About Me


Hello internet, I’m Rishi!

rishi_masaliaOne of the first things people learn about me is that I’m extremely passionate about water, particularly water conservation and global water scarcity. I grew up in the desert southwest United States where water is not only physically scarce, but water use is flaunted in the form of large fountains, private swimming pools, and pristine golf courses.

Unfortunately water scarcity is a very real problem, for many in the world, and it’s one that will continue to worsen as time progresses. With an increasing human population placing an increased demand on our water resources and climate change and pollution shifting and contaminating our supply, we need solutions to water scarcity now.

Many of these solutions lie in the realm of agriculture, which accounts for 70% of global water use, which makes sense – water is necessary for plants to grow. It’s for this reason I have chosen to pursue a PhD in the Department of Plant Biology at the University of Georgia with Dr. John Burke, specifically looking at the genetic mechanisms that underlie a plant’s response to resist water limitation.


Beyond my time in the lab, I really enjoy engaging in science communication and science policy. To that end I have helped cofound 2 organizations: The Athens Science Café and the Athens Science Observer. The first is a local science café to bring the science of UGA to the people of Athens, and the second is UGA student organization to train students the tenants of science communication. Beyond these organizations, I currently serve on the executive board of the Athens United for Science, a science policy organization, and have served on the executive boards of the UGA Science, Policy, Education, Advocacy and Research (SPEAR) organization, the inaugural UGA Integrative Research and Ideas Symposium, and have been a three time elected member of the Plant Biology Graduate Student Association.

I also am a graduate student ambassador with the American Society for Plant Biologists, and have served as a science communicator with them for the Plant Biology 2017 conference.

In addition to helping manage and run science organizations I am also an avid fan and creator of science based artwork, or SciArt. I have served as a graphic designer for the Athens March for Science, and was the lead animator for the NSF funded BioTAP 2.0 program. I have also made numerous animations and illustrations for the Athens Science Observer, and the University of Georgia.

In addition to research, water, and all things science communication. I also enjoy sour beers, Netflix, and copious amounts of sarcasm.




Rishi’s CV can be downloaded here.


For more information:

Notable Awards

Research information

Science communication and professional development work

Teaching positions and curriculum development

Rishi’s science blog

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