“I do science because it gives me happiness, excitement and inspiration”
The fame of Lindau Meetings is perhaps because it is the only event that brings a large number of Nobel laureates together in one place to interact, debate and discuss scientific issues over six days. But at the core of the Meetings are the young scientists drawn from all over the world. For them, it’s a rare chance to not only attend lectures or master classes of the Nobel laureates, but also mingle with them and interact informally.
Dhiraj Bhatia from Nashik in Maharashtra is a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute Curie in Paris, France. He holds a PhD degree in Chemical Biology (Life Sciences) from National Centre for Biological Sciences. He was one of the young scientists to participate at the 65th Nobel Laureate Meetings. He shares his experience at the conference, his love for science and his academic journey in this interview:
What did you gain from Lindau conference?
The biggest thing that I got from Lindau meeting was Inspiration. To do science regardless of the criticisms and external influences. Of course, the Art of doing Interdisciplinary science was the great lesson as well as exercise, since I am working exactly at the interface of interdisciplinary science.
Who sponsored you to the Lindau Meetings?
I was nominated and sponsored by Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP)
Where are you currently based? Can you share what kind of scholarship/fellowship programme/s you have gained from in furthering your research interests? How can one apply?
I am based in Institute Curie in Paris, France. During the final year of PhD, I got the Curie fellowship through which I came to France and in 2014, I got the prestigious fellowship from Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP). This is awarded to very few students and is highly competitive. Both the applications are based on the high end research proposals that the PhD students need to develop in collaboration with their postdoctoral supervisors, and then the selection is made based on the proposals and the performance of the candidates.
What is the nature of your research?
My work is an exact example of interdisciplinary research. I am a chemist by education and during PhD I worked on Nanotechnology, Biophysics and chemical Biology of nucleic acids in NCBS and IISc. Now I use the tools that I developed in my PhD to address some challenging problems in cell biology using advanced microscopy techniques like single particle tracking and live cell imaging.
What are your future plans as far as your career in science is concerned?
Right now I am in the middle of my post-doctoral, so my first aim is to get this work out in coming couple of years. My excitement in science and now with the cream of Lindau inspiration – this has actually boosted my interest in science – I would like to continue in Science, especially in India, where I can bring my high end microscopy and nanotechnology expertise not only for the advancement of science, but also for the nation.
My research has also been on the boundary of pure academic research and applied biomedical applications as well as enterpreneurship. I guess, given a good chance, I would also like to explore this avenue for the delivery of better healthcare for the nation.
Why did you choose to study science?
Right from the childhood, I was fascinated by nature. My entire childhood has been spend with astronomers like Sudhakar Bhalerao and Jayant Narliker. I have spent sleepless nights watching stars and planets from telescopes and that fascination always attracted me. As I grew up, the telescope was replaced with microscope and that actually added another layer of excitement to explore more and more at the nano scale.
I do science because it gives me happiness, excitement, inspiration and the energy to keep going.