Bijal Kikani, B.S., graduated from the University of Maryland (UMD) in May 2018 with a degree in Neurobiology & Physiology. As part of her studies in the Entomology Department, Bijal spent two years researching regulatory genes and pathways of embryonic development in the fruit fly. In her last semester, she received the Ernest N. Cory Undergraduate Scholarship, which provided funding for her creative contribution to research. Throughout her final two years at UMD and the two years following graduation, she worked at the NIH studying targeted treatment for childhood skeletal growth disorders, such as achondroplasia.
Currently, Bijal works with Dr. Pravitt Gourh in the Scleroderma Genomics and Health Disparities Unit in the NIAMS. She is using genomic technologies to understand the role of scleroderma-associated genetic variants in autoimmunity and fibrosis.
Bijal is passionate about studying pediatric and health disparity conditions. Previously, she researched childhood skeletal growth disorders. Currently, she is investigating the role genetics plays in the increased prevalence of autoimmune diseases in minority populations.