Seven years of undergraduate and graduate study, countless research projects and a whopping 8,607 miles.

It’s safe to say that Karshak Kosaraju’s journey to UNCG was a long one.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy at Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad in India and a master’s degree in chemistry at NC A&T State, Kosaraju is now finishing up his last semester as a PhD student at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN), an academic collaboration between NC A&T and UNCG.

As a nanoscientist, Kosaraju studies materials measured in nanometers – a unit of measurement that is one billionth of a meter, or approximately 75,000 to 100,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. Despite their small size, these materials can often have a big impact in medicine, electronics and other fields.

Kosaraju has spent the past three and a half years researching the toxicity of nanomaterials used in semiconductor manufacturing. Why did he choose JSNN? Simply put, it’s a world-class institution.

“There are only a few places in the world that can offer these facilities and instruments all under one roof,” Kosaraju said.

Additionally, the opportunity to participate in interdisciplinary research made JSNN very attractive to Kosaraju, whose research is a blend of chemistry, biology, physics, engineering and mathematics.

“Interdisciplinary research has helped me tremendously,” he said. “It’s allowed me to understand the bigger picture.”

Kosaraju’s dissertation, which he presented in October, serves as a source for the semiconductor industry as it seeks to eliminate harmful materials from its manufacturing operations. He conducted the majority of his research at JSNN facilities, using electron microscopes and spectrometers to study nanomaterials and their properties.

Kosaraju has traveled across the country to share his findings at some of the top nanotechnology research conferences, including the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization Conference, ARM TechCon and The Electrochemical Society’s international meeting. He has published four journal articles based on his research, with four additional articles in the publishing process.

Not only has Kosaraju grown professionally, but he’s grown personally as well.

“I’ve become more patient,” he said. “The most important thing I’ve learned throughout this process is to be stable when things go wrong.”

When he encountered challenges, Kosaraju relied on his advisors, UNCG’s Dr. Joseph Starobin and NC A&T’s Dr. Shyam Aravamudhan, and his thesis committee.

“They’ve been really supportive throughout this entire process,” he said. “Each time I got a chance to talk with my committee, I learned something new.”

After graduation, Kosaraju intends to work for Banner Life Sciences, a pharmaceutical company based in High Point. Long term, he plans to continue to be a part of cutting-edge research, with one goal in mind: helping others.

“I would like to see myself in a directorial position of a world-class organization,” he said. “I want to help save lives.”


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Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Relations
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Relations