PhD Student

Quantifying GPCR and G protein interaction with fluorescence cross-correlation spectroscopy (PhD)

Supervisor’s name:

Prof. Katharina (Kat) Gaus
Dr Varun Sreenivasan

Rashmi Pillai is an interdisciplinary and versatile researcher at Single Molecule Science (School of Medical Sciences) at the UNSW Node. She was awarded the highly competitive Tuition Fee Scholarship (TFS) plus research stipend from UNSW to support her studies. Before joining for PhD, Rashmi has completed Master by Research from Macquarie University, Australia with high distinction and was recipient of International Research Training Pathway scholarship (iRTP). She also carries a strong understanding of Nanoscience and Material Science from the research projects she has carried out during her Master of Technology in Nanoscience degree.

During her PhD research, Rashmi has developed strong skills in receptor biology, pharmacology, advanced microscopy techniques and image analysis. Her current work is focused to quantify the molecular interaction between µ-opioid receptors and its intracellular signalling partner, G proteins using advanced fluorescence correlation spectroscopy with a goal to determine the extent of basal coupling of G proteins to receptor, and how it is modulated by opioids.  The understanding of these molecular interactions will contribute towards determining opioid’s efficacy and help in designing better opioids with fewer side-effects.

Rashmi has been selected to present her work at various national and international conferences. She has also actively engaged and volunteered in various scientific societies and student community of the NSW the EMBL Australia Node. She was selected as one among 60 talented PhD students from entire Australia to attend the 6th EMBL Australia PhD Course, at the University of Tasmania in 2019 and has also been featured as scientist in 1MWIS campaign in 2020.

Currently, in her final PhD year, Rashmi aspires to apply the skills and knowledge she has gained over the years as an independent researcher in either industry or academia.


Master of Technology in Nanoscience | Bachelor of Technology in Biotechnology

Research Theme:
Molecular Imaging of T Cell Activation