Student Researcher Spotlight: Shashank Pant

Shashank Pant, a Ph.D student in computational biophysics, works in the Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group.  

Shashank Pant is a Ph.D. student in computational biophysics, who works in the Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group with Professor Emad Tajkhorshid.

Hometown: Lucknow, India

 Shashank Pant in his lab.

What kind of research are you working on?

I develop and use classical mechanical simulation methods to study the kinetics and thermodynamics of complex biological processes. I am specifically interested in performing all-atom simulations that can reach timescales of milliseconds and longer, with the aim to bridge the gap between theory and experiments. As these timescales are far beyond the reach of the fastest supercomputers, my work entails the use of a variety of enhanced sampling algorithms to understand the dynamics of biomedically relevant biomolecules.

Why is this important and why do you find it interesting? 

As we are living in a molecular age, most of the researchers would like to gain detailed insights into the complex biological processes. This is not possible without including computational approaches. Thus, my work entails the use and development of computational methodologies to provide atomic level descriptions of complex biological processes/phenomena. 

How has your affiliation with the Beckman Institute helped you? 

The Beckman Institute provides a highly interdisciplinary environment which fosters collaborations, and reduces barriers between traditional science and technology. It has helped me to make connections with experts in the field that otherwise would have not been possible. For example, this year I was a recipient of the Beckman Institute Graduate Fellowship and it was all attributed to a highly collaborative environment provided by the Beckman Institute.

What you like to do in your free time?

Playing cricket, watching movies, etc.

Favorite Champaign-Urbana restaurant: 

The Himalayan Chimney