Abhilasha "Abby" Dehankar


Graduate Research Associate

  • Laboratory for Biological and Applied Nanotechnology
  • Ohio State University, Columbus

I have always had a love for biology, and the best way to connect biology and chemical engineering is through nanotechnology.



I was born in a small town called Yavatmal in the state of Maharashtra in India, and raised nearby in the city of Amravati. I went to St. Francis High School there.  My mother is a housewife and my father is a Forest Officer.

Q & A with Abby

Q. When did your interest in science/engineering begin?

A.  My interest developed over time as I came to know more about how things work and how everything in day-to-day life comes from years of effort and innovation.  I did my undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering at the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai. I am currently pursuing my MS/PhD at the Ohio State University in chemical engineering.  I work on nanoparticle synthesis and engineering for applications in various fields.


Q.   What prompted you to go into nanotechnology?

A.   I have always had a love for biology, and the best way to connect biology and chemical engineering is through nanotechnology.


Q.  How did you end up in Jessica Winter’s Lab?

A.   I joined Dr. Winter’s Group in November, 2014. My liking for engineering and biology combined with the work culture in Dr. Winter’s lab and her own love for the field is what inspired me to join this lab.


Q.  What is your current career goal? 

A.   My current goal is to complete my Ph.D. under the guidance of Dr. Jessica Winter.  


Q. What’s it like working with Dr. Winter?

A.  Her passion towards her work and her depth of knowledge in this field is what motivates us the most. Her organized working style, along with her knack for teaching is just the “cherry on the top.”


Q. Are you excited about working on the QSTORM-AO project?  

A. Yes, I am really excited to be working with QSTORM. I look forward to helping to increase the fluorescent quantum yield of the quantum dots, and developing the capacity to turn them on and off on cue.


Q. What are your main interests or hobbies outside of your scientific work?

A.  I enjoy traveling a lot.  I also enjoy spending time with friends, trying out different cuisines, listening to music, and dancing.  


Q.  What are you most passionate about?

A.  I am most passionate about maintaining a good work-life balance overall. Even though I love my work, I really love spending that “me” time too!


Q.  How would your friends describe you?

A.  They would probably describe me as a happy and chirpy person.


Q.  What quirks are you known for?

A.   I am mostly known for my “spot-on” sense of humor.


Q.  How do you cope with obstacles and setbacks along the way?

A.  It’s hardest for me to take that first step, so I always start with the simplest work first to gain confidence that can push me to get past the bigger obstacles. I also like to talk with my friends and family about any setbacks, for support.


Q. Where do you find inspiration when challenged with a difficult problem?  

A. I find my inspiration in almost every person around me.  Every individual faces problems, and most of them are bigger than mine.  That reminds me, "if they can, then why can’t I?” 


Q. Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

A. Although I can’t be sure, I see myself getting experience working for an FMCG [Fast-Moving Consumer Goods company] before joining academics for my love for teaching.