Bala Selvakumar / Biology Teacher
Balakrishnan Selvakumar (Bala), grew up in Chennai (formerly Madras), a coastal city in southeastern India, before coming to the US to pursue doctoral studies. He received his PhD in Cell Biology from Duke University and then completed a research fellowship in Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University where he worked as a Research Associate until his decision to teach Biology at Middleburg Academy.
Bala chose biology as his profession because he is fascinated by how living things function. Much of his research work has focused on the cell-signaling role of the reactive molecule nitric oxide. Specifically, he identified mechanisms by which this molecule influences the physiological function of the vascular system and the brain. His research has been published in journals such as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; it has been selected as Editors Choice by the journal Science Signaling; and, it has been cited as being "of special significance in its field" by an academic for the directory, Faculty of 1000 prime.
Bala enjoys being a home cook as much as being intrigued by the relationship between food and people. With the help of a scholarship from the Culinary Trust USA, he graduated from a gastronomy program in France organized by Le Cordon Bleu, Paris and the University of Reims, Champagne-Ardenne, writing a thesis on food and human interaction. He explores this relationship drawing from primary literature in biology and the humanities through a two-semester course he teaches at Middleburg Academy while blogging more informally at www.madrasbala.com.
Bala lives with his wife and daughter in Fairfax, Virginia.