Menuka Bhandari

Menuka Bhandari
(304) 550-6106
Degree Information: 
BS - Agriculture, Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science (IAAS) - Nepal (2016)
MS - Biotechnology, West Virginia State University (2020)
Use of antimicrobial peptides to prevent/treat food animal diseases

Menuka's research interests include the use of antibiotics to prevent/treat food animal diseases - with the increasing selection pressure of antibiotic resistant bacteria causing antimicrobial resistance problems, limits their use to treat the human infection. One of the possibilities to mitigate this problem is to use alternatives of antibiotics, such as peptides isolated from probiotics, to reduce the pathogen load in food animals. Her research interest lies in identifying the peptides with the therapeutic potential to treat the gastrointestinal bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli infection in chickens. In addition to it, she would like to understand the mechanisms of action of the peptides to increase its bioavailability.

Lab PI/advisor:

Dr. Gireesh Rajashekara


  • CAST Science Communication Scholarship to attend the 2021 CAST conference

  • Second position in graduate poster competition organized by ARD research symposium March 29th -April 3rd, 2019, Jacksonville, Florida.


  • Lopez-Ortiz, C., Peña-Garcia, Y., Natarajan, P., Bhandari, M., Abburi, V., Dutta, S. K., & Reddy, U. K. (2020). The ankyrin repeat gene family in Capsicum spp: Genome-wide survey, characterization, and gene expression profile. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 1-16

  • Lopez-Ortiz, C., Peña-Garcia, Y., Bhandari, M., Abburi, V. L., Natarajan, P., Stommel, J., ... & Reddy, U. K. (2021). Identification of miRNAs and their targets involved in flower and fruit development across domesticated and wild capsicum species. International journal of molecular sciences, 22(9), 4866.

Education extension:

  • Instructor of high school student in carrying out research to check the efficacy of curcumin in killing different microbes Jan 1st-10th, 2019.

  • Organizer and tutor of high school students about PCR set up and gel electrophoresis, July 15th-16th, 2017

  • Organizing committee member of plant clinic in rural area of Nepal Bio pesticide preparation at ground level, 2015

Teaching Experience:

  • Teaching Assistant for the Principles of Biology (Bio-101), Basic Anatomy and Physiology (Bio-321), Biological Diversity (Bio-121)