Kajal Gupta, PhD

Department of Microbial Pathogens and Immunity, Rush Medical College
Role: Researcher and Faculty
Joined Rush in 2016


I am an Instructor in the Department of Microbial Pathogens and Immunity, having joined Rush in January of 2016. I trained as a microbiologist, and I specialize in infectious diseases. My research aims to discover how the gut microbiome influences the development and function of immune cells and the nervous system in relation to various infectious diseases.

What inspired you to get into your field?

I love to be challenged and to learn new things every day. Immunologic and neurologic imbalances underlie many diseases. I find it fascinating that the human body represents a scaffold upon which multitudes of commensal species build residence, creating a diverse ecosystem. Mechanisms that mediate the interdependent and complex interactions between the microbiome and animals, as well as their influences on human health, represent an exciting frontier of science and medicine. The fast pace and unpredictability of scientific research keeps me excited and motivated. My resilience has kept me coming back for more.

What excited you about your work at Rush?

What I most appreciate about Rush is the opportunities they extend to junior faculty members. I have had the chance to work in collaboration with many clinicians and researchers on multidisciplinary projects, which is not only exciting but has also helped me to come out from my bubble and to establish myself as a multidisciplinary researcher.

What is your opinion of mentoring and sponsorship? Please comment about your experiences.

Rush provides an excellent networking and mentoring environment in order to foster career growth and opportunities for junior faculties. Without Rush’s mentoring and sponsorship program, I would not, over the last couple of years, have gained the confidence that I needed to make the most of the opportunities that have come my way.

Do you have tips or advice you would recommend for someone looking to enter your field of work?

Be yourself. Cultivate your passion for what you love, and success will come. Don’t shy away from seeking guidance and advice from your superiors.

What are your hobbies? How do you like to spend your free time?

In addition to science, I am passionate about dance. I am trained as an Indian classical dancer, and I spend time practicing this type of dance whenever I can. I also love to cook, read autobiographies, and take long walks.