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Roads Ahead

Many times in life, roads lead to the unknown – however much we may think we know the destination. This can be especially true for careers in science. Reading Ranjan Mukherjee’s story in Science Careers is an inspiration to keep an open mind.

Briefly summarized, he graduated with a Masters in physics from the University of Calcutta and was accepted into a biophysics PhD program at the University of Delaware. Leaving behind family and friends in India for his unknown (otherwise called Newark, Delaware), he found his adviser-to-be had passed away some months ago and no one had notified him. Suddenly met with much more unknown than one could hope for, he adapted. While teaching physics labs to fulfill student visa requirements and heterotrophic obligations, he convinced a faculty member in biology to take him on.

After earning the PhD and getting married, a postdoctoral position in Strasbourg, France meant meeting another unknown. This led to a drug discovery position targeting metabolic disease, a field in which he would spend the next 22 years. However, after 15 years at a particular company, his position in R&D was unexpectedly eliminated.

Drawing on a love of travel and writing, he sent off fresh articles to blogs and journals. A few have been picked up by a magazine, a major newspaper, and the Indian government to advertise for tourism. He is now embarking further into the unknown, launching a new writing career. It is no wonder the title of this article is “The Winding Road.”

While career trajectory often hangs heavily above anyone starting out in science, it is important to remember that life can take us anywhere and we shouldn’t always take little discouraging things (like suddenly finding out that your adviser-to-be is no more after moving halfway across the world) as discouragement. A sharp bend in the road may not necessarily mean going off the cliff, and a winding road can take you to new, incredible places.

Anthony Ho
BMCDB Graduate Group

S.M. Theg Lab

Life Science Building, 2105

See the article at:

Science 21 November 2014: Vol. 346 no. 6212 p. 1026 DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6212.1026 PMID: 25414316

Categories: Uncategorized
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