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Preethy G

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at University of Birmingham


Biology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Educational Equity, Social Justice, Organizational Leadership, Public Speaking, Gender Equality, Race Equality


Hello! My name is Preethy Gowrinathan - affectionately nicknamed 'Dr.G' by my students. I have been a high school Principal and a founding teacher in Biology teaching PreAP and AP Biology at the high school level. My foundational background is in science research - I have a PhD in Molecular Biology and I have experience in mentoring undergraduate students in their research projects. Having taken quite the interesting path from bench research, through undergraduate mentoring, leading up to high school teaching, I can confidently say that I enjoy working with high school students the most! I am driven by the immense potential that lies ahead of high schoolers and want to support students in achieving personal success through college and beyond. Although a public-speaker all my life, I am an introvert and would love to curl-up with a book and some music anytime I can. Being a mom to a middle-schooler, with a new puppy at home (ask me about Yuki - our labrador), I can only fleetingly grab this solitude I dream of. I am known to be a great cook and when not napping, you will find me cooking a thoughtful meal for my family. Cool fact about me: I won a 'Talk Your Way to Japan' contest during my undergrad days and went on a 2-week, all-expenses paid trip to Japan. I also am a huge fan of nerdy memes and will often regale my students with some corny biology memes just to elicit their eye-rolls. I look forward to meeting you and helping you discover your passion for research!

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Predicting the course of human evolution in the future

One of the cornerstones of the theory of natural selection is how variation in a population allows for individuals with selective advantages to survive and reproduce over time, in response to specific selective pressures. Given that humans have quickly monopolized the resources on earth and pretty much nulled most selective pressures, would speciation slow down? While humans have individual variation like all other populations, what selective advantages is natural selection currently operating on for us? In this project - with the end outcome as a scientific paper or a podcast, students will bring a working knowledge of natural selection/ evolution, along with the ability to interpret quantitative/ qualitative data to first generate a list of potential selective pressures and predict selective advantages that can help survive these pressures. We will then make an informed, evidence-based prediction of how the human species is expected to evolve in the next 1000 years.

How can second/third-generation immigrants further social justice in their communities?

Intended to be an interactive, research-based podcast, the goal of this study is to explore first-hand accounts and literature on immigration in the US, defining the differences between the success of different communities of color, identifying the 'head winds' that enable this success for some communities (like the Asian American community) and the 'tail winds' that act as barriers for other communities (like the Black, Native American and Latinx communities), and proposing solutions to raise awareness and active allyship among these communities to support equitable outcomes for all. In this project, we will dive deeper into understanding the role of race, class, privilege and gender - in order to tap into our personal cultural frame of reference - to generate solutions that will amplify our strength as community in helping those that are traditionally under-served.

Languages I know

Hindi - Proficient, Tamil - Fluent

Teaching experience

I have taught PreAP and AP Biology to high school students for five years. As Principal of a high school, I also had the opportunity to monitor whole-school learning and offer instructional coaching to teachers. In previous experience, I have set-up a fully-functioning research laboratory at an undergraduate educational institution in India and mentored students in conducting research projects.


Work experience

Uncommon Schools (2021 - 2022)
High School Principal
Uncommon Schools (2020 - 2021)
Principal Fellow
Uncommon Schools (2018 - 2020)
Instructional Leader
Uncommon Schools (2017 - 2022)
Founding Teacher


University of Madras
BS Bachelor of Science (2002)
University of Madras
MS Master of Science (2004)
Biomedical Genetics
University of Birmingham
PhD Doctor of Philosophy (2007)
Molecular Microbiology

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