Piyush Nanda

My joy knew no bound when I received the offer letter. I was excited to spend the whole summer at the United States and nervous in parallel because it was the first time I was going to a place so far away from my home in India. By reaching the United States, getting great friends, having a wonderful laboratory to work in and of course gaining very supportive and encouraging mentors, I realized I was going to live the best months of my life here.

I worked in Prof. Michaela TerAvest’s laboratory, being mentored by Dr. Magdalena Felczak, on “Metabolic Gapfilling in Zymomonas mobilis.” It was both a very challenging and exciting task because of the little information we have about it. We were trying to fill up the empty spaces in the metabolic pathway of the species so as to get deeper insight into its metabolism and to create engineered strains that can help us to extend the usability of it for production of bioethanol. It was really inspiring for me as I realized how far we have come ahead in science to manipulate life in laboratory. There we some challenges offered to us in the course of the experiments, but at the end of the internship we derived some preliminary outcomes, which may mean a lot to research on Zymomonas.


Apart from the research work, I enjoyed a lot with my friends who became more like a family for me. Starting from the very educational visits to bioethanol plants, the MSU Bioeconomy Institute and Kellogg Biological Station, to very enthralling trips to Sagautauk State Park, a float trip in Muskegon river, which all made my stay there even more exciting! Michigan State University was really a magnificent and beautiful place. It had almost everything within its campus starting from a planetarium to a space observatory – perfectly ensuring that you don’t get bored ever. I really appreciated the hospitality and care that was taken of us throughout which never made me feel away from home.

I really enjoyed that last few days of my stay where I got a chance to present the work I did in the summer to the whole team of GLBRC, and I also presented my research findings at MidSURE, where I got a chance to interact with a lot of people.  Being accompanied by Alek and Corinne, I also visited Detroit, Chicago and New York which were really great places.

It was altogether a wonderful journey. It was a great research experience and the learning and enthusiasm that I gathered will definitely serve a great purpose in my research career.  The United States has a got a great research and learning culture. I will cherish the memories throughout my life and when I am reminded of the time I spent there, it will always inspire me to move ahead in life.