We’re bringing you the best stories in lab mobility from Nature India
Every Tuesday, our ‘Away from home’ blog series features one Indian postdoc working in a foreign lab recounting his/her experience of working there, the triumphs and challenges, the culture factor, tips for Indian postdocs headed abroad and what he/she misses most about India.
This week we feature synthetic and systems biologist Kayzad Nilgiriwala working as a postdoc at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, USA. Kayzad completed his Ph.D. (Microbiology) at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai, India and wants to import some strong points from the US research scene when he comes back home.
As a postdoctoral associate at MIT, I study the retroactive behaviour in transcriptional modules in a bacterial cell.
Science excites me
The inquisitiveness for science was there in me since school days. The basic structural and functional behaviour of things in nature (from atoms to cells to universe) gets me excited and this makes me want to explore them more by doing science.
Life at MIT
I am working in the field of synthetic and systems biology and I chose to work in the MIT lab to get more exposure and knowledge in these emerging fields. I have been learning how to make mathematical models and how the simulations from these models help our intuitions get a better picture towards predicting the structure and behaviour of a biological circuit system.
I really appreciate the pace of work and the availability of resources in the lab. Also, I like the general discipline that the people follow here.
Easy to fit in?
It was a bit difficult for me initially to acclimatize, but the transition was smooth. Some things, however, took time to get used to. For example, people in USA do not usually call their seniors sir/madam and I was not used to call my seniors by name .
And I have encountered another bitter truth: everyone here is highly professional and so no one is a ‘true’ good friend.
USA opens your mind
I would suggest students to experience a part of their lives in USA since it makes them think in a different way and it opens the mind to a new world. But, I would also strongly suggest them to return to India and imbibe the discipline and pace that they obtain in USA.
My main aim of doing a postdoc here in USA is to get more expertise and to know the reasons for success of research in this country. I would like to implement some of the positive aspects of research that I have observed here in India too. Hope for the best.
Miss my notebooks!
Needless to say I miss my family. Besides them, I miss my desk at my home and my school/college notebooks. It is certain that I will return to India to work in future.