We are a group of energetic and diverse individuals with a passion for understanding how nutrients and genetics influence overall health. Alumni from the lab have continued their careers both in academia and in the private sector. The lab is housed within the brand-new Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health (IFNH). We are always interested in welcoming talented postdoctoral fellows and graduate and undergraduate students to the team.

Lab photo


Harini Sampath 


Harini is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health, at Rutgers University. In her work, she uses her training in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition to identify cellular alterations that underlie metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Her work is funded by the NIH, the Marie-Curie Foundation, and the American Heart Association and has been published in numerous journals including the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the American Journal of Physiology, Cell Metabolism, Plos One, and Endocrinology. Harini received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2008 and her B.S. from the University of New Hampshire in 2002. In her free time, Harini enjoys traveling, gardening, and spending time with her family.

Laboratory Associates


Hong Ye

Hong joined the Sampath Lab at its inception in 2016 as Lab Manager. She manages various lab duties including genotyping, nucleic acid isolations, histology, and ordering.  After work, Hong enjoys cooking and gardening and has a veritable green thumb.


Deeptha Kumaraswamy

Deeptha joined the Sampath Lab in 2017 as a Research Associate and supports the lipidomic needs of the lab.  Deeptha operates and maintains the lab’s gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) instrument.  In her spare time, Deeptha enjoys cooking and making intricate origami.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Priyanka pic

Dr. Priyanka Sharma

Priyanka joined the Sampath Lab in June 2018. Trained in academia and industry her research focuses on identifying new dietary phytochemicals with promising pharmacological activity against diseases posing a threat to public health. She is currently working on understanding the molecular mechanisms that link dietary factors, including macronutrients, micronutrients, and polyphenols, to induction of DNA damage both in vitro and in vivo. In her free time she loves to travel and develop her passion for nature photography.


Graduate Students

Natalie Burchat

Natalie Burchat

Natalie is a doctoral student in the Molecular Biosciences program focused on elucidating the role of delta-9 desaturases in non-lipogenic tissues. In her free time, Natalie likes to exercise and to cook.

Bhavya Blaze

Bhavya is a graduate student in the department of Nutritional Sciences, who joined Sampath Lab in January 2019. Her research focuses on the modulation of exercise endurance by oxidative stress . While she is not in classes or in the lab, she enjoys spending time with her family.

Undergraduate Students

Emmanuel Encarnado

Emmanuel Encarnado

Emmanuel joined the lab as an undergraduate researcher in 2018. He is currently pursuing a degree in Biochemistry and hopes to work as a pharmaceutical scientist in the future. Emmanuel is a GH Cook Honors Student completing his thesis on lipid regulation of GLP-1 secretion in the Sampath lab.

Camila Silva

Camila joined the lab in 2020 as a G.H Cook Scholar; her thesis is focused on sex differences in the gut microbiome. She is currently pursuing a degree in Biotechnology and a minor in Biochemistry. In her free time, she loves traveling, singing and photographing sunsets.


Aimun Akhtar

Aimun joined the lab in 2019 as a Freshman and is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Biology. She helps the lab keep on top of routine tasks, including genotyping our extensive mouse colony.

Sarah Pfreundschuh

Sarah joined the lab as an undergraduate researcher in 2020. She is currently pursuing a degree in Nutritional Science and a minor in Biochemistry and hopes to pursue a career in functional medicine. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, exercising, and spending time outdoors.

Ranjita Suresh

Ranjita joined the lab in 2020 as a Freshman and is currently pursuing a degree in Nutritional Sciences. In the future, she hopes to have a career in pediatric medicine. In her free time, she enjoys singing, playing the ukulele, and spending time with her friends and family. 

Lab Alumni and Current Positions

Sai Santosh Babu Komakula, Ph.D. 2020, Assistant Professor, Wroclaw University, Poland

Emely Fernandez, Sampath Lab undergraduate fellow in Biology and Mathematics, medical student at Rutgers University

Tasleenpal Akal, MS Nutritional Sciences 2020

Gloria Awuku, Undergraduate RiSE Scholar 2018-2019

Dr. Anupom Mondal, Post-doctoral fellow in Sampath Lab 2017-2019, Senior Scientist at Oncodeva

Emmanuel Marfo, accelerated MS 2019, Medical student at Eastern Virginia Medical School

Jana Tumova, Ph.D., Post-doctoral fellow in Sampath Lab, 2016-2018,  UT-San Antonio

Rohit Aita, Undergraduate Researcher and New Jersey Governor’s STEM Scholar, Genetics

Terianne Englis, GH Cook Honors Student

Stephen Argentina, Undergraduate Researcher, Food Sciences

Melanie Logue, Dietetic Intern, Sodexho

Tyra Aversa, SEBS Biology Honors Student

Ashley Morales, SEBS Undergraduate Student