Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India
Biological Research Centre, Szeged, Hungary
National Centre for Cell Science, Pune
“One will be happy and successful if he does what he loves”…the old proverb. Everybody knows, few really understand and even fewer have the courage to follow. Unfortunately, I was not amongst the courageous ones. Despite being good in mathematics and physical sciences, I chose biology as the major at +2 level. I followed the nation-wide herd mentality of becoming a practicing doctor. Big mistake and I paid the price with big failure. Lesson learnt; hence the next time while pursuing my final year of B.Sc., I faced the similar situation whether I should go for a job, job-oriented courses such as MBA or embrace the years long calling for scientific research. I chose research with complete conviction. This decision marked the start of my research career.
I opted to do M.Sc in Biotechnology as it had among other courses the most updated syllabus; a combination of modern biology subjects, an appreciation for science at the interface of biological and physical sciences and special emphasis on modern biological techniques and utilization of biological phenomenon for industrial application. In a nutshell, M.Sc in Biotechnology served as a very fertile ground to sow plantation for diverse research interests.
I joined the laboratories of Dr. N. Madhusudhana Rao and Dr. Rajan Sankaranarayanan at Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India for Ph.D. I chose to work in the area of biophysics and structural biology of proteins. My decision to explore this area was perhaps subconsciously guided by my ambition to understand how physics and chemistry play in biological contexts. I could unravel the physical basis of multiple properties of proteins (and their interrelation) such as function, stability, structural dynamics and evolution. Most importantly, I learned something very interesting; although biology is the science of exceptions, the exceptions, I found, were mere counterintuitive manifestations of same rules of physics and chemistry, which give rise to generic trends of biology. This finding gave me a newer and very interesting perspective of biology. My faith in “biology is the science whose universal laws are still on the verge of discovery” firmed up.
My scientific ambition grew bigger and I wanted to understand laws of biology and organizational principles of life. I figured that I need to approach biology from atleast three directions. I have to understand biological entities in terms of systems biology, evolutionary biology and also understand their functioning in terms of physico-chemical principles. The big obstacle in my scientific pursuit was extreme rarity of labs having the facilities and expertise to explore all the directions and inability of a lot of labs to appreciate my passion. This obstacle costed me time, mental peace and at times caused frustration and anger. Fortunately, my stubbornness to stick to my research interest persisted and finally paid off. Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance’s Early Career Fellowship programme provided the best way out. Using this fellowship I can collaborate and work with multiple labs (national and international) having expertise in different areas; a golden opportunity indeed.
I have started my scientific pursuit (a pursuit of happiness) using this fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Shekhar Mande at National Centre for Cell Science, Pune, India.