Ullas Chembazhi

Biochemistry Graduate Student

School of Molecular Cell Biology

B.S. Biochemistry - University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Started in Lab: December 2016


Ullyot Fellow


Chembazhi UV*, Patil V*, Sah S, Reeves W, Tiwari R, Woo EJ, Varshney, U (2017) Uracil DNA glycosylase (UDG) activities in Bradyrhizobium diazoefficiens: characterization of a new class of UDG with broad substrate specificity.
Nucleic Acids Research. 45(10):5863-5876. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkx209.
| * denotes equal authors.

Shetty S*, Shah R.A.*, Chembazhi, UV, Sah S, and Varshney U (2016) Two highly conserved features of bacterial initiator tRNAs license them to pass through distinct checkpoints in translation initiation.
Nucleic Acids Research. 45(4):2040-2050. DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkw854
| * denotes equal authors.


Hi, I am Ullas, a graduate student in the Biochemistry department at UIUC. I received my bachelors and master’s degree in biology from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

What drove me to research is figuring out how living systems work. In my undergraduate days, I developed a passion for molecular biology as it explained the details of how mere macromolecular interactions bring about life as we know it. Working with bacteria, I addressed questions in translational initiation and DNA repair in prokaryotes. I was amazed by the complex strategies and regulation events that even single-cell organisms employ to survive.

For my graduate study, I want to explore the molecular details of cell differentiation and development in higher organisms, addressing issues which directly pertain to human health. This brought me to Dr. Auinash Kalsotra’s lab, that studies post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression and its implications in disease pathology. I am interested in investigating the regulation of mRNA polyadenylation and how it directs proper protein synthesis in the heart. I am also studying how liver maturation is controlled through utilization of alternative splicing mechanisms. I will be using transgenic mouse models, ribosome profiling, polyadenylation and splicing assays, histology, RNA-seq and a suite of molecular and computational biology techniques to address these exciting questions.

I like to spend my free time hanging out with friends. I love soccer, travel and adventuring.