I got my undergraduate degree in Botany from Presidency University, Kolkata (India) in 2006. I then traveled southwards and received my Masters in Plant Sciences from University of Hyderabad, (India) in 2008. After a one-year stint in a research lab at the University of Calcutta studying sheath blight of rice, I decided to broaden my horizons and came to Iowa State University for a Ph.D. in Genetics in 2009. I was in Dr. Diane Bassham's lab and researched the role of post-Golgi trafficking in plant phenomena such as gravitropism, lateral root emergence and root movement.
I joined Dr. Clay Carter's research group here at the University of Minnesota and am researching various molecular aspects of how flowers produce nectar. We take a genetic, biochemical and cell biological approach to dissect out the dynamic nature of the nectary and how it produces nectar. Our work involves multiple plant models such as summer squash, lima beans and the classic model plant — Arabdidopis thaliana. I am a diehard cell biologist and love spending time in front of microscopes, especially the confocal microscope, trying to capture the dynamic nature of cellular compartments and protein localization in plant cells.
U of M is a world-renowned institution with a very strong investment in plant science research. Hence, it was natural to want to get my postdoctoral research experience in such a thriving plant research community. Dr. Carter's research interests, melding botany and molecular biology, also fascinated me, so that was definitely a big draw. This coupled with a very strong community of pollinator researchers here at the university and agrobiotech industry ties acted as a great incentive. It also happens that my wife is from Minnesota, so it was kind of a homecoming for us, with our daughter now being able to spend more time with family while growing up.
I love plant science and want to keep on learning the intricacies of plant biology while solving pressing issues of ensuring food security and sustainability. My future scientific goals are three pronged: 1) Conduct quality research and answer fundamental questions in plant biology that can be applied for betterment of crops and native/wild species. 2) Mentor young minds and build interest in the plant sciences. 3) I want to be able to write and communicate with the non-scientific community on a regular basis, conduct workshops, answer questions and dispel misconceptions. With changing paradigms of what a postdoc can pursue, I am still exploring my options in the academic and industry setup, though I would love to keep interacting with the other realm even if I choose one over the other.
I miss my family a lot even though my parents visit often. My wife's family in Minnesota has made me feel very loved and at home, and my friends in the United States have become like family, but I do miss my cousins and aunts who I don't get to see as often. Oh, and I miss the street food and train rides, a lot!
I like listening to a lot of music. I used to be a DJ and still enjoy discovering new music and old music. I also love cooking and trying to meld different kinds of cuisine and testing it on my family who seem to really like it, or maybe they are just too nice to tell me the truth, haha ....