Sanaya Patell

Year group: 2008

Degree: PhD, Biochemistry

College: Pembroke

Home country: India

Current position: PhD student at the Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge

Sanaya chose to come to the University of Cambridge in 2007, where she carried out research internships with the Department of Genetics and Biochemistry, independently.  She found herself to be a natural fit in Cambridge and decided to pursue a PhD in 2008 with Dr Martin Welch at the Department of Biochemistry, made possible by a scholarship from the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust and the Bristol Myers-Squibb Scholarship for Biosciences (Pembroke College).

During her time in Cambridge, Sanaya represented the needs of postgraduates as a Postgraduate Student Committee member for the Department of Biochemistry for three consecutive years. Recognizing the importance of communication in science, she supervised research projects for Part II and Part III students, as well as volunteering for science outreach programs for schools.  Sanaya was a recipient of a number of awards that enabled her to present her work at several scientific conferences and attend industry-related workshops.

With a number of diverse past research experiences, Sanaya found Cambridge’s attitude to embracing variety refreshing.  She completed her bachelors in microbiology in Bangalore, India, and went on to a research assistantship with the Boston University Marine Program, Woods Hole.  During her time in Woods Hole, she worked on sharks, combining the disciplines of sensory biology and electrical engineering.  She then went on to do a Masters degree in plant genetics at Boston University.

Sanaya believes that the range of skills she acquired from her past research experiences and more importantly, throughout her PhD, has made her an ideal candidate for the life sciences industry.  She plans on applying her love for science and people skills in the commercialization of fundamental research.  Sanaya has always maintained that though having lived and studied in various countries (India, France, USA, UK), she would eventually return to India in order to strengthen the biomedical research base.

Sanaya says of her time in Cambridge, “Cambridge has been everything one could hope for. It has the right mix of people who are bright, fun, down to earth, diverse and politically conscious.  The Trust, my College and Department have been supportive at every juncture, and I have had some of my best years so far in Cambridge.  Where else can you find this level of accessibility to cutting edge research, brilliant minds, scientific history around every corner, interdisciplinary courses, art, theatre, sports, college life and, most importantly, some of the kindest people.  Once a part of Cambridge, always a part of Cambridge.”

In her spare time, Sanaya enjoys travelling, learning about new cultures and her own Zoroastrian heritage, cooking and photography.