“I wasn’t inclined to research as such right from my childhood, nevertheless I was interested in Science.
My interest in research developed during my Bachelors (Biotechnology) at GRIET,Hyderabad. Then I did my Masters in Industrial Biotechnology at Shaastra, Tanjavur. While I was in Shaastra, I interacted with few scientists who triggered my curiosity and inspired me to consider taking the path of PhD. I completed my PhD from CCMB (Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology).
Coming to how the pandemic influenced my life? I lost my father during the second wave. This was a huge loss. I lost my pillar of support. He was the one who always encouraged and believed in me. He always wanted me to push my limits and pursue my dreams. He had a unique way of pushing me towards excellence. He challenged me to complete my work in time and advised me never to take shortcuts. He was a very down to earth man. A committed government employee who served his tenure with almost diligence and honesty.
During Covid, CCMB was one the first organizations to conduct tests. I volunteered to support the testing initiate. Later on, I joined the vaccine development project. mRNA technology was new to me but I was familiar with the underlying concepts right from the days of my PhD. We worked for almost a year facing many challenges. Our biggest challenge was meeting the ambitious deadlines. I was ecstatic when the mRNA vaccine platform was finally launched in the month of May.
Now I am planning to go abroad to pursue a post-doctoral fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Institute. I am hopeful that my experience of working on this technology will aid me in addressing few challenges of cancer research. The journey so far has not been very easy, but I believe in making the best out of what I get. Perhaps, that’s what my father would have expected of me.
To respond on How does it feel to be a woman in STEM? Being a woman in STEM definitely feels good but, I would enjoy more if we get to a point where we need not make such a differentiation. I believe every field offers opportunities’, some are easy to get hold of and some are not. As a woman, it’s up to us to choose wisely and face the challenges that come with the choice. It would be great to have many women taking up STEM related activities.”
Humans of Hyderabad in Collaboration with Atal Incubation Centre – CCMB
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