Aarti Raja, Ph.D.

Aarti Raja

Associate Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
(954) 262-7975
aarti.raja@nova.edu

Biographical Sketch

Aarti Raja earned her Ph.D. in Microbiology at the University of Maryland in 2000, completed her postdoctoral work at Harvard Medical School and joined the faculty at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) in 2012.  She holds the rank of Associate Professor and serves in the Department of Biological Sciences in the Halmos College of Natural Science and Oceanography.  She teaches and guides students throughout their careers at NSU.  Her areas of research include microbiology, and innovations in science education.  Aarti is recognized at NSU and externally for her support of undergraduate students which has connected her students with national and international research communities.  Aarti collaborates with researchers from across the globe via the project called Small World Initiative (SWI) which she brought to NSU. SWI is a program that was created by Yale University’s Center for teaching and allows undergraduate students to engage in research early in their careers laying the groundwork for scientific discovery. Aarti is also part of a program started at NSU called Science Alive! which connects the college community with local schools to bring hands-on science education and learning opportunities to school age children. Aarti has several years of research in the field of virology, specifically human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and its proteins. In addition to research and teaching, Aarti gained vast experience in the field of infectious diseases consulting for the pharmaceutical and financial industries.

Education

Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA     2000-2003

Research Fellow/Academic Fellow                                                               

Department of Pathology/Department of Cancer Immunology and AIDS

Harvard Medical School/Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA

Principal Investigator - Dr. Joseph Sodroski

Postdoctoral research topic: Studied structural aspects of the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein to aid in the use of the envelope as a target for vaccine design.

Ph.D., Microbiology: University of Maryland at College Park (UMCP), MD     2000

Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics (CBMG)

UMCP, MD

Principal Investigator - Dr. Jeffrey J. DeStefano

Doctoral research topic: Understanding the mechanism of retroviral recombination, the role of HIV nucleocapsid protein and reverse transcriptase on HIV replication.

B.S., Microbiology: UMCP, MD     1993

Industry Experience

Senior Market Research Analyst     2007-2009

Guidepoint Global

New York, NY

Conducted online physician surveys and data analyses to evaluate current medical practices, unmet needs, and emerging devices/therapies. Provided market analysis and expert opinion to clients in the financial industry

Market Research Analyst     2003-2007

Decision Resources Group

Waltham, MA

Conducted pharmaceutical market analysis, including evaluation of current medical practices, unmet needs, and emerging therapies.  Projected the commercial outlook for drugs in development

Areas of Academic Focus

HIV envelope proteins

HIV entry

Soil microbiology

Microbiology

Courses Taught at NSU

BIOL 1500 – Introduction to Biology I

BIOL 3400 – Microbiology

BIOL 3450 – Virology

BIOL 4950 – Internship in Biology

ENVS 3101 – Introduction to Public Health

HONR 2010 – Germs and their power over humanity

UNIV 1012L – First year seminar: Do Microorganisms define our identity?

Broward County Public Schools, Community Involvement Awards, Nomination for Community Partner of the Year (April 2014)

ASM Early Career Faculty travel award for excellence in microbiology education 2014

Andrew Moyer Outstanding Graduate Student Award 1998-1999

Teaching Excellence Award 1998-1999

Rajiv Gandhi Summer Research Fellowship 1994

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Research Fellowship 1992-1993

Raja A, Emily Schmitt Lavin, Tamara Gali, Kaitlin Donovan. Science Alive!: Connecting with Elementary Students through Science Exploration. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education, Vol. 17, Issue 2, May 2016.

Raja A, Lebbos J, and Kirkpatrick P. 2004. Telithromycin. Fresh from the Pipeline; Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, September 2004.

LaBonte J, Lebbos J, Raja A, and Kirkpatrick P. 2004. Infectious Diseases Updates. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, June 2004.

Raja A, Lebbos J, and Kirkpatrick P. 2003. Atazanavir Sulfate. Fresh from the Pipeline; Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, November 2003.

Raja A, LaBonte J, Lebbos J, and Kirkpatrick P. 2003. Daptomycin. Fresh from the Pipeline; Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, December 2003.

Labrijn AF, Poignard P, Raja A, Zwick MB, Delgado K, Franti M, Binley J, Vivona V, Grundner C, Huang CC, Venturi M, Petropoulos CJ, Wrin T, Dimitrov DS, Robinson J, Kwong PD, Wyatt RT, Sodroski J, Burton DR. 2003. Access of antibody molecules to the conserved coreceptor binding site on glycoprotein gp120 is sterically restricted on primary human immunodeficiency virus type 1.  Journal of Virology 77:10557-10565.

Raja Aarti and Jeffrey J. DeStefano. 2003. Interaction of HIV reverse transcriptase with structures mimicking recombination intermediates. Journal of Biological Chemistry 278: 10102-11.

Raja Aarti, Miro Venturi, Peter Kwong, and Joseph Sodroski. 2003. CD4 binding site antibodies inhibit human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) gp120 envelope glycoprotein interaction with CCR5. Journal of Virology 77: 713-718.

DeStefano JJ, Aarti Raja, and Jason, V. Cristofaro. 2000. In vitro strand transfer from broken RNAs results in mismatch but not frameshift mutations. Virology 276(1): 7-15.

Raja Aarti and Jeffrey J. DeStefano. 1999. Kinetic Analysis of the effect of HIV nucleocapsid protein (NCp) on internal strand transfer reactions. Biochemistry 38: 5178-5184.

DeStefano, J. J., Jhumka Ghosh, Brinda Prasad, and Aarti Raja. 1998. High fidelity of internal strand transfer catalyzed by human immunodeficiency virus reverse transcriptase. Journal of Biological Chemistry 273: 1483-9.

Bukatevych, A., Khorramshahi, T., Morgan, N and Raja, A. Isolation of antibiotic producing microorganisms from various Soil: The Everglades, Davie, and West Palm Beach. NSU Undergraduate student symposium, April 2016.

Morgan, N., Gali, T., and Raja, A. A comparative study of microorganism populations from select south Florida locations. American Society for microbiology Florida branch meeting at Cocoa Beach, FL, October 9-11, 2015.

Raja, A., and Williams, A. H. “Biology on the go; K-12” at the American Society for Microbiologists conference for undergraduate educators (ASMCUE) at Austin, TX, May 28-31, 2015.

Joseph, S., Gali, T., Raja, A., and Baldauf, P. A comparative study of microorganism populations from Storm Water Treatment Areas and select south Florida locations. Small World Initiative symposium at ASMCUE, Austin, TX, May 28-31, 2015. Sabina Joseph won a travel award from Yale University to present and attend the symposium.

Gali, T., Joseph, S., Raja, A., and Baldauf, P.  A comparative study of microorganism populations from Storm Water Treatment Areas and select south Florida locations. NSU Undergraduate student symposium, April 2015. Tamara Gali and Sabina Joseph won “Honorable mention” award for their poster.

Raja, A. Career in biology. Tribeta annual induction ceremony at NSU March 26th, 2015.

Raja, A. “Enhancing Science Education through Service Learning.” ASMCUE, Danvers, MA, May 15-18, 2014.  Received an Early-Career Faculty Award sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM).

9th Annual Southeast Cell Science Undergraduate Research Symposium, Miami, Florida, April 26th, 2014.

  • Co-Presenter, Navarra, R., and Raja, A., “Enhancing science education through hands on Learning: Poster Presentation in Microbiology.”
  • Co-Presenter, Gali, T., and Raja, A., “Integration of scientific concepts through a hands-on learning program: Science Alive!"

Co-Presenter, with Schmitt, E., and Loomis, J.  Earth Secrets Lecture: Part 1: Earth’s Microbes: Big Impact on a Small Scale. Nova Southeastern University. April 16, 2014.

Co-Presenter, Gali, T., and Raja, A, “Hands on garden based experiential learning for elementary school children.” The 78th Annual Meeting of the Florida academy of sciences, Fort Pierce, Florida, March 7-8, 2014.

Advisor to Tamara Gali who was awarded a Tri-Beta (National Biology Honor Society) research grant for the proposal entitled, “A comparative study of microorganism populations from Storm Water Treatment Areas and select south Florida locations.” (Grant awarded October, 2015).

Advisor to Nicholas Morgan. Research titled, “A comparative study of microorganism populations from select south Florida locations.” presented at the American Society for microbiology Florida (FLASM) branch meeting at Cocoa Beach, FL, October 9-11, 2015.

Advisor Sabina Joseph, who was awarded a travel award from Yale University to present her research titled “A comparative study of microorganism populations from Storm Water Treatment Areas and select south Florida locations. Small World Initiative symposium at ASMCUE, Austin, TX, May 28-31, 2015.

Advisor to several laboratory based research projects presented at NSU’s Annual Undergraduate Student Symposium.  One of these projects resulted in competitive awards for the Students (2015).

Editor in chief for the Undergraduate Student Journal, which publishes undergraduate student research at Nova Southeastern University (2016-Present).

Faculty advisor for NSU chapter Rho Rho of the National Biology Honor’s society Beta Beta Beta. 2016-Present.

Member of American Society for Microbiology (ASM) (since 1996) http://www.asm.org/

Member of the American Association of University Women (since 2012) http://www.aauw.org/ 

Member of Beta Beta Beta, National Biological Honor Society (since 2014) http://www.tri-beta.org/