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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

Cell talk: Microbiologist receives fellowship for cell communication

Arul Jayaraman
Arul Jayaraman

The Battalion news reporter Kasey Khoobiar sits down with Arul Jayaraman, associate professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M and newly elected fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, to discuss his AIMBE membership, a membership only offered to the top two percent of the country’s most accomplished medical and biological engineers.
THE BATTALION: Tell us a little about AIMBE.
JAYARAMAN: Basically it’s an organization that was formed to both recognize outstanding achievements in bioengineering — very broadly defined medical and biological engineering — and also to use it as a forum for advocating for science and engineering for policy matters, et cetera. I think AIMBE acts to promote and further the interests of the science community by taking prominent people, much more prominent than me, and giving them the platform to talk for others to hear who can help.
THE BATTALION: Your research is in molecular systems biology. What does that mean in layman’s terms?
JAYARAMAN: Chemical engineers in general work with molecules, molecules and reactions for producing something or for understanding how something works. I fall in the latter category. Systems biology is basically a term used to describe application of chemical engineering principles and approaches to biological problems. It’s a new area of research that has come up in recent years. So for example, one can take a cell and treat it just like one would treat a chemical plant because in a chemical plant you are producing something, and a cell produces something, so concepts that you apply to maximize production of something in a chemical process in a plant can, in theory, be applied to a cell and be used to produce something or to manipulate it or to understand how it works.
THE BATTALION: What made you take an interest in molecular systems biology?
JAYARAMAN: When I started my career, that’s when this was coming up, this started coming up. I have some really good colleagues here who ­— we just got started talking, and just got working on it, it just happened.
THE BATTALION: What is the focus of your research?
JAYARAMAN: So basically, right now, we specifically focus on the interkingdom signaling and interaction between bacteria and host cells. That is basically the main aspect that we focus on.
THE BATTALION: What is the impact you foresee your research having on the scientific community?
JAYARAMAN: So this can potentially have an impact in several diseases, ranging anywhere from cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, to obesity, all of which have some component that involves the bacteria in the body. My lab, we work with the people over at the vet school, the med school, the people in AgriLife, who bring the expertise in these different diseases to try and work together on this.

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