What is your current position?
I am currently pursuing my Masters in Chemical Biology from the University of Alberta, Canada
How long have you been a part of the iGEM community?
My very first time in iGEM was in 2017 where I was a student member of the ICT Mumbai team. I then moved to Canada to pursue my Masters where I took the role of a student mentor of the UAlberta 2019 team. I am also a part of the AfteriGEM communications committee since 2019 where I work with the newsletter team.
Briefly describe your iGEM project that you first worked on. What inspired you to work on that particular project?
The first project that I worked on was called “DyeOdorant - giving ammonia the blues” that aimed at tackling the stench emanating from public urinals in the city of Mumbai. We tweaked a pathway in E.coli that was able to convert ammonia to a dye molecule. What inspired us to pursue this project was even though urinals exist in India, the nauseous malodor coming out of them discourages people from using them and that leads to other hygiene issues. We took this problem as a challenge and tried to address it using synthetic biology.
What is your favourite aspect of iGEM and why?
One aspect of iGEM that is close to my heart is science communication. The way in which this entire competition is set, inspires people to communicate their science to society and get them on board.
Would you say that iGEM played an important role in choosing your current position?
Oh definitely. I am a trained pharmacist but iGEM inspired me to switch gears and pursue my masters in the field of chemical biology. I now I work towards developing new tools for serological diagnosis of infectious diseases
Touugh question! I love both research and science communication, so I would love to do something at the intersection of the two fields.
3 words. 3 key take-aways from your iGEM experience?
Team-work. Community engagement. Science communication
What message would you give to aspiring iGEMers?
I thhink iGEM is a great opportunity to not just do research but also develop your leadership, management and communication skills. It’s a great platform to interact with like-minded international people. And remember -- iGEM does not end after the Jamboree. Be a part of a vibrant AfteriGEM community where you can continue doing all the awesome work that you did during your iGEM season!