Missouri State University
Shilpa Mohite

Shilpa Mohite

  • Major: Biology
  • High School: Krishna School, India
  • Hometown: Karad, India

Like father like daughter

Though Shilpa Mohite grew up in Karad, India, she knew early on that she would attend Missouri State.

Though Shilpa Mohite grew up in Karad, India, she knew early on that she would attend Missouri State.

“My dad had worked here for a while, like five or six years, as an assistant research professor,” said Shilpa, a senior majoring in biology with an emphasis on microbiology and biotechnology. “My mom was here for a while, too, while my father worked, and she kind of liked Springfield. They both liked MSU, so that’s why she chose to send me here.”

Dr. Tamera Jahnke, dean of the College of Natural and Applied Science, remembers working closely with Shlipa’s father.

“He was making new polymers, and I would determine chemical structure using nuclear magnetic resonance, or NMR, spectroscopy,” said Jahnke. “On the first project that we worked on together, he was making new samples faster than I could collect data.”

Jahnke says his dedication to his research in the Polymer Lab led to the development of the Center for Applied Science and Engineering, which led to the Jordan Valley Innovation Center.

Following his footsteps

Shilpa’s father passed away in 2002, when she was only nine years old, she was inspired to follow in his footsteps.

“I originally didn’t think I could do it,” she said. “But once I took some of my more lab-oriented courses, I became more interested and thought it was something I could do.”

Shilpa has recently been working with mice to study the cardiovascular development and the maturation of blood vessels.

Shilpa at work in the lab.

Paving her own way

Shilpa was recently awarded an honorable mention for her poster about a research project focused on the maturation of the blood vessels of mice during early development.

“Maturation is where blood vessels get lined with an extra layer of smooth muscle cells,” Shilpa explained. “Usually it’s in vessels that have more pressure or more flow. So, the larger vessels like the arteries or veins often have more smooth muscle cells, but we don’t really know why that is.”

The lab’s project, of which Shlipa is a researcher, uses qPCR, or quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction.

“Looking at it in real-time allows you to compare the different gene expressions,” said Shlipa. “Basically, it gives you this graph that allows you to see what each gene is doing as time passes. It allows you to compare them. We have what we call a ‘home keeping gene’ that is used as the ‘normal’ to compare the others to.”

Shilpa looks forward to continuing to work in the lab as she approaches graduation at the end of the summer. Though she is uncertain about her future plans, she will most likely attend graduate school at Missouri State.