Lab Member Spotlight - Sri Yalavarthi

Sri Yalavarthi, MS
Sri Yalavarthi, MS

Srilakshmi (Sri) Yalavarthi, MS is the lab manager in Dr. Jason Knight’s Lab in the Division of Rheumatology. Sri majored in Biochemistry and Human Genetics for her undergraduate degree and received her Master’s degree in Biochemistry in India. Sri came to the United States in August 1999, where she pursued another Master’s degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Eastern Michigan University.

Sri began her career as an intern in Dr. Kevin McDonagh’s Lab in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at Michigan Medicine in January 2002. A few months later, she started working as a research assistant on a project focusing on adoptive immunotherapy using lentiviral system, specifically targeting the HER2 oncogene.

In 2005, Sri joined Dr. Rory Marks group in the Division of Rheumatology, as a Research Lab Specialist Associate/Lab Manager, working on the proteomics of Dengue virus NS1 protein that is involved in viral infectivity. In 2008, prior to coming to work in Dr. Knight's Lab, Sri was the lab manager in Dr. Mariana Kaplan’s Lab, working on the role of low density granulocytes (LDGs) in lupus pathogenesis and vascular damage.

Learn more about Sri Yalavarthi

How long have you been at Michigan?

It’s been 18 years since I started at the University of Michigan.

How long have you been in the Knight lab?

I started in the Knight lab in October 2013. That makes me a Knight lab member for seven-and-a-half years. Wow, time flies!

What parts of your work do you most enjoy?

I mostly enjoy bench research. Helping lead a project, conducting experiments, and analyzing the outcomes to answer a question is the best part of my job. I also enjoy mentoring new staff, which gives me an opportunity to share my knowledge and skills. Sometimes people refer to me as their “lab mom.”

Do you prefer research that is very basic or more on the translational side?

I like both basic science research and the translational side, as well. I strongly believe that basic research is the platform for understanding any biological concept, which eventually can be applied to a clinical setting.  

What interests you about antiphospholipid syndrome (APS)?

APS, being a rare and sometimes fatal autoimmune clotting disorder, is unfortunately a really understudied disease. I hope that our work to understand various pathways involved in the disease, such as the role of NETs, will help us eventually find a cure. Only by going very deep into these molecular mechanisms will we be able to find the best way to treat each individual patient. I am very thankful for being a part of such a great team. I love going to work each day.

What is something you enjoy doing outside of work?

I enjoy gardening, traveling, and trying out different cuisines with my family and friends.