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Personal Statement (Neuroscience)

I am Niyati Pandya, a biotechnologist fascinated by the world of neurons and synapses. For me, science has always been a pursuit to a new world, unfathomable and unimaginable, yet visible and lucid the minute one is conscious about it. And this ability to become aware of one’s surroundings is attributed to a delicate coordination of neuronal grid. I was introduced to the human brain at the age of 17, and since then I desired to build my career around this extraordinary organ. The intricate networking of these amazing cells provides us the label of ‘humans’. The complex mysteries of synapses require deciphering at the core level, and I am zealous to explore them. I desired to study how neuronal cells work in a perfect coordination to generate miracles of life, giving it a corporeal existence: the ability to talk, walk, learn, and yearn.

Having done my undergraduate studies in the field of biotechnology, I got an exposure to a variety of subjects; the elementary ones like Math, Physics, Biology and Chemistry, the most recent applied sciences viz. industrial fermentation technology, and the fundamental topics like cellular biology, molecular biology, immunology etc. I always ranked in the top 5% of my batch. Not only this curriculum augmented my learning, it also introduced me to the world of discovery and research. I was fortunate to get a training opportunity during my summer holidays under the tutelage of Dr. Paban Aggrawala at the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), India where my understanding of science got deepened even more. I acquired skills of animal handling, histopathological as well as hematological analysis, and techniques like western blotting and so on.

Currently, I am a postgraduate student of Maharaja Sayajirao University, and here I am taught and trained to approach any problem in the most ingenious way. I am proud to be an affiliation of this institute from where I got this dexterity of practical problem-solving. To attain such a set of skills, one should be proficient in reading. And, for me, reading is a level above habit-addiction. I feel a day is lost sans any reading. I stood first in the class at the end of first year of my masters’ program. Present-day, my dissertation work is related to Diabetes Mellitus: a metabolic syndrome. Here, I am gaining the art of furnishing an experiment, performing it, procuring the data, interpreting it and so on. My work revolves around differentiating mesenchymal stem cells to pancreatic islets, studying its molecular profile for potential therapeutics of Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (Type 1). I have refined several techniques of cell culture, immunocytochemistry (ICC), Fluorescence cell sorting and nucleic acid transfection during my work on my thesis. These experiences motivated me to enrich myself, causing me to delve into the structural biology of protein folding in the Alzheimer’s disease to reading about the action mechanism of psychoactive drugs on the nervous system. I occupied myself in the world of neural science.

Today I am at that stage where reading seems inadequate for my curiosity. I have a pile of questions for which I need answers. Why are variations seen in internode generation by oligodendrocytes upon aging? Could this process have an application in the construction of engineered neurons for more accurate and synchronized neural synapses? How can stem cells be manipulated in the generation of interneurons and specific glial cells, both being an essential part of the central nervous system? Here, finding a commitment path for such cells is a huge task on its own. And in pathological diseases, whether hyperphosphorylated tau in cell’s exosome system is an indication of tau pathologies? And could it be used for confirmation of Alzheimer’s disease (AD)? How lifestyle affects the chances of occurrence of AD in genetically prone individuals? Also, its effect on dementia upon minor changes in the way of living?! All these questions, if explored, certainly hold a huge impact on several lives. I would be glad to probe these complications, and finally someday lend a helping hand to the ones in distress.

Along with academic inclusion, my ken extends to the extracurricular activities too. I was elected as the representative of my batch which taught me how to take charge with humility. I have won state-level microbiology quiz competition, treasure hunt, scientific cartoon making competition, and debates in the university cultural fest. I also won a poster presentation award for presenting on the topic ‘Bio-nanotechnology: An efficient strategy of drug delivery’. My attendance in seminars and workshops keeps me updated, inquisitive and motivated with the current trends in the field of science.

With this confidence, I am applying to the XYZ institute to achieve proficiency and getting mentored by the experts in the field of neuroscience. I realize this career calls for persevering, visionary and assiduous personalities, and I consider myself eligible for this career choice. I would strive to achieve and expand the horizon of knowledge in the field of neuroscience.

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