This is Somdutta (call me Som, if that’s an easier option for you!). I live in Cambridge away from my family and partner, who are based in India currently. I am a researcher in genetics. My hobbies include swimming, hiking, listening podcasts, watching aviation infotainment videos and trying new cuisines whenever I get a chance!
My pronouns are:
I would like to be referred as She/ Her.
I am a research assistant in the pathological and microbial department at Sanger Institute. My work is to investigate the natural microbial growth in the lungs of ill patients suffering from cystic fibrosis disease.
Patients having cystic fibrosis (CF) suffers critical health conditions. It is an inherited genetic condition caused by CFTR gene fault. The symptoms includes thick sticky mucous blocking the lungs, digestive system, breathing problem, chest infections, malnutrition and so on. Unfortunately, there is no curable treatment available at the moment for CF. So, only the symptoms are treated through medication. If the symptoms remain untreated, they lead to disease severity gradually. Current available (yet limited) diagnostic options are: heal prick/ blood spot test, sweat test and genetic screening.
In our study, we are studying the genetic diversity of the microbes living in the lungs of the CF patients. Through our experimental study, we aim to gain some unique yet informative insights on the genetic microbial diversity in co-relation to the disease which might be helpful to design better treatment strategy for the disease in the future!
My Typical Day:
So my usual work day look like as follows: –
- Wake up at 7 am
- Take the campus bus at 8 am
- Reach office, have breakfast and coffee from Murrays’ (our campus restaurant)
- Head over to office cabin and sign-in to work account to have an overview on my outlook calendar
- Plan the day accordingly. In case, I have any tech talks/ seminars/ training to attend apart from my office routine jobs
- Step inside the lab, perform experiments, note down any important stuffs and clean the work area before leaving the lab
- If I am supposed to have a long day in the lab then prefer to go for lunch break in between 1-2 pm with my friends.
- Otherwise, my intention is generally, wrapping up lab work at a go and then take the lunch break.
- In post-lunch hours (if free from lab), I scrutinize/ draft any official documents or read some relevant scientific articles to gain better insights
- Take mini (10 mins) coffee breaks as a healthy screen time away
- Finally leave the office by 4.30 pm and board the campus coach at 4.40 pm
- Reach home by 5.20 pm
- I prepare my pool bag as soon as I return home from office
- Head over to pool
- Swim for straight 50 mins– the best part of my weekday routine!
- Head back home feeling refreshed mind but hungry stomach!
- Take a quick shower (to get rid off pool chlorinated water)
- Have a light dinner– generally a fruit, yoghurt, handful of nuts and 2 cubes of dark chocolate
- Prepare lunch box for next day
- Go to sleep by 10.30-11 pm
What I'd do with the prize money:
If I win the prize money, then I would like to use it as a travelling expense to attend any international scientific seminars (within or outside UK), where I will be getting incredible opportunities to network with some brightest minds, listen to their researches, exchange ideas and map my pathway for my future PhD!
What did you want to be after you left school?
Having a messy teenage mind wasn't very easy to decide on this! I used to jump around options like doctor, engineer, pilot, air hostess and a fashion designer! But it was never ever in my lifetime that I wanted to become a scientist!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Honest confession: MANY TIMES! I was the naughtiest in my class. I do remember, when I was in nursery, there wasn't a single day that I had my parents call because of my menaces! The complains used to be ranging from snatching away lunch box, eating classmates lunch, fighting with other section students, scaring them with fake spiders in the toilet, pranking them with ketchup as blood and so on. But surprisingly, I didn't face any serious infringement notices because of my good academic conduct!
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Maybe a fashion designer or a professional swimmer, who knows!
Who is your favourite singer or band?
One direction (my teenage music albums revolves round them), Ed Sheran, Imagine Dragons, Shawn Mendes, Charlie Puth, Jennifer Lopez
What's your favourite food?
You can bribe me with cheesy crust stuffed pepperoni pizza!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1. Power to be invisible, 2. Travel anywhere (within Earth, outside the Earth, to a different planet!), 3. Able to read anyone's mind!
Tell us a joke.
Q: What do you call when a Knight farts? A: Noble gas!