I study mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) using the model system Caenorhabditis elegans. I am working to answer fundamental questions about mtDNA inheritance and copy number regulation. I use molecular, genetic, pharmacologic, and biochemical techniques. Members of the Patel lab have varied interests in evolution and speciation, impacts of mtDNA mutations on human health, basic questions about mtDNA transcription and translation, and more.
I am passionate about teaching basic biology concepts to budding scientists. The right teacher at the right time can foster a love of science in any student. I enjoy thinking about new and fun ways to disseminate information about science and learning. I am particularly interested in gamification of learning. Promoting science literacy in all individuals is crucial for the health of people, animals, and the planet. Promoting access to science to all types of learners and people is crucial for a diverse and creative scientific workforce. I encourage entry to scientific thinking through many avenues.
I believe that everyone should have access to learning the scientific method and tools for scientific inquiry. I recognize that there are structural and systemic inequalities that make access to STEM classes and activities challenging. To that end, I am committed to promoting access for all interested learners to STEM education. My commitment is tangible in the way I teach my classes, the way I advocate for myself and others, as well as the tools and resources I generate.