I am very excited to be working on this project, on the microscopy side. Peter’s idea is very interesting and definitely plausible.
I was born in Mumbai, India. I was raised around the world (Kazakhstan, Algeria, England, India). Most of my early education was in India. I moved to the US to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and there I got my undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering. That’s when I first got into microscopy. Then I moved to Germany to get a master’s degree at the University of Heidelberg. I also worked at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, and I was introduced to high resolution microscopy there.
Q. When did your interest in science/engineering begin?
A. I don't exactly remember but I want to say when I was around 15 years old. I found it easier than studying biology or economics at the time. My father has an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering.
Q. What prompted you to go into optics?
A. I worked in a Quantitative Light Imaging Laboratory under Dr. Gabriel Popescu for two years during my undergraduate education and when it was time to leave, I didn't quite feel I knew enough. I shifted my focus within imaging a bit, but I still wanted to stick around optical imaging.
Q: How did you end up in Peter Kner’s lab?
While working in optics labs at both Illinois and Germany, I was mostly involved with writing software to control the microscopes and image processing. I became interested in learning more about the optics and being involved in the hands-on aspect of working in a microscopy lab. As Peter puts it, I wanted to learn to be a "microscopist" as opposed to a “programmer,” and Peter was kind enough to be willing to mentor me towards my goal. That's how I ended up in Athens, Georgia in September 2015.
Q. What is your current career goal?
A. This might sound ironic, but I am not a very career-focused individual. I like solving problems, as long as the problem is interesting and long-term; I don't really care what the field is. I have a final goal which I would like to reach by the time I am 40 or 45. In the meanwhile. I will do anything I can to reach that goal.
Q. What’s it like working with Peter?
A. I really enjoy working with Peter. It's easy, there are no complications, and it feels really good to know that he is always there to help you when you need the help. I came here to learn to build microscopes, and Peter has definitely been a very good and patient mentor when it comes to that.
Q. Are you excited to be working on the QSTORM-AO project?
A. I am very excited to be working on this project, on the microscopy side. Peter’s idea is very interesting and definitely plausible. Like every project, it poses its challenges, and I think it's going to be great fun putting the pieces of this puzzle together.
Q. What are your main interests or hobbies outside of your scientific work?
A. I like to climb. I prefer alpine climbing (Mt Rainier, Mt. Denali, etc..) to rock climbing. When I am not climbing, I try to stay in shape for the climbs by running, swimming and biking.
Q. What are you most passionate about?
A. I can't really say I am a very passionate person. A good question/problem that has to do with the laws of nature can usually get me slightly animated, but other than that I am a pretty mellow person.
Q. How would your friends describe you?
A. Quiet, mellow
Q. How do you cope with obstacles and setbacks along the way?
I try to think of way to overcome the obstacles. With setbacks, I just move on. If there is something to learn in the setback, I learn and then move on.
Q. Anything else that would be fun to share?
A. I like preparing elaborate meals. I like cooking in general.