Find out more about his research, why he decided to pursue a career in science and what he plans to do next:
What motivated you to become a scientist?
Looking back, I must admit that the overall environment in which I grew up influenced me a lot, especially as I came into contact with science there very early. When I think back to my childhood, I remember that my brother, my sister and I were very passionate about exploring nature and solving puzzles. Later, my sister went on to become a lecturer, while my older brother went for a career as a scientist. They have always been role models to me. My passion for science also continued in high school, and it was here where I decided to study biotechnology in college. I was fascinated by unlocking the secrets of biology at the molecular level.
What is your field of research?
My current work focuses on cancer cachexia - a debilitating wasting condition that affects over 50% of cancer patients. When I started my PhD, I must admit that I was a bit naïve in this area and did not fully understand the impact the condition has on many patients. During the interview symposium of the HRD graduate program, I met Dr. rer. nat. Mauricio Berriel Diaz, my future doctoral supervisor. The discussion with him about possible cancer cachexia projects was a turning point in my scientific career. Four years later, I now know that my decision back then was the right one, because my project could pave the way for the development of drugs to treat cancer cachexia- and that is what motivates me every day and keeps me going in my line of work.
What’s next in your professional career?
Now as a post-doc, my passion for uncovering new genes, proteins, and pathways linked to diseases remains undiminished. The knowledge and skills I have gained so far are now even more valuable because I can use them to develop innovative therapies and solutions for patients. Bringing these solutions from the lab to the clinic can truly transform patient lives. With this vision, I plan to take my next career step by working in the pharmaceutical industry as a R&D scientist or leading studies in a clinical research facility.
Thank you very much for the interview, Dr. Vignesh Karthikaisamy.