Chemistry and Biochemistry

Komal Kedia Works to Discover Cause of Preeclampsia

Posted: in Biochemistry, Student, Oct 16, 2014

Komal Kedia, who represented the College of Physical and Mathematica Sciences in BYU's 2014 3MT competition, was recently featured on BYU Radio for her work with Dr. Graves.

Komal Kedia, a chemistry fifth year PhD student from New Delhi, India, represented the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences in BYU’s 2014 Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT). The 3MT program, created by the University of Queensland, Australia, challenges PhD candidates to present their doctoral thesis in under three minutes, using language that a non-specialist audience can understand. Kedia said of this challenge, “Explaining four years of my work in a time frame of three minutes seemed almost impossible at first. But when I started to prepare for it, I realized how important it is to be able to explain my work briefly. I am someone who can keep talking about my research for as long as you want to hear about it. [Afterwards], when someone would ask about my research, I knew the important points to tell them.”  Kedia represented the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the CPMS pre-competition, and was one of two students chosen to represent the entire college in the university-wide final round held on February 26.  Kedia said that the best part of the competition was seeing the diversity of research being conducted at BYU. “The Graduate Student Society (GSS) did such an amazing job of bringing colleges together at the university level,” said Kedia. “I am so proud of BYU and feel blessed to be part of such a great institution.”

Learn more about 3MT here.

Kedia’s thesis involves discovering the causes of preeclampsia. According to Kedia, “Preeclampsia (PE) is a clinical syndrome affecting two to ten percent of pregnancies worldwide.” Preeclampsia often results in the death of the mother or in a termination of the pregnancy in order to save the mother’s life.  There is no definite cure, and no way to prevent the disease. “The reason we do not have a cure for PE,” said Kedia, “Is because we do not know what causes PE.” On June 25, 2014, Kedia and her faculty advisor, Steven Graves, were interviewed on the BYU Radio Morning Show about their “quest to cure the mysterious disease that is the number-two killer of women in childbirth worldwide” (Marcus Smith). 

Listen to the radio show here. (Kedia’s portion starts at 83:52).

Kedia did her undergraduate studies in Pharmacy at the Delhi Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research (DIPSAR).  When asked about her experience at BYU, she said, “BYU is an institution that has so much to offer to its students and I couldn’t have been more satisfied and happy with my grad school experience. Dr. Graves is a wonderful PI (Principal Investigator). I have learned so much from him. I am very grateful to him for having me in his lab and giving me such an amazing project to work on.”

Kedia is one of three graduate students who study preeclampsia with Dr. Graves. Much of Dr. Graves’ research involves pregnancy. Watch a video on his research predicting preterm delivery here

Article by Jordan Wright

Photo courtesy of Komal Kedia