August 03, 2016

When Sabin Mulepati ’08 began researching CRISPR for his doctoral dissertation at John Hopkins University, he entered territory that was largely uncharted. CRISPR, which stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, is an immune system in bacteria.

At the time, relatively little was known about the field. It was, Mulepati describes, “not a hot topic to pursue.”

Since then, research and interest in CRISPR has flourished, allowing Mulepati opportunities to make exciting and significant contributions. Science magazine published his research in the area in 2014, the same year he earned his Ph.D. in biophysics.

“Looking back, I am proud that I stuck with my gut,” he says. “It’s a great feeling when the same field in which you’re working goes through unprecedented growth and progress…knowing that you were part of it all along.”

Now a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, he studies changes in the 3-dimensional structure of DNA in the nucleus of a cell and the consequences of those changes.

As a biochemistry major at Susquehanna, Mulepati developed the necessary passion and skills for research. “All my science classes had a strong laboratory component,” he says. “SU, despite being a small school, had very good laboratory resources.”

Mulepati also appreciated small class sizes, the quality of student-faculty relationships and thought-provoking offerings from the Honors program.

He encourages students to “take risks and take them often.” His career so far shows that pursuing your interests—even if they’re risky—can pay off!