Mr. Chiraag Kulkarni
Specialization: Medical Sciences
Home institution in US: Northwestern University, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois
Host Institution in India: National Institute of Virology, Pune, Maharashtra  
Start date/Month in India: August 2012
Duration of grant: 9 months

Brief Bio:
Mr. Chiraag Kulkarni graduated from Northwestern University, Illinois with a B.A. in biology and a minor in chemistry. While an undergraduate, he investigated the mechanism of action of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) in order to aid the development of molecular therapeutics for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease (pending publication). Previously, he has published work on the synthesis and characterization of a novel family of selenium-donor ligands, the bis(selenoimidazolyl)xylenes (BsexR). Starting in the fall of 2013, he will attend the Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine to pursue both an M.D. and a M.A. in public health.

Mr. Kulkarni’s Fulbright research project, “Genetic Characterization of Indian Strains of the Japanese Encephalitis Virus,” will contribute to the understanding of factors contributing to the pathogenicity of the Japanese Encelphalitus (JE) virus, one of the human central nervous system (CNS) infections that are a global health challenge. He also hopes to learn more about the characterization of immune response to JE infection and the genetic analysis of various strains of the JE virus. His research will aid the development of better diagnostics and therapeutics.