“Eventually, everything will fall into its place.” This is exactly what happened with me. Being a biomedical science student, I always wanted to work on something that would ultimately improve public health, but I didn’t know whether research is what I want to pursue or not. Khorana program gave me this opportunity to find more about myself and my interests in biological research. Getting selected for this fellowship program was itself a big win for me, but there were still a lot of hurdles to cross. To start with, finding a good lab that matches your interests and getting acceptance from host mentor was stressful initially, but all this was worth it in the end. I find myself lucky enough to be given a chance to work in Prof Daniel Klionsky’s lab (University of Michigan). Next in line was getting your visa done, seeing my fellow scholars having their visa on hold for weeks made me a bit scared and nervous. Fortunately, it went smoothly, and I landed in U.S with a lot excitement and nervousness too. Coming with another scholar (Chesta Jain) didn’t make me feel that I am in a strange place, which was like a cherry on the cake. Otherwise it would have become difficult to get comfortable so easily for an introvert like me.
“You never get to know the real thing until you are into it.” This sums up my whole research experience in the lab. Finding unfamiliar faces everywhere, 2015 Khorana Scholar, Vikramjit Lahiri, came to my rescue, who was supervising me with my project. He is more of a friend than a teacher and treated me like a family member. I adjusted very well in the lab but what was tougher was making your strains to work on and I couldn’t start my work until I have my strains happy and healthy. It took me almost a month to prepare my yeast strains. I remember what a relief it was, to finally start with my ride. However, when you plan to go right, life (in my case, my yeast cells) takes you left. But this is what the research is all about, a negative result or something different from what you expect is itself a positive result. Though, this was stressful, but it got me engrossed so much into my project that I loved every bit of it, be it a negative result or no results at all. Because of Vik (my supervisor) and all the lab members, I realized that science and research is so much fun. I am grateful to them for being so helpful and amazing. And I can’t thank Dan (my mentor) enough for having me there and giving me a chance to learn and gain some experience in his lab.
In my remaining time, I sneaked out to explore few beautiful places around – Riverwalk (Detroit), skyline of Chicago and Ann Arbor, where I spent my summer is prettiest of all with so many events happening all around the campus. The best part was to get to interact with completely different people from all over the world and knowing about their culture. These ten weeks went by so fast that I didn’t realize that its time go back with so many memories to take along with me. I learned so much on a professional as well as personal level. Overall, it was a roller coaster ride with experience of a lifetime.