At a Glance
Arya Tetali’s desire to work in a laboratory began at a young age.
“I used to sit in my bathroom and mix a bunch of shampoos and conditioners together and pretend I was in a lab,” she says.
Tetali knew, coming to UMass Lowell as a biological sciences major, that she wanted to get involved with one of the many laboratories on campus. In the summer before her junior year, she reached out to Biological Sciences Prof. Hwai-Chen Guo to see if he had a spot for her in his lab.
“I looked on his website and read some of his papers and saw that the research that he does is very similar to what I’m interested in, which is immunology,” she says. “I was fascinated by his work.”
Guo welcomed Tetali into his lab at Olsen Hall, where she is helping with a research project on analyzing M1 aminopeptidases, a family of enzymes found in the human immune system that could potentially act as targets for drugs used to treat serious diseases such as autoimmunity, cancer, hypertension, viral infections and more.
“Studying enzymes that have such a great impact on how our immune system works could help lead to the next great scientific discovery,” says Tetali, whose career aspiration is to develop drugs for the pharmaceutical industry.
“It’s wonderful to get research experience on something that I’m passionate about,” she adds. “Dr. Guo has been nothing but encouraging, and he pushes us to think beyond what we see, which is what research is all about.”
Tetali received a stipend during the summer before her senior year to continue her work in Guo’s lab through the Kennedy College of Sciences Science Scholars program. This allowed her to stay on campus instead of going back to her home in Hyderabad, India.
Tetali’s parents encouraged her to pursue college in the United States because of the country’s advanced pharmaceutical research and strong higher education system. Together, they looked into different universities before deciding that UMass Lowell was the right fit.
“I loved what the biological sciences degree pathway offered, including the ability to take a lot of electives, which allows me to take courses that are more niche-specific to what I want to do,” she says. “And it was just a great fit financially.”