me on Social Media!

Twitter Handle (personal or lab): @VarunArvind