Jay Bhatt

GS: Where are you from?


I am from Mumbai, India.

GS: What degree did you/will you receive and when?


I received a BS in Pharmacy from Mumbai University in 2008 and a MS in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Creighton University, Omaha, NE in 2010. I came to UAB to study Neuroscience and hope to complete my PhD training by Fall 2015.

GS: What is your research on?


My doctoral research in the lab of Dr. Elizabeth Sztul at the Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology focuses on the various molecular machineries involved in forming transport vesicles at the Golgi. My studies will inform us on the role of key proteins called ARF-GEFs and flippases that are required to make transport vesicles in cells and are relevant in diseases/conditions such as neurodegeneration, cancer, diabetes and obesity.

GS: Why did you choose UAB for your graduate studies?


The quality and diversity of Neuroscience research at UAB is amazing. UAB is one of the top-tier Neuroscience research universities in the US, and I believe that the collaborative environment that it hosts is the key to UAB’s success. Researchers from different departments work closely with each other to solve complex problems in neuroscience.

GS: Have you received any awards or honors?


I serve as a Senator at the Graduate Student Government (GSG, 2012-present) representing the Neuroscience theme. Currently, I am the Director for the GSA Communication and Marketing committee. In 2013, I received the Ireland Award to visit the Marine Biology Lab (MBL) at Woods Hole, MA to study live cell imaging. I was awarded the first prize for poster presentation at the Graduate Biomedical Student Organization Student Research Retreat 2014 at UAB.

GS: What has been your most rewarding experience at UAB?


UAB has provided me with many opportunities to meet some of the most renowned and brilliant scientists in the US. My interactions with these scientists, other fellow graduate students and professionals at UAB has been the most rewarding experience at UAB, because they have molded me into the student/scientist that I am today.

GS: Who was your greatest influence here at UAB and why?


t is hard for me to single out a person as the greatest influence on me here at UAB. I have had numerous opportunities at UAB to interact with people from diverse backgrounds, such as my mentor Dr. Elizabeth Sztul, my colleagues John Wright and Dr. Anil Challa just to name a few. Succeeding in graduate school requires a number of technical and analytical skills, and with the help of a number of experts at UAB, I have been able to successfully identify and develop these skills.

GS: What is your motivation in your academics/research?


I am really passionate about research and teaching. Both these fields are very important for human health and advancement of biomedical sciences. Being part of this biomedical enterprise provides me with an opportunity to serve human beings not just in the US but throughout the world; which motivates to research and teach. 

GS: What are your plans after graduating and for the future?


I am plan to continue my research as a Postdoctoral fellow and gain some teaching experience after graduating from UAB. I am interested in non-conventional methods of teaching such team- based learning, multimedia driven learning as compared to traditional blackboard style or standard PowerPoint presentation style teaching.

GS: Is there anything else you would like to say?


There are a number of opportunities to learn at UAB. Be on a lookout for such opportunities and grab them when you are presented with them!


Jay’s Advice for Other Graduate Students:

  1. Having a good research mentor in the lab is of course important but I believe that one should always have more than one mentor. Mentors that can guide us in different professional aspects! I have different mentors to teach me writing skills, microscopy, professional development, presentation skills, etc.
  2. Talk to a number of fellow graduate students, lab members and the UAB research community at large. It is important to know what options are out there for grad students. People are usually willing to help you if you ask them!  
  3. Having fun outside the lab is very important. I like to have friends that are not researchers in the field of Biology like me.