Story about Prateek Sharma- a past B.Tech Genetic Engineering student is now one among the four Darwin Research Fellows selected from worldwide competition to pursue PhD at UK

Throughout my life, I have been driven by the desire to create and innovate, a capability that is always known to transcend the active acquisition of knowledge. In this era of technology, I decided not to just get enthralled by the technological marvels, but to play my part in it. In view of the global scenario, my decision to pursue a PhD would open the gateway of enhanced career options in the scientific world that would benefit me and Human Society. Development of any country is characterized by its individuals with superior ideas, which indeed is characterized by science.

I am Prateek Sharma, a PhD student at University of Birmingham, UK was a student of B.Tech Genetic Engineering from SRM University from 2008-2012. Life is a journey and because of my 4 year long journey and also due to the support of the faculty members of the department of Genetic Engineering I am able to achieve my correct career destination. And that’s why I am able to achieve the biggest honor of receiving the prestigious Darwin Research Fellowship for my PhD.

Basically the concepts given at the department of Genetic Engineering helped me a lot, but really the experimental knowledge experienced through a thesis work and the practical knowledge given from time to time at the department helps students to realize the real world of research and can think of leading his/her career in research. But I will thank our HOD for providing me the write guidance of being in research and developing an interest towards research at the correct time, otherwise I would be leading some other career.

My journey for the research started from SRM’s Genomics Laboratory, where I worked with Dr. N. Purushothaman and then our HOD supported me on my decision to pursue my Bachelor’s thesis at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms, National Center for Biological Sciences, TIFR, Bangalore. In NCBS-TIFR I worked with Dr. Malali Gowda and from there I got determined towards becoming a Research Scientist.

My career journey then took me towards a Masters in Molecular Life Sciences in Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Germany where I worked in several laboratories and then I got a job offer for a Part Time Research Asst position from Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology and I started working there in Molecular Genetics and Calcium Signaling in Defense mechanisms, under Dr. Axel Mithöfer where I learnt through the top class technology and side by side my Masters classes which were taught by the top class researchers.

This whole journey which laid its foundation of research in me started from SRM University, which helped me to become a Darwin Research Fellow. I am happy that I am one among the 4 Darwin Scholars selected worldwide. This fellowship is basically offered for the projects in Microbial Genetics. and with that fellowship recently I got registered as a PhD student at the Institute of Microbiology and Infection at the University of Birmingham, UK and started to work under Dr. David C Grainger and Dr. Ian Henderson in the field of Molecular Microbiology and Genetics. 

For completing this whole journey I want to acknowledge my dear parents, friends, relatives, and teachers in particular Dr. M. Parani and Dr. N. Purushothaman, who was always with me from time to time to supported me a lot. Last I even want to thank the Darwin Trust because I know firsthand just how hard it is for international students to obtain PhD funding in the UK.and finally I just want to say and quote some words for my juniors - that never get scared in finding opportunities and applying them, whatever marks you carry doesn’t matter, what matters is your concepts, understanding and thinking ability because-"I have seen flowers come in stony places and kind things done by men with ugly faces. And the gold cup won by the worst horse at the races, so I trust, too."- John Masefield 

and a PhD is an exhausting, emotional struggle. You are forced to confront all of your fears, insecurities and doubts you have about yourself and somehow overcome them. It's terrifying. A lot of bravery is required, which often goes unrecognized and unrewarded. Facing your own personalized set of fears (or demons, if you want to be dramatic) is where the feeling of isolation comes from - the fact that they are your fears. Be brave. You know what you have to do - you know the right thing to do. We all have to help India for its development and to serve our society. So become a Scientist and help people. Good luck."