Black Lab Blog Post #1 – Praveen Kumar Allu, Postdoc

January 23, 2020

I’m Praveen, a post-doctoral fellow in the Black lab at the University of Pennsylvania. My current research focuses on understanding centromere-kinetochore functions during cell division.

My background is in biochemistry and my first experience related to research in life sciences was while undertaking my masters in biochemistry, studying life from the molecular perspective. I was really intrigued by how every molecule has its own role to play in biology in an orchestrated fashion. My interest in research simply arose from curiosity and having spent a lot of time looking at animations describing various biological processes.

My research training started with grad school, where I looked into various aspects related to mitochondrial biology and their role in protein import. After graduation, while looking to broaden my research area, I found myself fascinated by chromosome biology and the contributions of the Black lab in answering the most pressing questions in this field. At the same time, advances in Cryo-EM technology shifted my focus to CENP-A biology. This generated great enthusiasm, and I am excited to learn new things and understand the molecular details of the most stable DNA-protein complex at the centromere.

The Black lab is a strong structural biology research group with a broad range of interests related to chromosome biology. The lab provides the opportunity to work with novel biochemical and biophysical techniques and provides opportunities to learn new skills. The Black lab actively contributes to the scientific community through its scientific interactions and multi-lab group meetings across several departments, programs, and schools at UPenn.

The Black lab is my first international working experience and I find it very refreshing to work with friendly and cooperative people. We constantly help each other in improving our scientific skills and moving forward constructively. We also like to pique the interest of undergraduates who may be interested in discovering the secrets of biology. Our group effort in happy hours and yearly retreats helps take the edge off from the stress of research and refreshes us so we can tackle problems in research.