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Studying towards a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Biochemistry
Tell us about yourself
Rudranuj, or Rudy as he is called by friends, had always wanted to have a career ‘in a white lab coat working in a pristine laboratory’ since he was young, which eventually lead him onto Biochemistry studies.
‘At the time, of course, I didn’t know what my interests were (or even what the field of biochemistry was, for that matter) but as I learned more about the field of biochemistry, I knew that this was something that I would enjoy doing in the future,’ he says.
Originally from India, Rudy moved to University of Canterbury, New Zealand for its reputation in scenic views and kind locals, and decided on enrolling at UC because of its Biotechnology programme.
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and unique career?
Biochemistry ended up being his passion, because of how well it fitted into other science subjects and its relevance to the world.
‘Because living processes are an essential component of biology, many diverse fields from zoology to molecular biology to structural biology are closely linked to the field of biochemistry. Biochemists are responsible for significant contributions to the fields of medicine, agriculture and nutrition,’ he says.
‘Despite so much that is already known, there are many things that are constantly being discovered in the field of biochemistry. Something that might seem true today, might not be true tomorrow. Working in the lab is always a fun experience as well. Within biochemistry, I thoroughly enjoy the field of drug development and design.’
How was the experience at University of Canterbury?
He soon made a point of getting involved in the student community more, after first starting out at UC.
‘I was awfully shy at first but I gradually came out of my shell once I realised that everyone was having a good time and I was only robbing myself of this experience by refusing to participate in social activities,’ he says. ‘Likewise, balancing academics with social activities was tough at first but I got better at it as time went on.’
His first year was spent in University Hall accommodation living with fellow students, and he also got involved in student clubs UCanBC (badminton club) and ChemSoc (chemistry club).
With one of his favourite things about his Science degree being the opportunity to make contacts with industry experts, Rudy landed an amazing internship with a commercial medical diagnostics lab in India.
Tell us about your internship
‘I managed to land the internship because of an excellent letter of recommendation by one of my lecturers. It gave me crucial insights into the field of biochemistry and provided a “real-world” example of the kinds of things we learn in lectures. I would highly recommend it to other students as it helps visualise the kind of immediate impact this field has on the lives of people.’
He will also soon take part in a research project with a UC Summer Research Scholarship, testing and isolating bioactives.
‘The project involves investigating different fungal metabolites, testing whether they have any biological or industrial significance and designing genetically modified organisms that produce this compound in a high yield. It perfectly encapsulates the multi-disciplinary nature of biochemistry as knowledge of chemical techniques, molecular biology, microbiology and general biochemistry is required to successfully complete the project.’
What are your future plans?
From this experience, Rudy has a stronger focus for his future career in biochemistry.
‘I wish to lead a successful research group that produces meaningful results that have an impact on the lives of people who are less privileged than I am,’ he says.