Hrishikesh Kulkarni, MSCI

Assistant Professor of Medicine and Molecular Microbiology, Medicine

The overarching goal of our research program is to determine how epithelial cell-derived proteins can be harnessed to mitigate the risk of acute lung injury in various settings, to ultimately reduce the burden of end-stage lung disease. A major focus of our work involves distinguishing the role of locally-derived complement proteins in the lung from those present in the blood, and how they modulate the development of pneumonia and acute lung injury. We use multiple in vitro and in vivo approaches to dissect the mechanism by which these proteins contribute to cellular survival. Additionally, we draw upon a robust biorepository of lung tissue, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and DNA from human subjects to guide and validate our research.

We have active projects investigating lung injury due to pneumonia, and the short- and long-term consequences of ischemia-reperfusion injury occurring in the context of lung transplantation, with the ultimate goal of mitigating the morbidity and mortality occurring due to these forms of lung injury. Postdocs have the opportunity to develop an expertise in immunology, cell biology, bioinformatics, literature review, and scientific writing as they will address these questions.

Research keywords: Lung; Pneumonia; Transplantation

Basic information

Mentoring statement:As a pulmonary physician-scientist, I consider it an important responsibility to inspire the next generation to consider a career in biomedical research, including trainees at multiple levels. I believe in asking trainees key questions that will impact their thought process, and provide them with the resources that they can help get their questions answered. This initial contact is followed up with subsequent meetings to help them refine their thought process. Ultimately, I consider it my responsibility to help trainees invest their time in efforts that are going to be feasible, innovative, novel, ethical and relevant, and are going to facilitate them to develop products (e.g., abstracts, publications, grants) that will help them advance their careers. In my laboratory, I practice a similar approach to mentoring. We have two lab meetings: an ‘action-oriented’ lab meeting where each lab member presents experimental plans and obtains feedback from others. There is a separate ‘learning-oriented’ meeting where one trainee per week presents their work-in-progress. Trainees are specifically encouraged to go outside the Division to learn new skills and bring them back to the program. An individualized Career Development Plan helps define goals, and identify areas for improvement. This plan is revisited every 3 months as a part of quarterly meetings. I am a strong advocate for a committee-based approach towards growth and learning, and have inculcated this approach in our trainees. Thus, by providing my individualized inputs, and leveraging the strengths and expertise of those at Washington University, I believe we can further elevate the experience for our trainees, and help them achieve their true potential.
Some former postdocs’ career outcomes:Not provided.

Postdoc openings within the next year

Number of postdoc positions:2
Postdoc eligibility:U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents
Current Visa-Holding Trainees in the U.S.
International Trainees Outside the U.S.