Women in Science: Suhita Nadkarni on studying the brain, making the shift from Physics to Neurobiology

Suhita Nadkarni started off as a physicist, but she soon learnt the value of being an insider — using neuroscience rather than physics to understand the brain

The Life of Science September 19, 2018 16:28:46 IST
Women in Science: Suhita Nadkarni on studying the brain, making the shift from Physics to Neurobiology

Editor's note: Starting National Science Day 2018, The Life of Science and Firstpost bring you a series profiling Indian women in Science. The challenges in Indian scientific life are many — more so for women taking up this path. This series honours those who beat the odds and serve as inspirations for the next generation of Indian science — a generation that is slowly and surely on its way to becoming gender equal.


By Dnyanada Gokhale

Suhita Nadkarni | Computational Neurobiologist | Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune

Suhita Nadkarni is a neuroscientist at IISER Pune leading a generation of computational neurobiologists. She started off as a physicist, but her PhD introduced her to the approach of studying the brain by computationally modeling communication between brain cells.

“I started off tackling my research questions from the lens of a physicist and a modeler, but [neuroscience] meetings made me realise the value of being an insider — being a neurobiologist rather than a physicist trying to understand the brain," she says.

In this podcast, Suhita speaks to Dnyanada Gokhale about her formative research years at the “hotbed for neuroscience research” in the world, how she brought Parle G biscuits to the tea culture at the renowned Salk Institute and her approach to teaching and doing neuroscience in India.

Suhita represents the new crop of young Indian interdisciplinary scientists who refuse to suffer through the slow and bureaucratic approach to science that has been the norm in India. Last year, she organised the first meeting for Indian neuroscientists titled 'No Garland Neuroscience'. This scientific meeting, she insists, is a ‘work-ation’, and encourages participants to bring their families along to future events.

Read the full interview with Suhita here.

Read more from the Women in Science series here.

THELIFEOFSCIENCE.COM is a feminist science media project on a mission to make Indian women scientists more visible and investigate the gender gap in Indian academia

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