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Student Profiles

Anuttama Sheela-Mohan

As an undergraduate studying biotechnology in India, Anuttama Sheela-Mohan first became interested in computational biology during a summer research project at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology at Hyderabad, India.

Anuttama Sheela-Mohan

“I worked in Dr. Somdatta Sinha’s lab on a model of tryptophan gene regulation. I found the mathematics of dynamical systems fascinating and at the end of that summer, I was sure that I wanted my graduate work to involve computational modeling of biological systems,” she says. “The CBM program seemed like a wonderful fit.”

Moving from one country to another is never easy. “There was a lot of paperwork to think about—the visa application, taxes, immunizations. However, Cornell administrators really made the whole process run very smoothly,” Anuttama says.

While her undergraduate degree focused on molecular biology and chemical engineering, Anuttama now studies the neurobiology of olfaction in Prof. Thomas Cleland’s lab on Cornell’s main campus at Ithaca. She uses the tools of dynamical systems and Bayesian decision theory to better understand our sense of smell.

“I think that this really speaks to one of the core strengths of the CBM program: its great flexibility,” she says. “We have students in the program whose backgrounds range from biochemistry and biology to computer science and physics. You have the freedom to take the classes and work with the people you need to fill in the gaps in your knowledge. You can be almost completely in control of the work that you end up doing.”