Doctoral student Snigdha Guha made a home for herself in Lincoln while studying cardiovascular disease prevention.
Guha studies pure and isolated gamma glutamyl peptides derived from food as potential preventative measures for vascular inflammation. Vascular inflammation commonly leads to cardiovascular disease, the number one cause of death worldwide.
“We are trying to find dietary interventions that can be used to prevent or reduce the number of people who reach that extreme stage where they’re taking pharmaceuticals with strong side effects or expensive procedures,” she said.
The peptides have shown positive effects both in vitro and in vivo. In a mouse model of atherosclerosis, the peptide showed reduction in plaque formation and lipid accumulation in the aortas of the mice.
These peptides are naturally present in foods such as beans, onion and cheese. The peptides are present in low quantities, requiring extraction methods to concentrate the peptides for use in a pill or enriched food.
Once she earns her Ph.D. in August, Guha will move to California for a postdoctoral position at UC Davis Health, where she’ll continue studying inflammation and metabolic diseases.
Before coming to the university, Guha earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in microbiology from Delhi University in her home country, India. She completed a second master’s program at the University of Reading in the U.K., where she shifted her focus to food science.
Guha’s eyes were set on the United States even before her undergraduate education, so when the time came to look for Ph.D. programs, “I don’t think I chose Nebraska,” she said. “I think Nebraska chose me.”
When looking for food science programs, Guha applied to Nebraska because of its high-quality programs. Then, Dr. Kaustav Majumder saw her profile and reached out as she fit his research well due to her biology and chemistry background.
Now at Nebraska, Guha has found a home away from home within her department.
“I feel like all of us are here for each other,” she said. “It’s like a big family here in FIC because we have nobody else. We have a lot of department events. The people here are very friendly and people from all the labs talk to each other, which is not very common.”
Outside of the lab, Guha has immersed herself in the world of being a Husker fan.
“I really like the football here,” she said. I had never seen football before, I just started this year and I can see why people go crazy about it. The spirit and energy is so high in the stadiums.”
Since football season, Guha has continued to cheer on Husker sports teams, including basketball, volleyball and her favorite, softball. While Guha has grown to love Lincoln, the small size was a shock at first.
“My first night here I came in at 9 p.m. and there were no people around at all. I thought I could take a taxi, like how you call a taxi in the movies.”
Four years later, Guha loves the restaurants, peace and safety that Lincoln has to offer.
For now, Guha will soak up the last of Nebraska’s summer rays while she completes her Ph.D. program before heading west to continue helping others through disease prevention.