What is your current role? Tell us a bit about your research

I just started as a postdoctoral research associate at the CDFD, India. We are broadly interested in understanding how chromatin (histone post-translational modifications and transcription) works through the mammalian cell cycle; which often goes haywire in pathological conditions like in cancer cells. Earlier, I worked on the basic molecular mechanisms of co-transcriptional RNA-mediated genome instability (a.k.a R-loops or RNA-DNA hybrids). Now, I am trying to understand their roles in histone modifications at non-protein-coding genomic locales and how this shapes the basic gene regulatory mechanisms of a cell.  

What are you excited about in science communication?

This might be a cliché: I have been excited about doing and communicating science since my high-school days. I used to contact scientists (like the ‘Letters to a Pre-Scientist’ program) and get inspired. But somewhere down the lane, I became this conventional boring scientist. 

Thanks to my Ph.D. examiner (Lars Jansen) who asked the last question in my Ph.D. dissertation exam: “how would you explain your work to a layman or your family?” I stumbled…but I managed. The question did not leave me ever since. 

With zero experience in science communication, I recently joined Massive Science (a group of exciting scientists turned science writers) to harness science communication skills. I now strongly believe communicating complex scientific ideas helps in deeper understanding and dissemination of scientific facts to stakeholders (public and scientists), and most importantly to policymakers. I also realized that the art of communicating science helps to develop grant-writing skills. 

Why did you choose to participate in the ASAPbio Fellow program?

I was a very conventional scientist and did not know about the preprint world until I joined the preLights community last year – an eye-opener. I realized preprints not only spearhead a research area but if I don’t read one, I would be lagging almost a year behind. And with ASAPbio, I want to understand the nuances of preprint publications and advocate for open access knowledge sharing for the advancement of science. Also, I want to be part of this small rebellion and hopefully drive a paradigm shift in the scholarly publication that we are all craving. 

Ask me about…

I am down with anything; night sky/star watching, hiking, chaos theory, cells, consciousness, history, cinema, religion, interplanetary travel (I will strongly oppose), intuitive vegetarian cooking, yoga, etc…  

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