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Postdoctoral Research Associate

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Rice University


B.Tech. Biological Sciences and Bioengineering, IIT Kanpur, India

M.S.E. Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore

Research Interests:

Engineering microbes to monitor and record environmental processes and chemical signatures using synthetic biology. Biosensors with memory are incredibly handy for undisturbed monitoring of hard to reach environments (ex: pipes, soil).


I'm focusing on spying on microbial communication by detecting quorum sensing molecules and also interested in tracking bacterial exchange of antibiotic resistance genes in the near future.


I use DNA recombinase enzymes to enable biosensor bacteria to 'remember' the signal they have seen by creating irreversible mutations in their DNA. Concurrently, I'm also developing high sensitivity techniques using quantitative PCR to monitor the recorded DNA state of the biosensor in both model organisms and wild isolates from wastewater.


Do contact me if you have anything interesting for my microbes to sniff!

Other Interests:

I enjoy cooking, trying new cuisines, playing cards, hiking waterfalls, ice skating, skiing and other outdoorsy activities.  

Prashant Kalvapalle
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