At the FDA Lab Bench with Postdoctoral Fellow Supriya Ravichandran
News Story By Samreen Jatana
Q&A session with Samreen Jatana and Supriya Ravichandran, current and past UR student in Dr. DeLouise's laboratory. They discuss life at the FDA and how the experience may help to pave the way to a career in industry.
SJ: Tell me a little bit about your background.
SR: I completed my Bachelor’s degree in SASTRA University, India and moved to Rochester, NY to pursue a Masters degree in Biomedical Engineering. I studied nanoparticle penetration through human skin under different skin barrier conditions, whether intact or disrupted. I completed the research work by documenting a thesis and publishing a manuscript under the supervision of Dr. Lisa DeLouise.
SJ: What was the focus of your Ph.D. at The University of Rochester?
SR: For my PhD work, I focused on developing antibodies to nanoparticles in order to allow for their easy detection in tissue samples and even the environment using phage display technology. Once the antibodies were obtained through this technique, they were used in various custom-designed assays to study their interaction with the nanoparticle they were developed against and other nanoparticles to study their cross-reactive properties, if any. I tested their binding in skin samples and found that nanoparticles such as quantum dots can be detected at higher levels through this method than other currently used detection methods such as fluorescence and electron microscopy.
SJ: Why did you choose the postdoctoral route?
SR: Although I would like to pursue a career in the antibody development and therapeutics industry, I felt that additional work experience in the form of a postdoctoral fellowship would allow me to expand my focus to other areas and widen my skill set.
SJ: Tell us about your experience at the FDA so far and what do you work on?
SR: My post-doctoral project here at the FDA focuses on the use of phage display to discover antigenic sites recognized by antibodies in serum samples. Although I started my work here only 6 months ago, I have gained considerable knowledge in various molecular biology techniques, phage display and even data analysis and the use various software for data organization and analysis.
SJ: How is working at the FDA different/similar to an academic lab?
SR: Research work here at the FDA is similar to an academic lab but requires personnel to be more thorough in their approach and documentation of all protocols and methods used in the lab. Data organization and careful planning of the experiments to minimize all errors and wastage possible is given a lot of priority. Recording the data meticulously and presentation at scientific meetings is also encouraged.
SJ: What are your future goals?
SR: I hope that my experience here at the FDA during my post-doctoral fellowship will allow me to pursue a career in industry, and I hope that the skills and techniques I learn here will allow me to be considered suitable for a variety of positions/openings available.