Time to meet Dr. Priyanka Mittapelly (She/her)! Dr. Mittapelly is an entomologist and molecular biologist at Colorado State University interested in plant-insect and insect-microbe interactions!
What kind of scientist are you?
I’m an Entomologist and molecular biologist with research interests in plant-insect and insect-microbe interactions. I received my Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. My work at Ohio State focused on ‘Molecular interactions of brown marmorated stink bug with its bacterial endosymbiont and their role in nutrient-provisioning’. My current work at Colorado State University focuses on understanding the mechanisms underlying insect-vector and plant-insect interactions and ways to manage plant pests and associated diseases.
What made you want to become a scientist?
I always wanted to do my Ph.D. and get that Dr. title beside my name 🙂 But, my interest and love for insects and molecular biology has started in 2008, when I got an opportunity to work at Max-Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Germany. That experience has sparked my interest to work with more diverse insects and become an insect scientist/entomologist.
“That experience has sparked my interest to work with more diverse insects and become an insect scientist/entomologist.”Dr. Priyanka Mittapelly
What makes you a #UniqueScientist?
I’m a #UniqueScientist as I’m the first woman in my family to get a doctoral degree in-spite of many challenges in my life and I’m proud of what I have become today.
What’s something cool you do outside of work?
I love cooking! I spend my leisure time in cooking and teaching my 3-year old about bugs, farm animals, and cars!
If you had one wish and could change anything in science, what would it be?
I believe that Science can change the World in a better way and good science teaching can make a difference! This helps people to better understand that climate change is real, GMOs are safe, etc.
“I believe that Science can change the World in a better way and good science teaching can make a difference!”Dr. Priyanka Mittapelly
Who has inspired you the most in your journey to where you are now?
My greatest inspiration has always been my uncle. Venkateshwarlu Mittapelly (my dad’s brother) who has encouraged me almost everyday of my life in one or the other way. I lost my parents when I was 14 years old and he was the one who took care of me and influenced me to get where I am today. He always told me to be a good human first, and then an independent person. I’m very happy to talk about him here! He passed away in Jan 2019, but his blessings will always be with me and help me move ahead in my life and career.
Let’s end on a high note! What’s something you’ve done this week that you’re proud of?
Monday of this week for me had no blues! I successfully injected dsRNA into soybean thrips, which are tiny insects that you can hardly see with your naked eye.
#WomenInSTEM, #IndianScientist, #FirstGenDocs, #Entomologist, #WoCInSTEM