Khem received both Bachelors and Masters degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. He earned his PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Delaware. In his graduate research, Khem integrated mathematical models with experimental data to elucidate regulation of gene expression in order to achieve precision in timing of cellular events such as cell division and lysis of a host bacterium by the virus bacteriophage lambda. He also developed methods to accurately estimate moments (means, variances, etc.) of stochastic dynamical systems without running a large number of simulations. He then did his postdoctoral work at UNC Chapel Hill, where he developed mathematical models of G-protein signaling and immune signaling in the model plant Arabidopsis. Khem also dabbled in bench work, resulting in some useful data and immense respect for experimental scientists.
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