NorthenLab: Exometabolomics linking genomes with environments to understand how webs of microbes sustain biomes

New Lab Member Highlight: Kshitiz Gupta

The Northen Lab is excited to welcome Kshitiz (KZ) Gupta to the lab as a new postdoctoral researcher. Learn more about KZ in the following interview!

What is your area of expertise? Could you talk a little bit about your background and what brought you to your field? 

My expertise is in the area of micro/nanofluidics and flow quantification using image correlation techniques like particle image velocimetry (PIV). I’m a mechanical engineer. I graduated with my bachelors’ degree from Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani and PhD from Purdue University.

Why (mech) engineering? I always was my father’s apprentice while he worked on/fixed/repaired different things around our home. I have developed a logical approach towards the world around us since then. I like opening (both literally and figuratively) up things to see how they work. Most of the time they get put back together as well 🙂

Why microfluidics? Life, as we know it, cannot happen in absence of two very crucial things, air and water; both fluids. All macro-scale objects and beings are a manifestation of submicron-scale interactions between different elements of nature. It enthuses me, greatly, how fluids participate in various such interactions to support life. Wherever life is, fluids are there as well and so am I.

Do you have any anecdotes or funny stories from your previous research?

One day my PC didn’t boot up. I was quite dejected as I had potentially lost years of data. Fortunately I had a screwdriver in my pocket so as a last resort I opened it up (old habits). I couldn’t find anything out of order and after spending a couple of hours on it, I reassembled it only to find that someone had turned off a switch. I learned two lessons that day:

  1. The problem is not always where the symptoms are.
  2. Keep a screwdriver in your pocket. I found something I left inside my PC from the last time I opened it.

What research topics or experimental techniques are you most excited to work on in the Northen Lab? 

I’m excited to bring my expertise in microfab and PIV to metabolomics. PIV can be used to quantify brownian motion, viscosity and temp of fluid media which can be used to probe into metabolomic activity and chemical kinetics. I’m also interested in μdroplet manipulation for high throughput NIMS and development of EcoFABs. 

Could you name a favorite book, piece of music, video game, or movie?

Surely you’re joking, Mr. Feynman!, most of Queen, ACDC and The Beatles, Civilization 6, and Rush and Up

Is there anything you are excited to see or do in the Bay Area? Or, if you have been here before, any recommendations?

Looking forward to exploring hiking trails and local cafe/restaurants of Berkeley. The walk from Presidio to GG bridge and Point Reyes are certainly two spots I visit over and over again. But obviously on a clear and sunny day.