Rajat Singh is the laboratory head. He is a clinician by training but a basic scientist at heart. He obtained his Medical and Postgraduate Degrees in the eastern city of Calcutta (think Mother Teresa) and the northern city of Chandigarh in India. He then moved to the U.S. in 2004 to carry out his postdoctoral work in autophagy and liver with Mark Czaja and the autophagy guru Ana Maria Cuervo and stumbled upon the role of autophagy in fat breakdown when he saw accumulation of large lipid droplets when the autophagolysosomal system was suppressed. Keywords that excite Rajat are autophagy, lysosomes, time, lipid sensing, mTOR, and aging. In his free time, Rajat loves to play one of his six electric guitars or program patches on his Korg synth. He also plays drums, piano, and bass and used to be a vocalist in a number of bands while growing up. He is also a keen audio engineer, and he thinks he can cook. 

Nuria Martinez-Lopez is a native of the Basque Country in the north of Spain. She obtained her PhD from the CIC-BioGUNE where she studied the role of LKB1 in the development of hepatocellular cancers. Nuria was the labs 1st Post-doctoral fellow who published two 1st author papers in Cell Metabolism and 1 each in Nature Communications and EMBO Reports. Nuria is currently a junior Faculty in the lab working in collaboration with us and Prof. Chandan Guha. She is trying to understand the relationship of autophagy and time in radiation-induced injury. Nuria is super-organized and a super multitasker. In her free time, she is into cardio and endurance exercises. She loves all kinds of food - in particular Spanish cuisine, Morcilla and olive oil. Nuria is a fan of FC Barcelona and believes in the Indian God Ganesha.

Marie Louise Aoun is a native of the Mediterranean city where parties never end and people are friendly - Beirut. She completed her medical education from the Lebanon American University in 2018, and came to the Singh lab to spend three years doing basic research on autophagy and lipid metabolism. Marie Louise is trilingual in that she can speak fluently in English, French and Arabic. Her project is looking at crosstalk between mTOR signaling and autophagy in the integrative regulation of fat metabolism. Marie Louise is hoping to start her Residency in 2021 and move into a career in Academia.

Henrietta Bains grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She majored in Biochemistry from Cornell, Ithaca, and followed that up by working as a Tech in a Neuroscience lab in Weill Cornell, New York, where she learned amongst several things, how to culture and work with primary neurons. She has since then joined the MD-PhD program at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She is interested in understand the mechanisms of mTOR activation in response to lipid species in the mouse. She runs the best Western blots (although she will totally disagree!) Henrietta loves to snowboard and go to the gym, and she can't get enough of Italian food. 

Christian Lavados was born in Santiago, Chile, and was brought to the United States early in his life. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 2014 and in the following years, he worked as a process development engineer for AbbVie Biotherapeutics and Clara Foods. Seeking a change of pace, he started his PhD studies at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in late 2019 and joined the Singh Lab shortly after. His scientific interests focus on the role autophagy plays in the regulation of mTOR activity, and on the circadian cycle through the turnover of CRY1. Outside of the lab, Christian has been an active Judo competitor, and notably won the California State Championships in 2017; he now trains and teaches Judo in Manhattan.

Maciel Bañales grew up in Durango, Mexico. In 2019, she obtained her PhD from the University of Guanajuato in Leon, Mexico, where she studied the association of energy expenditure with molecular mechanisms that regulate food intake and body weight. Her project now focuses on understanding the mechanisms that regulate adipose tissue remodeling in twice-a-day feeding in mice. On the side, she likes to cook, read about nutrition, practice yoga, and find nature where it’s available in New York City.

Mridul Sharma is a native of North India. Coming from a colorful and a spiritual country, she is a positive and intuitive person by nature. Mridul obtained her PhD degree from Panjab University, Chandigarh, and worked on the therapeutic effects of metabiotics (the functional signatures of probiotics) on colorectal cancer. She is currently screening for small molecules to interfere with the interaction between circadian protein, CRY1, and autophagosomal marker LC3 with the long-term objective to prevent the autophagic degradation of CRY1 in vivo. Mridul is extremely fond of sweets and cannot survive without coffee. She loves animals a lot, likes to cook, write poems, read non-fiction books, loves to explore new places and clicks a lots and lots of pictures. Mridul is highly motivated to do some impactful research and loves to be called a “scientist”.

Pamela Mattar was born in Viña del Mar, Chile. She obtained a PhD degree in Nutrition from the University of Chile in 2018, and her doctorate work focused on the role of autophagy in the adipose tissue. In course of her PhD work and her experiences in a lab made her fall in love with science. In 2019, she started her first postdoctoral fellowship in Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, where she learned how to work with mice, perform stereotaxic surgery in mice, and study their feeding behavior. Her project in the Singh lab is focused on the regulation of feeding and lipid metabolism through tissue-specific role of the mTORC1-autophagy axis. Pamela enjoys cooking homemade dishes, going to the gym (she used to be an indoor cycling instructor), and knowing new places and cultures, and obviously, she loves Chilean wine!!

Manu Kalyani is a native of Punjab in India where rich culture meets extraordinary Indian cuisine. Manu completed her PhD work from the Miami University in Oxford in Ohio where she studied interactions between Prolactin and Hypthalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA ) axis during stress. Before joining the Singh lab she did her first postdoctoral work for two years at the University of Michigan where she studied the sex differences during cocaine addition. She brings to the Singh lab, extensive methods to study hypothalamic regulation of metabolism. Manu believes that a ‘healthy mind resides in healthy body’ therefore she is passionate about Crossfit training, weightlifting and running. During her free time she enjoys gardening, traveling, and taking tonnes of selfies.

We are looking for dedicated Graduate students and Post-doctoral fellows who are interested in entering the amazing world of autophagy and nutrient sensing. Please send your queries to: rajat.singh@einstein.yu.edu

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