Modus Operandi with Anisha Adke

Modus Operandi is a regular series that peers into the methods and personalities of UO  undergraduate scholars. 

Anisha Adke is a junior biology major (concentration in neuroscience and behavior) in the Department of Biology conducting research in the Miller Lab. Adke’s research aims to identify the genes required for the first synapses to form in the brain and understand how they drive neural network formation during development.

UROP caught up with Anisha to learn more about her modus operandi.

How did you get started in research?

Besides a short phase of wanting to be a firefighter, I think I always wanted to be a researcher. I spent a lot of my childhood in my backyard looking at bugs and whenever we’d go to the beach I’d become engrossed with the tide pools or whatever little sand fleas were hopping around. I don’t think I realized until high school that you could do that sort of thing for a living, so once I realized it I starting finding ways to join biology labs and understand how life works.


What are a few of the primary tools and/or resources that you use in conducting research? What do they do?

Because I study genetics, I do a lot of DNA sequencing. One of my most used tools is Geneious, a sequencing analysis software. It’s very necessary for keeping track of the genes I am studying and all the genetic manipulations I do. On another note, I use multichannel micropipettes and automatic pipettes to speed up all of my wet lab work.

Students are busy; do you use any apps or technology to help manage your time and productivity?

All the apps I’ve tried have been too easy for me to ignore, so I have had to find other ways to keep on top of things. I can be a bit forgetful, so I have to use the calendar on my phone and laptop to stay on track. When big projects are coming up, I’ll set aggressive reminders to frequently pop up as the deadline draws closer which induces a mild panic that usually keeps me productive.


If you could do research in a different field, what would it be? Why?

Marine Biology. I find aquatic organisms beyond exciting, particularly cephalopods like octopi and cuttlefish. My ideal research field would be to combine neuroscience and marine biology to study cephalopod intelligence and complexity.


What is your favorite place on campus?

A&AA Library in front of the big windows, the cemetery, and the Mills International Center in the EMU by the fireplace.


What are you currently reading?

$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America – Kathryn Edin & H. Luke Shaefer. Re-reading Ishmael – Daniel Quinn


Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what genre(s) and why?

Depends on what I’m doing – if I’m reading, the music is too distracting. If I’m doing something that I find slightly dull, I need to listen to music to distract my attention. I listen to mostly hip-hop, centering around Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and Tupac because 1) they’re all legends and 2) they delve into social issues that other artists don’t always incorporate into their work.


How do you stay inspired and energized?

I get outside my field – sometimes when nothing in the lab is working, I need to take a break and spend time in the ceramics studio, painting with my roommate, releasing frustration in the boxing room, or whatever it may be. I’ve recently discovered Santiago Ramón y Cajal’s work, and even just staring at some of his work makes me feel inspired both creatively and scientifically.


Coffee, tea, or soda person? Copious amounts, or within reason?

Coffee, as much as necessary.

Have you thought about what you want to do after graduation?

I’m planning to take a few years to work full time in research before thinking about applying to graduate school.


What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t be apathetic.