Incoming: Asawari and Radhakrishnan, from India to Bordeaux
Asawari and Radhakrishnan are an Indian couple, pursuing their research in Bordeaux. On November 1st, Asawari started a joint-PhD at the Integration: from Material to Systems laboratory and the University of French Guiana. Her husband, Radhakrishnan, worked at the Interdisciplinary Institute for Neuroscience between the summer of 2017 and spring 2020, on biophysics research projects concerning super-resolution microscopy. Looking back on the last three years in Bordeaux.
After completing her Bachelor and Master in electronics with honors at the Savitribai Phule Pune University (India), Asawari Choudhari moved to Singapore in the hopes of pursuing her interest in communication systems design, radio astronomy signal processing instrumentation and synthetic aperture radar electronics.
Radhakrishnan Adiyodi Veettil, after following a doctoral degree in soft condensed matter physics from the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore, pursued his postdoctoral research for three years at the National University of Singapore’s Mechanobiology Institute.
In the summer of 2017, Radhakrishnan arrived in Bordeaux to integrate the Spatio-temporal and mechanical control of motile structures team at the Interdisciplinary Institute for Neuroscience (IINS - CNRS, University of Bordeaux). After working on pedagogical and programming based projects at the National University of Singapore, Asawari joined her husband in Bordeaux in July 2017, and from the start, was on the lookout for radio frequency related opportunities with the ambition of enrolling in a doctoral program. Following a laboratory visit organized by the Welcome Center for International Researchers at the Integration: from Material to Systems laboratory (IMS - CNRS, University of Bordeaux, Bordeaux INP) in February 2020, Asawari is about to start her PhD on the detection of toxic chemical components using advanced sensors.
How was your welcome and integration in Bordeaux?
Radhakrishnan: As my research project often required working long hours, my initial days in Bordeaux were difficult. The Welcome Center for International Researchers was a real life saver for many important formalities, such as visa applications, banking, and even accommodation. Settling in was so much easier with their assistance!
Asawari: The Welcome Center’s socio-cultural events, in particular their laboratory visits, have been very helpful in getting to know about the institutes and opportunities here in Bordeaux.
What have you accomplished in Bordeaux since your arrival?
Radhakrishnan: My research project at the IINS focused on mechanobiology, a fast growing interdisciplinary field dedicated to the effects of mechanical forces on living systems. Similarly to the quote "We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us", controlling cell geometry and adhesion can have a tremendous impact on intracellular arrangements affecting cellular functions. This is crucial in both fundamental science and the biomedical field. Cell adhesion must be carefully observed on the single-molecule level in order to unravel many mysteries.
Building on my expertise in photoactivated single protein tracking light microscopy, my project involved establishing a DNA-based super resolution optical technology (enabling the visualization of details beyond the diffraction barrier of light) in Bordeaux, in strong collaboration with its twin city Munich. I am happy to have played a critical role not only in establishing this facility, but also in its integration with several other techniques and modules for conducting advanced experiments on cell adhesion. These studies are leading to remarkable results in the field.
Asawari: Since my arrival in Bordeaux, I have been working on my French language skills and have completed an A2 level French as a Foreign Language course at Bordeaux Montaigne University, which has helped me to get to know and understand the local life and culture. I’ve also finally managed to find a doctoral program in my research field of interest!
What are your next objectives here in Bordeaux?
Radhakrishnan: My experience as a research scientist in Bordeaux has been particularly enriching and I believe that it will help me to move to the next level of my career, even though I am currently experiencing slight delays due to the ongoing pandemic.
Asawari: I’m very excited to be involved in providing innovative solutions which will have an immediate impact on human life. My multidisciplinary research project at the IMS focuses on the detection of toxic biochemical components using advanced sensors, by making use of radio frequency engineering and inputs from biology and chemistry. The successful completion of this project will add to the efficient detection and monitoring of pollutants and will be potentially useful in many important applications including in prevention measures for industrial emergencies.
What are your impressions of the university, the city?
Radhakrishnan: The University of Bordeaux and its joint research units have high aspirations and a strong work ethic. I am sure that Bordeaux will continue to progress as a leading destination for researchers.
Asawari: The city of Bordeaux is a wonderful place to live, with good infrastructure. In addition, regarding health services, the doctors at Bordeaux University Hospital are very caring professionals and the city is quite a baby friendly place! An important detail for us as we welcomed our first child here in Bordeaux in November 2018.
Welcome Center for International Researchers
The Welcome Center for International Researchers (WCIR) is a dedicated service that supports international researchers and their families with essential procedures upon their arrival in Bordeaux and throughout their stay. Member of the European EURAXESS network, the WCIR provides assistance with the immigration and integration processes, carrying out administrative tasks and completing general paperwork that is required for daily life in France.
For more information on the Welcome Center for International Researchers, please consult this webpage.