Esa Seegulam ’06

Esa was an international student at Williams and majored in Biology. He is working on his PhD in Molecular Cell Biology at Washington University.

I am currently working on my PhD in Molecular Cell Biology at Washington University in St. Louis under the mentorship of Dr. Lee Ratner. My project deals with elucidating the molecular mechanisms by which the retrovirus Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type I (HTLV-I) functions. Specifically, we would like to determine how the virus is able to evade the host immune response and remain dormant for several decades after infection only to begin an aggressive replication cycle in some patients resulting in the malignancy Adult T-Cell Leukemia/Lymphoma (ATLL). We hope that by further characterizing the means by which this occurs, we will be able to provide better, more reliable treatment options for ATLL patients.

At Williams I was a Biology major and completed my thesis in the laboratory of Professor Lois Banta. I was a Junior Advisor to the class of 2008 and a co-president of the Muslim Students Union. I was also a member of the Committee on Diversity and Community, the Honor and Discipline Committee, the Honorary Degrees Committee, the ‘Where am I?!’ Planning Committee, and the Olmstead Prize Committee and was elected as a Minority Coalition Representative to College Council. I was a recipient of the Williams College Undergraduate Research Fellowship and the Herbert H. Lehman Scholarship for service.

I currently live in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis with my feisty cat Schnookums. When I am not in the lab, I tend to be either in the gym, or in the kitchen undoing what I did in the gym. I enjoy cooking and writing and recently decided to join the board of a start-up magazine focused on healthy lifestyles.