Sneha Sitaraman.Hometown: Pune/Chennai, India (I have lived in a lot of cities in India, and have chosen to call these two my home!)
Undergraduate Institution: University of Pune, Pune, India

I am a student in Timothy Weaver’s lab, and we study interstitial lung disease. Interstitial lung diseases are a group of heterogeneous lung disorders that include the lethal idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis which has a median survival rate of only three years. In order to understand the pathogenesis, our lab has turned to modeling the familial form of this disease in mice. The familial disease is associated with mutations in the SFTPC gene that encodes surfactant protein C, a component of pulmonary surfactant. Our work is focused to understanding the consequences of mutations in SFTPC, and subsequent disease progression.

I chose the Weaver lab to be my thesis lab after I had rotated through three labs that had completely different research focus. This option of exploring a plethora of research and scientific environments is one of the best parts about being a student in the MDB program! The other best part about being a student here is this- the program is extremely student friendly, and the faculty and coordinators are clearly invested in the success of their students! Everything- interview process, structure of the program, the curriculum, choice and duration of rotations, and choosing labs, is designed to maximally benefit the students.

As an international student, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience- right from day one of application process to till now! As a graduate student, I am definitely living my dream of performing research in an institution that is an epitome of scientific excellence!

I am excited to be part of an outstanding lab, and a wonderful team, and I hope that the research that I do in my time here is impactful, and pushes the boundaries of knowledge!


Fritz, J. M., M. Dong, K. S. Apsley, E. P. Martin, C. L. Na, S. Sitaraman, and T. E. Weaver. Deficiency of the BiP cochaperone ERdj4 causes constitutive endoplasmic reticulum stress and metabolic defects. Mol Biol Cell. 25: 431-440. 2014.