PhD Student, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
Priyanka Uprety attended good schools, lived in a comfortable home and was nurtured by her family when she was growing up in Kathmandu. But even as a youngster, she knew there was “another” Nepal. She saw it on school vacations when her father took her and her brother to distribute food and clothing to the residents of the rural village where he and his 11 siblings had lived. “The capital city was pretty posh, and in the village, they had the bare minimum, and to me it was very unfair,” she says.
Uprety is studying how genes are involved in regulating the manufacture of IL-10, an anti-inflammatory messenger molecule implicated in mediating susceptibility or resistance to infectious diseases such as HIV and measles. Identifying the mechanisms of IL-10 expression may lead to the development of drugs and vaccines; discoveries that could prove lifesaving in rural Nepal where infectious diseases still claim the lives of many children. Uprety would like to join the Epidemic Intelligence Service of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and work in academia. Her ultimate goal: returning to Nepal to follow her father’s example of helping those who lack health care.