Please tell us about yourself. How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and uncommon career?
Ever since I was a child I have had a passion for the biological sciences, says Lavanya Mahadevan. I always wondered why leaves were green or why mom became so active at work after drinking a cup of coffee.
After graduating from high school in Madurai, India, Lavanya chose to focus on biotechnology and applied to a Bachelor of Technology in Biotechnology programme at SASTRA University.
What did you study next?
– At first I had no intention of pursuing a master’s degree but while writing my bachelor’s thesis at the Pasteur Institute of India I realized the extent of my interest in the field and my passion for research.
Having made the decision to take up higher studies, Lavanya began searching for a suitable university.
– I have always admired the European system of education, says Lavanya, and Sweden is the land of many Nobel Prize laureates. The reason that I chose Linköping University was the rare combination of courses in Plant Molecular Genetics and Human and Animal Physiology, which were available only here.
She applied and was admitted to the Molecular Genetics and Physiology master’s programme (now part of the Experimental and Medical Biosciences programme) in 2010, and she came to appreciate the quality of education at Linköping University.
Tell us about your experience at Linköping University
– I was always exposed to the latest trends and current scientific scenarios, says Lavanya Mahadevan. I gained good hands on laboratory experience and I had a lot of group activities and oral presentations, which helped me gain confidence and hence emerge as a skilled and professional student. I also gained invaluable communication and time management skills, which in my opinion lie at the core of becoming a skilled specialist in the realm of technology. I also strengthened my problem solving and team work skills a great deal and I was able to enhance my personality.
Lavanya also enjoyed the social aspects of studying at Linköping University.
– I was fortunate enough to mingle with people from various cultures from around the world and working with them was indeed a lot of fun. And I was taught by some of the friendliest professors I’ve met in my entire life.
At the university there are societies which help students from all walks of life to get to know each other.
– I participated in various events organized by the “International Students Association” (ISA) of Linköping University. Dancing is my passion and I was honored with a cash prize for a dance performance that I gave on iday 2011.
Through her studies at Linköping university Lavanya was able to complete her master thesis at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine in the United States.
– It is one of the top Ivy League schools, says Lavanya. Linköping University further encouraged me by providing a travel grant and I obtained a scholarship through Swedbank.
Though not physically present in Linköping Lavanya continued her studies through Linköping University’s online study platform.
– I was able to stay in touch and follow up on my coursework through the user friendly interface, says Lavanya. Throughout my thesis work I was well supported by my examiner and the course coordinator at Linköping University.
She appreciates the year long, 60 study credits, thesis work.
– The thesis work was the most satisfying part of my programme, says Lavanya. Apart from the techniques I learnt and the research skills I obtained, I had a very good experience of the outside world and it was really nice to be treated as a professional in a sound laboratory setting.
– Linköping University gave me the opportunity to invite my family from India to attend my graduation ceremony, says Lavanya Mahadevan. My dad was extremely proud to see his daughter graduate with flying colors.
Your career path?
Returning to India following her graduation, Lavanya quickly gained a position as a project trainee at Biocon Pharmaceuticals.
– Biocon Pharmaceuticals is a leading pharmaceutical company in Asia and I started my work life with high expectations and goals, says Lavanya Mahadevan. I am currently working in the R&D center in Bangalore and I find my work very interesting because I am able to implement all the technical skills and knowledge that I had gained as a student. My work involves the maintenance of various cell lines, the development of methods to determine the biopotency of drugs by performing cell based assays in vitro, the dosing and handling of animals (mice) and the performance of cytokine ELISA.
Over all Lavanya is satisfied with her experiences at Linköping University.
– Any student who is thinking about pursuing studies in Sweden should definitely apply to Linköping University, says Lavanya Mahadevan. It is very much a place that would satisfy all of an aspiring student’s goals and ambitions and I, being a proud graduate of the university, would highly recommend Linköping University as one of Sweden’s best educational institutions, one that a student can totally rely upon.