About Us

Living Science is a special forum run by the young research scholars to facilitate conversations with prominent scientists to explore the minds of these stalwarts, and about their lives in science – their initial inclinations for science, and for a particular research area. This is a platform to have discussions on popular research topics, science policies, their impact on science and the future of Indian science in a non political manner. Living Science team very carefully puts the questionnaires together after thorough research on the work of the guests and exhaustive discussion among team members and consultation with the advisory faculty members. The overall aim of this series is to provide students an opportunity to directly interact with the leading scientists and ask questions concerning them.

Living science as an idea was seeded by Sarita Ahlawat. Dr. Asif Mohmmed and Dr. Pawan Malhotra helped in giving it a concrete shape. The operational aspects of the this series were supported by the amazing team of enthusiastic PhD students, Azhar Muneer, Shweta Sharma, Anjali Khatri, Zeenia Jagga, Maaz Ahmed, Gourab Paul, Asif Akhtar and Sunesh Sethumadhavan right from the beginning. The initial technical ground work and setting of interview format was all conceived by Mr. Akshay Saxena.

Living Science series is made possible thanks to the unwavering support from the members of Flamingo films, Lado Sarai, New Delhi (flamingofilmsindia.com) especially Mr. Nandhakumar, Rajesh Kumar and Goutam Pandey.

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Team Members

Sarita Ahlawat

Sarita is a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC); working independently in a BIRAC (Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council) funded project. When not engaged in serious research, she enjoys reading, interacting with students and researchers. Living Science is a culmination of such vibrant interactions with students of ICGEB community. She is also passionate about turning her surroundings green and has planted more than hundred plants this year in her neighborhood.

Katharine van Geel and Tyll van Geel

Katharine van Geel is an accountant by profession and a warm, kind-hearted person. Dr. Tyll van Geel is an Emeritus Professor at the Warner School of Education, University of Rochester, in New York State. Dr. Van Geel has authored numerous articles and books in the field of education. The name of this interview-based video series was provided by Katy and Tyll.

Dr. Pawan Malhotra (Faculty, ICGEB)

Dr. Pawan Malhotra is the head of the malaria group at the ICGEB. He loves to interact with people. He is loved by his students and respected by his colleagues. Workaholic by nature, he puts in twelve hours on an average, and enjoys light music to unwind.

Dr. Asif Mohmmed (Faculty, ICGEB)

Dr. Asif Mohmmed is an enthusiastic young faculty member of the ICGEB - one with whom you can have free flowing unbiased discussions on any crazy idea and expect to receive constructive inputs. He is witty, friendly and gets along with students of all ages. In free time, Dr. Mohmmed enjoys photography, classical instrumental music and derives inspiration, not from the conical flasks or pipettes, but nature.

Akshay Saxena (Software Engineer, TCS)

Akshay Saxena is a software engineer with TCS (New Delhi); currently, placed in Sydney, Australia on a short term project. Akshay is a passionate pursuer of photography and filming. In the initial stages of Living Science, he was instrumental in coming up with the format of the series, logo design and setting up the working format for the team. An explorer of nature and people, Akshay loves to travel to remote uncharted territories, and draws his stamina from working out and playing tennis regularly.

Azhar Muneer (PhD student, ICGEB)

Azhar is interested in understanding the process of autophagy in the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Azhar is the epitome of an uncorrupted soul; he is honest, loyal, committed to his work, straight-forward, sincere and extremely cooperative with students and faculty. Most days like dedicated PhD students he toils inside the laboratory and enjoys light music and movies outside of it.

Anjali Khatri (PhD student, ICGEB)

Anjali is working in the area of gene delivery using peptide based nonopartciles. She is extremely enthusiastic about life in general, Anjali believes in living life 'queen size'. Her managerial abilities are unparallel. She can be designated any task and relied upon to make it better than expected. She is considered the interface of "Living Science" series with students, resourcefully preparing the background against which interviews are conducted.

Zeenia Jagga (PhD student, ICGEB)

Zeenia is a medical technologist turned Biotechnologist turned Bioinformatics graduate student. Her research interest are in finding patterns and developing prediction methods in complex biomedical data-sets for effectively predicting diseases. Zeenia is either working in the laboratory or thinking about her work. She keeps a pen by her side at all times so that no new idea escapes her. Sun or rain she can always be found with a big smile.

Maaz Ahmed (Research Associate, ICGEB)

Maaz has completed his PhD studies this year contributing significantly in understanding the role of DNA repair enzymes of malaria parasite. He is continuing his thesis work with Dr Renu Tuteja at the ICGEB. Maaz is the crisis manager of the Living Science program, dependable for plugging last minute glitches. Not just professionally, he has proven himself to be a dependable friend too.

Shweta Sharma (Research Associate, ICGEB)

Shweta completed her PhD degree from the ICGEB in 2014. For her thesis work she looked at the role of malaria parasite secreted proteins in host-immune system modulation during asexual blood stage. Currently, she is involved in unraveling the complexities of system biology with Dr. Kanury V. S. Rao at ICGEB. She has nurtured independent critical thinking and does not hesitate in pursuing bold ideas in science.

Sunesh Sethumadahvan (JRF, ICGEB)

Prior to joining ICGEB as a junior research fellow (JRF) in the field of structural biology, Sunesh worked in the area of Nanotechnology. He is interested in pursuing a career in the scientific academia. Actively involved in the Living Science interactions with the guest faculty, Sunesh is known to ask very relevant pointed questions. He is vivacious and always ready for any adventure.

Asif Akhtar (PhD student, ICGEB)

Asif is working on malaria parasite, exploring the role of putative proteins involved in the metabolism in asexual life cycle of the parasite. He is a deep thinker, very capable of reading the fine print behind what science or life has to offer. People enjoy his company and he enjoys reading physics for fun.

Gourab Paul (PhD student, ICGEB)

Gourab is studying the Invasion Mechanism of malaria parasite into the red blood cells. He is reticent by nature, yet enjoys being part of the team and contributes constructively to all discussions. Gourab will like to let the artist in himself express more often by sketching and painting after finishing PhD. He is a classical foodie, and loves to travel.

Mohd Asad (PhD student, ICGEB)

Asad is in the final stages of writing his thesis on understanding Lipid Metabolism in the malaria parasite. He is instrumental in running the lab efficiently. A scientist by profession he expresses himself creatively on the paper. Asad is credited with designing logos of the numerous conferences, seminars organized by ICGEB. Asad holds the title of being the kind God-father to any new comer at the laboratory.

Aakanksha Kalra (PhD student, ICGEB- New Delhi)

Aakanksha is a research scholar in the Malaria group with Dr VS Chauhan at ICGEB. She is a dependable, supportive, empathetic person that all her friends can count on; generous with her time and resources, looses no opportunity to help anyone in need. She is witty doesn't take a second to light up the room with her great sense of humor, hearty laughs and happy go lucky personality. Aakanksha enjoys being in the moment and creative in work and life out of it. .

Rajan Pandey (PhD student, ICGEB- New Delhi)

Rajan is working in the Translational Bioinformatics group at ICGEB with Dr Dinesh Gupta. He is among few who is equally at ease with both wet and dry laboratory work. Rajan is also lovingly called Babaji by friends and peers for his immense knowledge and ability to retrieve obscure facts about almost anything that falls in his realm of expertise. Like a wise man he is quite frank at offering opinion and provides almost always very practical solutions and advices. Imperturbable by difficult situation Rajan has become go to person in crisis.

Nutan Gupta (PhD student, ICGEB - New Delhi)

Nutan is working in field of immunology with Dr Kanury Rao. Most of the time she is lost in her own world in the ground floor of ICGEB building. Only comes out for long lone walks to Purvanchal Dhabas with head full of ideas to unravel the complexity of nature using system biology. She shoulders the responsibilities allotted with unimaginable maturity and charms everyone with reliable, sincere, quite and elegant demeanor. She is a Foodie by nature- it's easier for her to share an idea than a Cookie. Nutan displays good mix of ambition and zest for life.

Abhishek Anand (PhD student, ICGEB - New Delhi)

Abhishek is working towards developing resistance in rice against viral pathogens using microRNA as a tool in Plant RNAi Biology group at ICGEB. He is adventurous, enjoys travelling, watching movies, and hanging out with friends and is known for good sense-of-humor and quick repartees; believes in living life to fullest in king size. With his extreme dedication to work and close friends Abhishek has shown to have sincerity in his DNA.

Mansoor Azeem Siddiqui (PhD student, ICGEB - New Delhi )

Mansoor is currently interested in understanding the significance of reversible post translational modifications such as phosphorylation and palmitoylation, in the life cycle of human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. His research work occupies most of his conversations with friends and his life, but does make active efforts to keep up with reading regularly and ponders deeply over on “Science and Policies” in India.

Pankaj Pandey (PhD student, ICGEB- New Delhi)

Pankaj is involved in the research work of improving length and quality of cotton fibers in the Plant Transformation group at the ICGEB. He has a quite, helping demeanor- through and through gentleman; talented photographer enjoys taking long walks in wilderness to unwind from hectic research life. Serious, analytical thinker with passion for practical solutions Pankaj takes every task seriously accomplices them with utmost diligence.

Pankaj Bagul ( PhD student, DDRC, THSTI- Faridabad, Haryana)

Pankaj's PhD work focuses on finding therapeutic intervention for diabetic cardiomyopathy (DCM) with special emphasis on modulating protein acetylation status. With his remarkable work ethics, punctuality, sincerity and reliability he makes the core of a team. He is unassuming, grounded, friendly, easy to communicate with and has insatiable desire to learn and improve himself constantly. Pankaj with his simple, calm approach to life makes it wonderful to work with for anyone.

Chanderkant Chaudhary (PhD student, South Campus University of Delhi )

Chanderkant is pursuing a career in research at the department of Plant Molecular Biology, UDSC. He is part of the group trying to unravel the genomic content of the bread wheat considered "God of all Foods” in India. Laboratory is his second home; besides work he enjoys nature, music and spending time with friends. Not hesitant to try out new things. Chanderkant is well liked by his friends and peers for his adaptable, friendly and easy to go nature.

Naveen Neelosharma (PhD student, South Campus, University of Delhi)

Naveen is working as a research scholar at the department of Plant Molecular Biology, UDSC and is currently involved in Wheat Genome Sequencing Project and characterizing abiotic stress related genes. He is a science enthusiast with a golden heart to help anyone in need. A true researcher by heart and soul, he enjoys exploring outside laboratory with different kinds of food, music, places and cultures. His pleasant personality has earned him a special place among friends, peers, juniors, and faculty members. Naveen's favorite motto in life is to “Think beyond 3Rs: Religion, Race & Region“.

Brijesh Kumar (PhD student, ICGEB- New Delhi)

Brijesh is working in the area of plant stress biology with Dr. Sneh Lata Singla-Pareek at ICGEB. He is a believer of less words more work and wants to leave his mark in the world with his good work alone. Optimist, self-critic by nature does everything to perfection and has a never to give up attitude.

Ashish Subba Limboo (PhD student, ICGEB, New Delhi)

Ashish's research work is on the functional characterization of Cystathionine β-Synthase (CBS) Domain member proteins in rice. Between research and keeping up with the scientific literature Ashish likes to enjoys social activities by being the silent but an alert participant. He contributes significantly to anything by paying attentively close attention to minute details and discussing them at the right time. Ashish is punctual, extremely reliable and responsible that makes him a central support system of Living Science.

Amarpratap Singh (PhD student, ICGEB, New Delhi)

Amar is a part of the Malaria group at ICGEB, New Delhi using bioinformatics to solve some of the mysteries of the oldest parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Amar is either in the laboratory working on the hard problem of science or is thinking about science and science policies. He is always eager to help around in the laboratory or discuss science in depth with colleagues. Amar has unique clarity about almost anything and perhaps that makes him less prone to the depressive view of science-in-India or of life in general. It's hard to fool Amar with words that lack backing of action. He believes in clearly defined goals and working towards them. He is very easy to get along with and makes friends with ease.

Nimi Vashi (Project Research Scientist, ICGEB, New Delhi )

Nimi is a PhD in Infection Biology from ICGEB, New Delhi. Currently she is advancing her research in the laboratory of Dr Dhiraj at ICGEB, New Delhi.   Her love for host-pathogen co-evolution, sub-cellular compartmentalization and innate immunity keeps her glued to the lab. When not doing science she is actively reading books, writing blogs and exploring social media. She has been recently bitten by the travel and photography bug and is found capturing objects too big for the microscope. 

Jaiyam Sharma (Research Fellow, Physics Department IIT-Delhi)

Jaiyam's research interest are MEMS and Biosensors. Currently, he is working as a Junior Research Fellow (JRF) in the laboratory of Dr Joby Joseph at the physics department in IIT-Delhi. Professionally Jaiyam keeps himself busy day-and-night by working simultaneously on several ideas and projects. He believes in building things and wishes for a career full of big discoveries and inventions. His sincerity for his work has earned him many friends and admirers. When not engaged in science he likes to spent his time reading, exploring DIY electronics and learning Yoga.

Mandeep Singh (PhD student, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D))

Mandeep is working on optimization methods to image recovery in digital holography and its applications to bio-imaging. His general area of research interest are optimization methods, digital holography (3D imaging), interferometery, metrology, digital image processing and microscopy. Loyalty is the virtue that comes naturally to Mandeep. He has earned respect of his friends and colleague because of his hard working, sincere and dependable personality. Mandeep is witty makes working in Photonics laboratory a fun place to be in. Whatever little time he gets away from the laboratory spends on reading and staying updated with the current affairs. He likes to explore the views and personality of his friends, colleagues or acquaintances through healthy debates and discussions. Mandeep also takes deep interest history and in listening to fusion classical and sufi music.

Pankaj Kumar Sahoo (PhD student, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D))

Pankaj is working on photonic crystal structures for applications in image sensing, Solar cells, Biosensors and Photonic circuits with Prof. Joby Joseph towards his PhD at the Physics Department. His general research interests are optics, silicon photonics, photonic crystals, guided mode resonance structures. Pankaj is an independent thinker and researcher very ambitious and goal oriented. He charms everyone with his sincerity and simple way of looking at life. With penchant to stay updated with the world affair, he makes conversations interesting. In free times Pankaj enjoys playing cricket and riding cycle with friends.

Swagato Sarkar (PhD student, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D))

Swagato is working on designing/fabrication of photonic and metamaterial structures and finding their applications with Prof. Joby Joseph towards his PhD degree at IIT-Delhi. It's the child like curiosity that make him very engrossed and a good researcher. Swagato is master communicator can discuss his research work effortlessly with colleague and lay people with equal ease. He is a unique scientist in making with great appreciation and understanding of art. He designs his 3D structure with the indulgence of an artist and precision of a professional. Swagato spends most of his week and weekends working in the laboratory and when pushed out by friends likes to ride bicycle to know Delhi closely.