Viraat is a Ph.D. candidate studying the intricacies of 3D genome architecture under Professor Anders Hansen in the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT. His research applies experimental and computational genomics to understand how the spatial organization of DNA regulates genes in health and disease. He has focused on resolving DNA folding structures at higher resolutions and for a fraction of the costs than previously feasible, and has found new structures connecting genes and their regulators. A native of central Illinois, Viraat completed his B.S. in Bioengineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign before joining MIT BE in 2019. He is a strong believer in the power of community and has co-led the BE Graduate Student Board for the past two years, representing student interests to faculty and advancing professional & social student initiatives. Passionate about diversity in STEM, Viraat has steered the BE Application Assistance Program in supporting PhD applicants from all backgrounds. As a Communication Lab Fellow, he provides peer mentoring for science communication and has helped inaugurate the 3-Minute Thesis competition at MIT. He has explored science policy by helping launch the first graduate student-focused Congressional caucus and biomedical entrepreneurship through his involvement with MIT Hacking Medicine. In his spare time, Viraat enjoys biking, calling friends, hanging out with his cat Billi, and reminiscing about life in the Midwest.
Ph.D. , BioengineeringClass of 2024