Photo of Popular Pandey

Postdoc of the Month: Popular Pandey

Postdoctoral scholar Popular Pandey is fascinated by processes in the nanoscale regime, where complex biological functions occur. This fascination inspired him to pursue research in biophysics at Case Western Reserve University in fall 2022, and he hasn’t wasted time making his mark.

Alongside mentor Walter Boron in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Pandey studies the intricate mechanisms of membrane proteins such as aquaporins (AQPs) and sodium bicarbonate cotransporters (NBCs) encoded by SLC4 genes that regulate the movement of water, ions, solutes across cell membranes, essential for maintaining cellular balance. He employs a combination of physiology, molecular cell biology, and molecular dynamics simulation approaches to study these membrane proteins, offering valuable insights into cellular acid-base balance.

Pandey’s research efforts at CWRU have yielded significant findings, which he has shared at four national and local conferences—including the 2023 and 2024 Biophysical Society annual meetings. 

At the 2024 meeting, he presented his research titled “Impact of the AQP5 H173D mutation on H2O and CO2 permeability,” work that also was published in the Biophysical Journal. Previously, he was given a travel award and invited to the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students to serve as a judge.

Pandey earned his PhD in physics with a concentration in single-molecule biophysics from Florida International University (FIU) in 2020. During his PhD studies, he developed a nanopipette-based electroanalytical approach for single-nanoparticle, -molecule, -cell detection and analysis. He continued as a distinguished postdoctoral scholar at FIU, where he implemented nanopipette-based electrochemical probes for on-demand intracellular detection and analysis. His research work has contributed to the advancement of the scientific community with publications in reputed journals in the field which also resulted in the acquisition of two patents.

Beyond his research, Pandey contributes to the academic community as a president of CWRU’s Postdoctoral Association—including on the organization’s Professional Development Committee—and through involvement with the Faculty Senate. In these roles, he said he looks forward to representing the interests of postdocs, promoting their professional development, and advocating for their needs and concerns.

Find out how Pandey’s experiences as a postdoc are advancing his career—and read his advice to fellow postdocs.

Answers have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

1. How do you think the postdoctoral experience at CWRU is helping you prepare and advance toward your goals?

As a postdoc researcher at CWRU, I am receiving essential training in crucial areas such as molecular cell biology, cellular electrophysiology, molecular dynamics (MD) simulation, scientific writing, and presentation. 

Beyond academic research, CWRU has been a nurturing ground for my personal and professional growth. The attainment of a UNIV401: Advanced Professional Development for University Teaching certificate, assumption of leadership roles within the CWRU Postdoctoral Association, Rise UP Northeast Ohio, and the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students have enriched my skill set, enhancing my communication, networking, and mentorship capabilities. I believe these skills are essential for my current academic pursuits and have equipped me with leadership skills that extend beyond the laboratory.

2. What’s your best piece of advice on how postdocs can make the most of their postdoc career and prepare for their future goals?

Start by identifying what you value most in your career and communicate early on about your long- and short-term goals with your mentor. Connect with individuals who have followed similar career paths to gain insights and advice. Stay open to exploring new areas beyond your research that align with your values and goals. 

Don’t forget to enjoy the journey to your goal. This is important. Fulfilling a research journey extends beyond the lab; consider volunteering opportunities to contribute to the community and nurture a sense of purpose beyond research. I emphasize the importance of socializing, taking breaks, and relishing moments outside the lab to promote overall well-being and fulfillment in both personal and professional life.

Know an outstanding postdoc making an impact at CWRU or in their field? Nominate them to be featured in this series.