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I am Anantha Mary Jeba T. I am a meticulous and meritorious biotechnologist. I finished my M.Sc. in Biotechnology (Integrated) in April 2018 from Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), Vellore, India with 9.32 CGPA (Maximum CGPA being 10). I graduated my Higher Secondary Education in 2013 with 84.8% and Secondary Education in 2011 with 88.57% from Ida Scudder School, Vellore, India. During my college period, I received Merit Scholarships for all five years (Academic years 2013 – 2018). I was Assistant Secretary of Students’ Council for the academic year 2013 – 2014. I was a Class Representative for all 5 years of my college period (Academic years 2013 – 2018) and the Program Representative for the academic year 2013 – 2014.

Biology has been my favorite subject since school. My graduate education not only helped me learn more about the subject, it also instilled in me the desire to be a good researcher. Research is required in our day to day life for our efficient functioning. Even though it’s been almost a year since my graduation, I still yearn to be a good scientific researcher one day. I have observed that the way a post-graduate handles a problem is different from the way a graduate or an undergraduate would handle it. Education does refine one’s mind.

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Knowing how our body functions, why we do what we do and all the complexity involved in performing a single task are the reasons behind my interest in Biology. For all of our body’s function, proteins are required. A small change during protein translation can affect the body in various ways. Our body functioning depends on how one molecule interacts with another. Signaling, feedback mechanisms, interactions and much more make up life.

Biochemistry and Molecular biology are my subjects of interest. During my college days, I spent my time after classes working in a Protein Chemistry lab in my University, learning the techniques they used in their research and how the post-graduate students performed their research there. This was just the beginning of my research journey. My actual research experience began when I did my final year project under the supervision of Dr. Vimlesh Kumar, in Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Bhopal, India. There I got to produce a clone, induce protein expression and purify protein for Antibody production. I also got to work on Drosophila fly keeping and genetic crossing of the flies for mutant production. This project led me to learn and perform techniques like Plasmid DNA isolation, fly DNA isolation, PCR for gene amplification and for mutant screening, clone production (DNA digestion, ligation and transformation), protein induction, protein purification (Ni-NTA column), SDS-PAGE and western blot.

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Learning does not end when one graduates. Learning happens in everyday life. After graduation, I joined Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Ahmadabad, India as a Trainee Research Associate in the Analytical Development Laboratory in the R&D department, in July 2018. There I got to learn more about protein’s (Monoclonal Antibodies) nature, production of biosimilars and practical working of HPLCs. I have worked on Size exclusion Chromatography, Cation exchange Chromatography, Reverse phase Chromatography and Affinity Chromatography in the eight months that I have been there. Being an instrument in-charge comes with the added advantage of knowing the functioning and maintenance of the instrument. Hence I got to know more about the working of weighing balance, speed vacuum concentrator and centrifuge.

Given the opportunity to study under this program, this is how I plan to do my study. The first year in South Korea would go in my language education. As I am a fast learner, I actually plan on finishing my language education in the first six months and begin my post-graduate study earlier. The first year of my doctoral study would be spent on finishing the course work and understanding the basics of my thesis topic. The second year would be spent fully on researching my thesis topic. The third year would be spent on publishing my work and finishing up my thesis.

Prefoldin is a molecular chaperone which helps in the proper folding of actin and tubulin in eukaryotes. It has a homologous counterpart in Archaea as well. The exact functioning of this protein is not yet determined. What is known is it helps in protein folding and defective Prefoldin is known to cause various diseases in the nervous system (neuromuscular junction, CNS, photoreceptor), reproductive system (sperm mobility), excretory system (in kidney cells with modified cilia or motile cilia) in various model organisms. To study the functioning of a protein, we require model organism which over expresses the gene for the protein, organism which is mutant for the protein, organism which over expresses the gene for protein in particular regions (RNAi mediated over expression of gene) and organism which does not produce the protein in particular region (RNAi mediated knockdown of gene expression). Once model organisms are obtained, differential gene expression shows different phenotype in the organisms. Phenotype helps identify the probable function of the protein. Rescuing of the phenotype helps confirm the phenotype being specific to the protein’s function. A series of further experiments of differential expression and knock down of protein and related proteins help identify the role the protein plays in the body. This is the basic plan of my research.

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India is a country known for its diversity. When one moves around the country, they will get to learn how to work with a diverse group of people and how to adjust when things around you do not feel like home. Diversity in a team helps the team to be unique in its own sense and to bring forth productivity of a unique level. Being in a different region of my home country, I bring in the diversity of my region to where I am right now. When I get exposure to a different country, I would be adding in to the country’s diversity when I work there and will be adding diversity to my home country on my return. Exchange of knowledge is very important in this day and age. Though reading written material or following said instructions can be done, getting hands-on experience goes a long way in knowledge transfer. The field of Life Science has been gaining importance these days. The competition is tough and working abroad or getting a degree from abroad gives one the added advantage in their career progression.

Getting a post-graduation degree has its own value. Firstly education refines one’s mind. The degree will help me gain more knowledge and help me become a better researcher. Secondly, one’s qualification speaks more than their experience. A person with five years of experience and Master’s degree is not in the same level as a person with a Ph.D. degree and zero years of experience. Whether it is for personal good or professional good, a post-graduate degree is a must these days.

During my college days, I did an assignment on South Korean economy. That assignment led me to learn more about the country. Rapid economic growth and the ability to stay fairly stable and recover quickly from the Asian economic crisis in the late 1990s and from the global crisis in 2008-2009 impressed me. The facts I read about the South Korean economy during my assignment made me inquisitive about the country as such. Ever since then it has been my dream to visit the country. To visit a country as a tourist and experiencing its culture and cuisine is different from staying in the country for a while and experiencing the country. This program gives me the opportunity to learn the language and to experience the country and focus on my career at the same time. It also allows me to learn from two different institutes, adding to the work culture diversity from which I will be learning. This program enables me to achieve two of my dream goals at the same time.

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