From a naive researcher to a research trainee at Harvard-MIT Division of Health Science and Technology and now accepted as a Graduate Student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology starting in Fall 2018, my journey has traversed multiple disciplines, countries and encompassed the diversity from Business to Biomaterials, with a mix of oriental and occidental flavors.
In the Winter 2014, I began my work in Materials Science, starting with experimental studies on multiferroic composites at Smart Materials Research Laboratory, IIT Roorkee. I realized that the decision on individual fractions for a composite was based on combinatorics, consuming too much time and resources. Using Materials Informatics and Machine Learning to predict properties of novel composites, I optimized the fabrication process.
Taking a cue from ferromagnetism in multiferroics, I worked on developing hyperthermia based therapy for biological systems over the Summer 2015 as a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow at IIT Roorkee. During this time, I developed skills in molecular biology – cell culture, staining assays and microscopy imaging of biological samples, along with learning Finite Element Method simulations to study hyperthermia in silico.
The use of graphene for drug delivery fascinated me and I worked on this in Fall 2015 at the Laboratory for Integrated Nanophotonics and Biomaterials, IIT Roorkee. Continuing on it, I worked at Harvard-MIT Division of Health Science and Technology in Summer 2016 as SN Bose Scholar. As a Research Intern, I gained deeper insights and appreciated the interplay of so many research areas, ranging from Biochemistry to Human Physiology, involved in drug delivery.
While working on my Bachelor’s Thesis in 2016-17, I worked closely with orthopedic surgeons, basing the material development on combinatorial therapy using cell signaling, hyperthermia, inherent magnetism and static magnetic field for accelerated chondrogenic differentiation. In December 2016, I started working in the Department of Biotechnology on computational biology. This work led to my internship on bioinformatics at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Japan as OIST Research Fellow from May to September 2017.
I have been recommended, in the first of its kind at IIT Roorkee, for an accelerated program to complete my Bachelor’s degree of 4 years in 3.5 years, to let me take an early dive into research.
I developed a pipeline for quantification of optical imaging of Glycosaminoglycan staining. I am looking forward to develop a generalized image processing platform based on the quantification project. We are in the process of submitting our work in a high impact journal for publication. I am currently working on a project that involves identification of unique biomarkers in the PE/PPE gene of MTB H37Rv genome for development of Tuberculosis microfluidic diagnostic kits.
With academic background in Materials Engineering, I have been trained in different aspects of the subject. My research has been based on Biomaterials, Molecular Biology and Computational Biology – Bioinformatics. As a student, I bring in an amalgam of different skills and perspectives. I am comfortable in handling both Wet (Materials Synthesis, Characterization and Biological Assays) and Dry (both Materials and Bioinformatics) laboratories with equal dexterity. As evident from my projects, I can learn novel areas fast as well as function as the bridge in the lab connecting dots in the ongoing projects, while developing my own project.
I see my future career in research, where I plan to work closely with industry, hospitals, and academicians to have a comprehensive idea of the challenges, requirements and developments respectively. On an optimistic time-scale, I aim to be the Principal Investigator of my lab by 28, and have my own company by 35.
At present, I have been working on several independent projects, some of them being –
- Algorithmic Trading and Machine Learning with EIS Global Pte Ltd, Singapore
- FEM Simulation of parameters involved in Rose Window Instability
- Development of Image Processing pipeline for quantification of Glycosaminoglycan staining
As evident, they are slightly off from my core interests in Biomaterials, but I have been inquisitive about these problems recently and would like to explore them before starting on my journey as as PhD student sometime soon.