Hailing from the city of Ballia in Uttar Pradesh, Dr. Vipul Kumar Pandey has come a long way in becoming a scientist at one of India’s premier research facilities, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai. Recently he shared his experiences and thoughts via an interview, as summarized below.
Academically speaking, Mr. Pandey started his schooling at Saraswati Shishu Mandir, Ballia, where he had studied from class shishu to 5th and then shifted to Nagaji Saraswati Vidya Mandir Sr. Sec, Maldepur, Khoripakar, Ballia from where he had completed his 12th . After that he finished his graduation from Shri Murli Manohar Town Degree College, Ballia, in Biotechnology.
As he wanted to pursue higher studies in the same field, Mr. Pandey appeared for the ‘All India Combined Entrance Examination’ for Biotechnology conducted by JNU and secured AIR 85th among thousands of participants from all over India. Through the examination, he got the opportunity to join Pune University from where he completed his M.Sc. (Biotechnology) degree in the year 2009. Same year he cleared the prestigious CSIR National Eligibility Test (NET) examination in Life Sciences as well as got the opportunity to join the Department of Biotechnology Junior Research Fellowship
(DBT-JRF) in Biotechnology securing All India Rank-21.
After finishing his Masters degree, Mr. Pandey applied for PhD in several institutes and was selected as a research scholar in National Institute of Immunology (NII) Delhi. He studied there for merely 2 months before getting offered the permanent position of Scientific Officer, at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. At BARC, he won the prestigious Homi Bhabha Gold Medal after completion of the yearlong orientation course. He has been working there for the past 10 years. He has also completed his PhD degree in Life Sciences. He has presented his work at many National and International Seminars and symposiums and published his research in many peer reviewed International Journals. He has also won several awards including the Young Scientist Award in 2019, given by Environmental Mutagen Society of India. He has also been teaching at Homi Bhabha National Institute.
At the moment Mr. Pandey is working in the Radiation Biology and Health Science Division at the research facility. His department mainly deals with research and development in the fields of radiation, cancer and other human diseases, where he himself specializes in cancer and immunology. When asked why he chose biotechnology as his subject of study, Mr. Pandey pointed out that this subject has a direct correlation with human and environmental welfare, as most of the research in the subject is related to the betterment of humans and the environment on which human wellbeing is dependent on. Thus he felt that by being in this field he will be helping the people the most.
With his considerable amount of experience related to the subject, Mr. Pandey was asked for his suggestions to Vidya Bharati students, who aim to follow a similar path in the research field. While speaking about the subject, Mr. Pandey mentioned that to do well in any type of research field, firstly the student has to be curious and have the habit of asking questions. In science subjects, there is no scope of blindly memorizing facts. Here one has to observe and use that to make a hypothesis. Finally, he specified that there is no short cut to success in this arena and one has to be prepared for hard work.
Speaking about the impact that his school has had on his life so far, Mr. Pandey indicated that when we are young, we often don’t realise the extent of impact that our experiences have towards the development of our personality. It is later in life that we realise that no knowledge ever goes to waste. Also he feels that more than academics, it was the amalgamation of overall culture of Vidya Bharati schools that had helped to shape his personality and prepared him to face the challenges of life. For him it was the sense of discipline and leadership skills that he had learnt at school that has helped him the most in life.
He became aware of the fact when he started working with trainees from other educational institutions and found out that most of them lacked the drive, the discipline and the ability to take risks, which was inherently present in most of the Vidya Bharati students. Before ending the interview, Mr. Pandey sent out a message to all Vidya Bharti students urging them to always stay grounded and maintain a sense of detachment in life. It is always good to remember that life is unpredictable and full of ups and down. If one can face both the good and the bad with the same amount of stoicism, life will appear to be smoother. Also he advised the students to read as much as possible. It’s not that they have to only study academic books, knowledge of all kinds is helpful in the long run.
Vidya Bharati thanks Dr. Vipul Kumar Pandey for taking out time and sharing his inspiring journey with the community.
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