Mandira is an entomologist and geneticist with a master’s degree in Agricultural Entomology from Tribhuvan University, Nepal, and a Ph.D. from Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, China.
Her Ph.D. research focused on evaluating the pathogenicity and virulence of entomopathogenic fungi (Beauveria spp., Isaria spp., and Metarhizium spp.) against multiple insect models for their use as biological control agents.
In her second Ph.D. at the University of Otago, New Zealand, she worked on genomics and microbiomics of three invasive forage weevil pests of New Zealand. She assembled, profiled, and compared their whole genomes and microbiomes to dissect the genetic underpinnings of their variable resistance against their biological control agents. Her research interest includes genomics, genetic studies in non-model insect species, pest management, and host-parasite interactions.
In the Extavour lab, she is working on the cricket, Gryllus bimaculatus, an emerging insect model for neuroscience research, to understand the role of adult neural stem cells in long-term memory formation. She hopes to unveil the molecular mechanism behind mammal-like memory in this basally branching insect which could inform therapeutic strategies for neurodegenerative diseases.