Faculty Spotlight: Gunjan Agarwal
Where is your hometown?
I was born and raised in Allahabad (India), a mid-sized city known for its political, historical and religious significance.
What is your field and what made you pursue it?
In a nutshell my field is ultrastructural microscopy. As a Physics major, I had the opportunity to acquire training in multiple high-end microscopy techniques. Applying such techniques to answer biological questions has been a fun and exciting journey.
What brought you to Ohio State?
My husband’s job at the Procter and Gamble Company (Cincinnati) brought us to Ohio. As an aspiring academician I was very fortunate to start my faculty career at the Ohio State University. This meant commuting ~ 100 miles from Cincinnati to Columbus for almost two decades, but has been worth it!
What is the focus of your research and why is it significant?
The major focus of my research is to understand extracellular matrix remodeling at the molecular and cellular level. We study how collagen structure and function is regulated in bone and vascular health and disease. This is important to develop new strategies to detect and mitigate the progression of diseases and eventually develop new therapeutic avenues. Alongside we also develop new methods in the realm of biological microscopy.
Why should a prospective student consider your field?
There are a lot of unanswered questions in the field of matrix biology and it is conducive to interdisciplinary research. Students from various disciplines (engineering, physics, chemistry, biology) can make a significant contribution to advance the field. Besides acquiring expertise in high-end microscopy, the field of matrix biology is fun and exciting and synergistic with bioengineering applications and human health.
What do you like most about your job?
The opportunity to constantly learn and grow in many different facets via research, teaching and service activities has been very rewarding.
What advice would you give students considering a career in engineering?
Stay with it! It gives a solid foundation in quantitative and analytical skills and gives you a lot of scope to build your future career on it. You may not ‘love’ it at first but will realize the benefits in later years.
What is one of your favorite hobbies outside of being a professor and researcher?
I love reading, gardening, hikes and ‘telescoping’.