Interviews with Scientists: Dr. Chinmaya Sadangi
We’ve followed Dr. Chinmaya Sadangi on Twitter (@addictivebrain) for a while now, and it was our pleasure to interview him for our Interviews with Scientists series!
Dr. Sadangi is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto. He recently completed his PhD from Philipps University, Marburg, Germany. His PhD research focused on investigating the role of Toll-like receptors in epilepsy.
Currently, his research focus is on understanding the excitation-inhibition balance in neurodevelopmental disorders. He is also a part of the eLIFE ambassador program. Outside of research, his interests are photography, traveling, and science communication.
Hello Chinmaya! Great to speak to you. Firstly what’s your PhD in?
I completed my PhD from Philipps University, Marburg, Germany. During my PhD, I worked on the role of toll-like receptors (TLRs) in epilepsy. The hypothesis behind this project was, whether TLRs have a therapeutic potential in preventing or stopping seizures.
Did you always want to be a scientist when you were younger, and why?
I always wanted to become a scientist, but my initial interest was in cancer genetics. I became interested in neuroscience while doing my masters at Uppsala University. I would like to thank the professors there, particularly Dan Larhammar and Klass Kullander.
What advice would you give to someone just starting their PhD?
A PhD is all about learning. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to your colleagues, friends, family or your PI. Networking is as important as doing science. So go ahead and attend conferences and workshops. They are the best place to network. Going to the departmental seminars is also very helpful.
What did you enjoy most about your PhD?
I enjoyed my freedom during my PhD. I could pursue my project at my own pace, start new projects, and collaborate with other scientists. I was also able to attend conferences at both national and international levels, which helped me network with other scientists in the field and deepen my knowledge.
Tell us a bit more about what you’re working on at the moment...
Currently, I am working to understand the role of ion channels and the excitation-inhibition balance in autism.
What does a typical day in the lab look like for you?
I just started my first postdoc position at the University of Toronto. I reach work by 9.30am and plan for the day, followed by looking at my neuronal cultures. I am also learning in-vitro and in-vivo ephys recording, so I read related materials and play around the rig. If I am not at one of these two places, then I am at the molecular biology section of the lab.
If you weren’t a scientist, what do you think you’d be doing?
My alternate goal was to become a pilot and travel the world.
Outside the lab, what do you enjoy doing?
I love photography and travel. I love traveling and exploring new places, experiencing the cultures, taking pictures, and making memories.
Which scientists working today do you most admire, and why?
I admire Ed Boyden and Karl Deisseroth for their discovery of Optogenetics.
What’s your favourite science joke OR science quote?
“My hope is that understanding the brain and the mind will ultimately allow humanity to enter a more enlightened state.” -- Ed Boyden
What do you think is the greatest scientific discovery of all time?
Optogenetics. It allows us to control the electrical activity of an excitable cell and uses Opsins, which are light sensitive proteins. This has led to understanding of how different cell types contribute to biological functions and understand the neural circuits in vivo. On the clinical side, it has gained more applications and it is being used for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
Thank you so much for your taking the time to speak with us Chinmaya, and good luck with your research from all of us at Hello Bio!