I am a postdoctoral Scholar at The Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology (GIVI) and at University of California San Francisco (UCSF). Broadly, my research interests are on the quantitative examination of cellular control ‘circuits’ using computational methods and synthetic gene circuits.
In my doctoral work, I demonstrated the quantitative principles that govern bacterial communication and cooperation by first setting up the theory (Pai et al. Mol. Sys. Biol, 2009) and then using synthetic gene circuits to experimentally demonstrate them (Pai et al. PNAS, 2012). A parallel doctoral project published recently on the fundamental control system behind bacterial cell division used time-lapse microscopy and microfluidics to demonstrate a surprising finding: cells in a population exhibit transient oscillations in cell size and gene expression with periods that stretch across several (more than ten) generations (Tanouchi*, Pai*, Park* et al. Nature, 2015).
In line with this work with bacteria, my postdoctoral work has been on the control system behind fate-determination in HIV. In recently published work (Razooky*, Pai*, et al., Cell, 2015) we used computational modeling and synthetic viral circuits to examine the interplay of stochastic fluctuations and positive feedback at the HIV (long terminal repeat) LTR promoter.