Born in Illinois, Durga is the daughter of Indian immigrants. Her parents came to Chicago in pursuit of education and opportunity. Despite humble beginnings, Durga’s family worked tirelessly to provide a loving and supportive environment, nurturing the cultural value of seva, or selfless service, in the setting of a new community.
Durga attended a local public high school where her admiration for the scientific mysteries of the universe was encouraged by many dedicated teachers and mentors. As an undergraduate in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Thomas Steitz, Durga discovered a novel antibacterial compound. With support from the Arnold & Mabel Beckman Foundation and the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, Durga earned a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale.
Durga’s work with communities with minimal healthcare resources has shown her the dire need for better access to medical care and affordable biomedical devices. She continues to find opportunities for selfless service wherever she can, sharing her enthusiasm for science with children and inspiring middle school girls to pursue careers in quantitative fields.
Durga is now an MD/PhD student in the laboratory of Richard Lifton in genetics at Yale. Her clinical experiences remind her of what a joy it is to work with patients, and she hopes to take advantage of the vast and growing power of molecular medicine in her work to improve the human condition and empower others to pursue their dreams.