Peer Research Ambassador Krithika Santhanam

OUR Peer Research Ambassador Krithika Santhanam '25, Majors: Molecular & Cell Biology, IMJR: Health Policy & Racial Disparities.

Krithika (she/her/hers) is a junior in the honors program pursuing a double major in Molecular and Cell Biology and Health Policy and Racial Disparities (IMJR) on the pre-medical track. On campus she is a tour guide, co-president of UConn’s Pre-Medical Society, vice president of the Learning Community Executive Council and volunteers through the UConn Health Leaders Program. Outside of school, she enjoys coffee trips and hiking.

The summer after her freshman year, Krithika joined the Dealy Laboratory under the mentorship of Dr. Caroline Dealy in the Department of Orthodontics at UConn Health. Here, her project analyzes the inactivation of the Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) signaling pathway in the postnatal growth plate and the impact during chondrocyte maturation and endochondral ossification. Future implications of her work approach the clinical problem of Osteoarthritis; a painful degenerative disease of the cartilage in adults. At the end of the summer, she presented her findings at the 16th International Conference on Limb Development, Regeneration, and Evolution at Harvard University and UConn’s Frontiers Poster Exhibition in the fall. During the summer of 2023, Krithika was granted a SURF Award to pursue an independent project under the supervision of Dr. Dealy, hoping to identify a new chondrocyte population in the postnatal growth plate through proliferation markers, and further experience the question-asking process.   

Alongside her work at UConn Health, Krithika recently joined the 6th cohort of the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network. She hopes to pursue her passions of advocating for marginalized groups of people and integrating new knowledge from her individualized major. Krithika is excited to learn and grow alongside strong, powerful, female leaders at UConn and pursue a project she’s passionate about regarding the topic of disability advocacy in healthcare.

Research has been an integral aspect of Krithika’s undergraduate journey. She encourages individuals to explore research in all disciplines and environments when considering to get involved. Krithika understands the stressful process of finding undergraduate research opportunities outside of the official programs UConn offers. If you have any questions about finding research opportunities, gathering various experiences, or finding a mentor, she would love to hear from you!

Student Research Blog Posts by Krithika: