Amit Lakhanpal

Hertz Fellow: Amit Lakhanpal

California Institute of Technology

Area of Study

Quantitative Biology - Systems/Synthetic Biology

Fellowship Years

2009 - 2014

Amit Lakhanpal graduated from Harvard University in 2006 with an AB degree in Chemistry and Physics (magna cum laude with high honors in field) and an AM degree in Physics. He is a graduate student at the California Institute of Technology in the Division of Biology. His primary research interest is in the discipline of quantitative biology; more specifically, systems and synthetic biology approaches to understanding emergent properties of complex regulatory networks. By bringing to bear analytical and empirical techniques from physics, mathematics, and engineering on biological systems he hopes to discern properties at several levels of organization - from individual interactions to networks connecting large numbers of components - that permit the performance of essential functions and then prove the extent of these properties’ sufficiency by appropriate experimentation. He plans to pursue this and other related research goals as a student and in the future as a professor at a major research institution.

Within the sciences, Amit’s favorite recent accomplishment is the publication in Physics Review Letters of research on an alternative mechanism of molecular transport that exploits asymmetrically cooperative dynamics on a track to drive motion. He has also enjoyed a wide range of research experiences over the years ranging from neuroimmunology to genetics/genomics to X-ray astrophysics, a varied background that has shaped his perspective on science.

Outside of science research, Amit is most proud of his involvement in initiatives related to education, as a founding Advisory Board member of Cogito, a Johns Hopkins University based effort to provide enrichment for gifted young science students, and as a member of the leadership of the Harvard Model Congress, educating secondary school students in American government. His interest in civic engagement also led to participation in the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government.