Heidelberg University
Heidelberg Alumni International
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Heidelberg Alumni International


“Heidelberg Offered Plethora of Opportunities to Me”

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Dr. Lipi Thukral, Biologist, Postdoctoral Research Associate at Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi/India
PhD Student at Heidelberg University (Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing/IWR) from February 2007 until March 2011, revisiting Heidelberg through HAIreconnect in October 2012

Why did you decide to come to Heidelberg University?
I was a bit lucky to get accepted at several graduate programs, including universities in USA. It’s a wonderful predicament, but also terrifying. I decided to join Heidelberg University because it regularly occupies top spots in international rankings and is well known to have strong emphasis on research. Apart from offering rigorous academic programs, Heidelberg also promises excellent city life for students.

What were your experiences in Heidelberg?
Heidelberg offered plethora of opportunities to me. My doctoral research lab supervised by Prof. Jeremy Smith was a highly interdisciplinary and multi-cultural workspace. Prof. Smith encouraged vibrant learning atmosphere by active discussions amongst colleagues and collaborators, enabling me to learn an independent yet integrated way of doing research. I participated in several national and international conferences (funds covered by the university) to simultaneously help share my scientific research and learn new aspects of doing science. As a foreign student Heidelberg also offered amazing cultural options. I remember organizing and participating in several dance and other community events as a member of Heidelberg Indian Student Association (HISA).

How did your career continue after your time in Heidelberg?
The education in Heidelberg and outcome of my research at Heidelberg / the University enabled me to gain higher visibility to other world-class laboratories. I did a short Postdoc at the University of Southampton, UK, before returning to my home town Delhi for a second Postdoc. It gives me immense satisfaction to bring back the science I learned in Heidelberg to my home country and contribute in my own little way. I have joined the System Biology lab headed by Dr. Rajesh S. Gokhale, Director, CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology. He is world leader in tuberculosis research and his research group addresses highly interesting problems at the interface of chemistry, biology, structural and molecular biology. Lastly, the foundation stone laid during initial years is helping me tremendously to take the next leap in my academic career with greater conviction.

Do you recommend a research visit to Heidelberg University to your students or to colleagues in your scientific network?
Heidelberg University is certainly an attractive place for international students to gain experience in respective scientific fields. I would strongly recommend research visits to my colleagues and collaborators in India and other parts of the world to form and enhance their ties with Heidelberg University. It is like this slice of cake you don’t want to miss!

You are Research-Alumni Ambassador for Heidelberg as a location of research– what are your experiences?
I still collaborate with researchers at Heidelberg University and have maintained my network built up during my doctoral training. One of the core elements of scientific research is collaboration and Heidelberg’s Research Alumni Network promotes exactly this crucial element! I am an active member or kind of ‘ambassador’ of this network. The idea is simple. The present or new ties of scientific collaboration with Heidelberg are promoted and additionally there are events organized in the members’ cities, in my case Delhi, where information can be easily shared in person. I am quite privileged and happy to associate myself with Heidelberg’s alumni network as this is where I started to do what I do daily now – scientific research.


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Latest Revision: 2012-12-13
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