Meghna Purkayastha

PastedGraphic-1 Meghna Purkayastha

Smith College, Class of 2016
Economics and Biological Sciences, Double Major


Me in front of a Volcano in La Fortuna, Costa Rica where I studied Tropical Medicine and Global Health.


  • B.A, Biological Sciences; B.A Economics (Anticipated May 2016) Smith College, Northampton MA
  • Valencia High School, Placentia CA

Intended Honors Thesis: Neurolenin as a Potential Drug Candidate for Lymphatic Filariasis

Research Interests:

I am currently researching Neurolenin as a drug development candidate to fight Lymphatic Filariasis (Lf), a neglected tropical disease.

I am working with the Shea Lab to synthesize different sesquiterpene lactones from a plant, Neurolena Labota (found in Central and South America) that has shown biological anti-parasitic properties against Lf, using Brugia pahangi our parasitic nematode animal model. We are trying to find the most appropriate concentrations of the compound that contribute to 100% death at a certain time and move forward with animal testing, with a potential partnership with Glaxo Smith Klein.


In lab with Stephanie Capsuto ’18 and Tiffani Chang ‘16


Our possible Neurolenin treatments from the Shea lab.


This is a plating of our worms! Each well has 100 worms, and we typically do two plates, so 1200 worms! We add our plant extract treatment to this and monitor them every 4 hours and hope they die within 40 hours of treatment!


“Identification of Centella asiatica, Neurolaena lobota, and Quisqualis indica as medicinal herbs containing antifilarial activity to target lymphatic filariasis parasites.Journal of the Smith College Women in Science 2014, SURF Abstract, 2014.


With one of my lab mates, Stephanie Capsuto ‘18


Fun Facts:

I have a twin sister who is studying Environmental Engineering at UCLA
I am the Student Government Association President at Smith College
I was heavily involved with SC Masti, a South Asian fusion dance team!