SZPZ2605 (2)
Nishanth E. Sunny, PhD Principal Investigator

With a degree in Veterinary Medicine from Kerala, India, Dr. Sunny came to University of Maryland, College Park in 2002 where he earned his M.S. (2005) and Ph.D. (2008) in Animal Nutrition, under the mentorship of Dr. Brian J. Bequette. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas  (2008-2010) under Dr. Shawn C. Burgess, Dr. Sunny continued as a Research Assistant Professor (2012-2016) at the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism at University of Florida, Gainesville. Dr. Sunny is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park since Jan 2017. Dr. Sunny is interested in understanding the metabolic mechanisms modulating growth and development in various species, and also contributing to the etiology of obesity, insulin resistance, and fatty liver disease.


Meghan L. Maguire, PhD Postdoctoral Associate

Dr. Maguire earned a Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences in 2008 from Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland under Dr. Mick Rae, focusing on fetal development of the pancreas and the effect of excess maternal testosterone on insulin production. She then earned her Ph.D. in Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2017, under Dr. Colin Jefcoate, examining the overlapping effects of maternal vitamin A deficiency and deletion of cytochrome P450 1B1 on liver development and its modulation of obesity.  Dr. Maguire began as a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Sunny Lab in April 2017, where her focus is to interrogate mitochondrial mechanisms in the liver, contributing to obesity and fatty liver disease.


Muhammed Shafeekh Muyyarikkandy, PhD Postdoctoral Associate

Dr. Muyyarikkandy graduated with a degree in Veterinary Medicine from Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, India in 2013. He then joined the University of Connecticut in 2014 and earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in 2018 under the mentorship of Dr. Amalaradjou. His research was focused on studying the effect of probiotics in modulating in Salmonella pathogenesis. In addition, he received Northeast SARE graduate student research grant and investigated the impact of early in ovo probiotics administration to promote embryonic development and post-hatch growth of chickens. Dr. Muyyarikkandy started as a postdoctoral associate in Dr. Sunny lab in September 2018, where his research is aimed at understanding the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in the pathophysiology of liver diseases.


Chaitra Surugihalli, MS Doctoral Student

Following her Bachelors degree in Biotechnology from Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belgaum, India, Chaitra came to United States and completed her M.S. in Molecular Cell biology from University of Connecticut, Storrs. Chaitra’s research goal in the Sunny lab is to profile the metabolic adaptation of developing chicken embryos to neonatal chicks, with the objective of understands the regulatory aspects of mitochondrial metabolism and lipogenesis.



Christine Zhang
Christine Zhang Undergraduate Student

Christine is a sophomore pre-med undergraduate student pursuing a double major in Biochemistry and Neurobiology & Physiology.  As part of the Sunny Lab, she is gaining meaningful and interesting hands-on experience in the scientific research process. She hopes that her research experience will contribute to a more holistic view of scientific advancements in medicine. She enjoys learning new techniques and data analysis methods while working with other motivated lab members. She is currently working on analyzing mitochondria in mice models in order to better understand the onset and development of fatty liver disease. In her free time, Christine enjoys hiking with friends, running, and shadowing in the Emergency department at Prince George’s Hospital Center.


Vaishna Muralidaran
Vaishna Muralidaran Undergraduate Student

Vaishna is a junior undergraduate student earning her B.S in Neurobiology & Physiology with a minor in History. She just recently began working in the Sunny Lab and hopes that her time here will help her gain research skills that she can put towards her future endeavors outside of the University of Maryland. Vaishna is currently on the pre-med track and hopes to one day become an endocrinologist. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, baking for her friends and family, and playing badminton.




Nathan Kattapuram Undergraduate Student

Nathan is a sophomore Neurobiology and Physiology major who joined the lab in November of 2018. He is interested in learning various techniques to investigate metabolic regulation in the body of an animal, and hopes to apply those principles to a career in medicine. In his free time, he enjoys playing the squash, learning new songs on the piano, and reading.