Christian Cammarota

Graduate Student, The Bergstralh Lab

You work in a laboratory.  What are you currently researching? 

I’m studying biological physics. Specifically, I am studying how new cells are added to an existing epithelial tissue. These tissues need to maintain integrity to function properly and newly born cells need to incorporate themselves into the tissue. I am studying how changing physical properties of epithelial tissues affect the incorporation of newly born cells.

What was it that originally sparked your interest in biology?

Originally for me, biology was just an option. I have always been very interested in the physics of how stuff works. In the physics program at U of R, I had many options of what I wanted to study but biology calls out to me because it is a vastly underexplored subject from a physical standpoint. Though many biological concepts are now understood, there is a lot of room for the physics of living systems to be studied.

What do you enjoy most about working here at the U of R? 

I really like the U of R’s environment, and commitment to training. The Department of Biology, though it has no obligations to me as a physics PhD student, has been very accommodating and inclusive with my studies. Just by association with the Bergstralh Lab, I have been welcomed into the yearly graduate student seminars and department retreat. I still feel like a physics student but also feel welcomed as a biology student as well.

What’s the most important thing that you’ve learned working here and/or studying biology?

The most important thing I have learned is definitely scientific communication. Communication between biologists and physicists can be tough, especially since the last bit of formal instruction in biology I had before the U of R was in high school. Having the opportunity to work in a lab in a different department than my home department has greatly improved not only my understanding of biology but my ability to describe my thoughts to other biology researchers and understand what the researchers are telling me.

How do you unwind when you’re not in the lab?

I am a major sports fan. Sundays from August to February are reserved for football and my Philadelphia Eagles. It’s been a rough year, but they made it to the playoffs! I also keep up with my other Philadelphia sports teams, but football is by far my favorite. Aside from sports I enjoy spending time with my friends and family whenever I can, whether we’re playing games, seeing movies, or out at a bar!