Skip to main content

Meet 2023 GRAM Recipient: Akhil Anilkumar Vinithakumari

Akhil is a fifth-year PhD student in the lab of Dr. Karin Allenspach-Jorn and Dr. Jonathan Mochel. His research  focuses on the impact of toxic intestinal metabolites on bladder cancer organoids. The project involves establishing a new patient-derived, non-invasive canine organoid model to test potential carcinogenic candidates and study metastasis pathways. This research aims to contribute to a better understanding of human bladder cancer pathogenesis.

Akhil has found the Interdepartmental Microbiology (IM) program to be an enriching learning experience. The program's interdisciplinary structure provides opportunities to learn from various fields of science, including public health, bioinformatics, pathology, surgery, and more. Akhil has benefited from collaborating with experienced mentors and peers and especially enjoy attending the Microbiology Graduate Student Organization (MGSO) retreats for support and networking. Overall, Akhil considers his experience in the IM program to be top-notch, providing unparalleled opportunities for growth and development in research, teaching, and networking.

Akhil is trained as a veterinarian. After completing PhD, Akhil plans to pursue a veterinary anatomic pathology residency and become a board-certified anatomic pathologist. In the future, Akhil aims to run his own research focusing on human enteric disease pathogenesis. Akhil also hopes to continue collaborating with his current mentors.