Where are you from?
I was born in India in a very small village in the province of Gujarat. My education had some challenges typically encountered in any small community. Growing up, I recall that my village did not have a school beyond Grade 7. My dad pushed for years for more educational resources and managed to extend the school education to Grade 8, 9 and 10, just when I was in Grade 6. Thanks to his efforts, our village has had science school to Grade 12 for over 10 years now. After Grade 10, I went to a boarding school for Grades 11 and 12. Once graduated, I moved to a town called Vidhyanagar (Vidhya-knowledge, nagar-town) where I completed a Bachelor of Science in biotechnology from the Sardar Patel University. At that point, I didn’t want to do any more studies but my dad convinced me to continue, so I completed my MSc degree in biotechnology. At this point, I realized that I had started liking science and wanted to pursue further education. I chose the University of Nottingham to do a PhD in biophysics.
How did you come to be at the U of L and what do you do here?
When I graduated with a PhD, I moved to Winnipeg and was fortunate to find a job at the University of Manitoba, where my fiancée and her family lived. I received two postdoctoral fellowships there (Manitoba Health Research Council and Canadian Institutes of Health Research). Subsequently, I was awarded the prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship by the European Union to work at the University of Birmingham in England. From there, I applied for a job at the U of L. In 2016, I joined the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry as an assistant professor. I also received a Canada Research Chair award in RNA & Protein Biophysics in November, 2017.
What’s the best part of your job?
I have new challenges almost every day. Research is fun because as soon as you overcome one challenge, a new one appears. Research keeps me excited, stimulated and keeps my brain thinking hard all the time. I get a lot of fun out of my teaching, too. The students are smart and my lab team is great. I am also affiliated with the Alberta RNA Research and Training Institute, which has great colleagues and friends! I also enjoy working with people in my department. We have a very productive and enthusiastic department! I have been very fortunate to receive any support I needed from Research Services and the dean’s office. Basically, I look forward each day to come to the U of L.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
My dream is to own a restaurant. I missed twice the chance of owning a restaurant due to various reasons and the third time, I’m not going to let it go.