Ankita Umapathy, PhD
I received my Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Auckland, New Zealand in 2009. I was then accepted into a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences (Honours) program in 2010, during which I introduced and optimized the hyperbaric oxygen system for inducing cataracts in cultured rat lenses, under the supervision of Dr. Julie Lim and Prof. Paul Donaldson at the University of Auckland. Having developed a keen interest in vision research, I pursued a PhD with Dr. Lim and Prof. Donaldson to investigate the metabolism and transport pathways of the major antioxidant, glutathione (GSH), in the tissues of the anterior rat eye, including the cornea, ciliary body and trabecular meshwork, with a specific focus on the lens. For my postdoctoral studies, I wanted to shift my focus to the retina and joined the Williams lab at the Stein Eye Institute at UCLA. Here, I study the molecular mechanisms of photoreceptor outer segment (POS) phagosome formation, motility and maturation in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), using molecular biological techniques, cell culture, live cell imaging and, 3D/4D modelling and image analysis. In my spare time, I love to travel, read, play netball, and practice yoga.