Ahanjit Bhattacharya is currently a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Chemistry at Stanford University where he is studying interaction of pathogenic viruses with biological membranes. He carried out his doctoral research on Artificial Life at the University of California, San Diego. He was one of the 45 global finalists of the Reaxys PhD Prize 2020. Prior to moving to the US, Ahanjit completed Integrated Masters in Chemistry (summa cum laude) from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. His primary area of interest is the emerging discipline of synthetic biology which ultimately aims to build artificial living cells for betterment of humankind. Ahanjit is passionate about teaching and communicating science to both young students and general public.
“What path we chose to follow is largely decided by events in our childhood or early youth. However, in a developing country like India, we often find ourselves caught between passion and practicality. Since my school days, I knew I wanted to become a scientist, but finding an optimal path was not straightforward. I will describe why I chose to pursue a career in fundamental scientific research, what challenges and dilemmas I faced, and finally what helped me to stay true to my choice. Next, I will touch upon how living and working in the US made me realize that staying abroad can be enlightening in many ways. Finally, I will discuss the opportunities and challenges faced by India in a post-pandemic world and how young students can prepare themselves for those.” – Ahanjit