Dr. Poornima Balaji

Dr. Poornima Balaji

Ph.D. Cardiovascular Physiology and Molecular Biology, MSc Animal Sciences, BSc Genetics

Poonam is passionate about all things science and medicine. She has over 20 years of experience in research in cardiovascular physiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. Poonam has worked as an independent scientist both in the United States and in Australia and has several publications in high-impact journals. (11 publications with ~700 citations; h index of 11).

Poonam started her scientific journey in India. She completed her undergraduate training in Genetics at the Osmania University, Hyderabad in 1998. She was then invited to be a guest lecturer in the same University for a year before commencing her Master's in Animal Sciences at the University of Hyderabad (2000). During her Master's research, Poonam gained hands-on experience in Protein Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Poonam then moved to the USA and joined the Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology Program at The Ohio State University, Columbus where she received a full scholarship to pursue her doctoral degree. Poonam graduated with a Ph.D. in Cardiovascular Physiology and Molecular Biology in 2008. As part of her doctoral thesis, Poonam discovered a novel protein called Sarcolipin in the heart. Using innovative mouse genetics and gene manipulation technologies such as knockout and overexpression, together with structure-function and site-directed mutagenesis approaches she was able to dissect the role of Sarcolipin in cardiac function. She had a highly successful Ph.D. evidenced by her 9 publications in high-impact journals such as Proceedings in the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Cardiovascular Research, and Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology. During her Ph.D., Poonam also received the highly prestigious American Heart Association Pre-doctoral fellowship (2004-2006).

After her Ph.D., Poonam moved to the University of Colorado, Boulder to perform her post-doctoral work to investigate the role of diet and sex hormones on heart disease. She wrote a highly cited review article on this work called Influence of sex hormones and phytoestrogens on heart disease. (Review. Women's Health (Lond Engl). 2010 Jan;6 (1):77-95.). Poonam then moved to Australia to continue her research interest in cardiovascular medicine. She joined the reputable Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute where she worked on the role of the alpha-adrenergic receptors in heart disease.

Poonam is also a passionate science communicator and has presented her work in several national and international meetings throughout her career. To satisfy her insatiable thirst for science she writes a science blog (https://cuppa.science.blog/) and also contributes periodically to local community magazines. Poonam also teaches science to students in high school and university and hopes to ignite the love of scientific wonder in them. Poonam joined AZoLifeSciences Network in 2020 which allows her to keep abreast with the latest scientific news and research.

Articles from Poornima

The Importance of the Human Microbiome in Drug Discovery

The Importance of the Human Microbiome in Drug Discovery

Role of RNA as a Drug Target

Role of RNA as a Drug Target

How do Viruses Steal Genetic Codes?

How do Viruses Steal Genetic Codes?