Student Research Spotlight: Avi Bodzin

By: Gitty Boshnack  |  September 20, 2021

By Gitty Boshnack, Science and Technology Editor

Gitty Boshnack (GB): Hi Avi, thank you for taking the time to meet with me. Let’s start by getting to know you a bit.

AB: My name is Avi Bodzin, and I’m a biochemistry major. I would like to go to medical school, but after that I’m unsure. This is my fourth semester taking classes, but I’m a senior by credits due to Israel credits.

GB: How did you get involved in this research?

AB: I asked Professor Viswanathan, who I had taken for general chemistry, if she or any of her colleagues were doing any research that I could participate in. 

GB: What did you study in the lab, and whom did you study under?

AB: I studied under Professor Viswanathan, looking at protein-protein interactions, specifically binding residue prediction.

GB: What did you hope to gain from this research experience?

AB: Mostly I wanted research experience – how the process works, what the work is like, etc., but the opportunity to contribute to real-world research and to create a connection with someone in the field was also very exciting.

GB: What are some real-world applications of this research?

AB: Accurately predicting the binding sites of proteins is one of the big problems in the biochemical sciences right now and solving it would have major implications in many industries, but we’re most interested in its applications to pharmaceutical development.

GB: What was your role in the lab?

AB: One of Professor Viswanathan’s previous students, Mordechai Walder (YC 2020), developed a meta-method for predicting binding residues in proteins. My role was to collect and organize a lot of data using other methods so that the research team had something to compare the results of Walder’s method against.

GB: Do you have any advice for students who are trying to get lab positions?

AB: Ask professors you like if they or someone in their department are doing research you can help with, or if they have colleagues in other schools and programs that they could connect you with.

GB: This was so interesting, Avi! Thank you so much for sharing.