How to get PhD abroad? In conversation with Ms. Neha Gupta (PART 5)

1. In brief tell us about your PhD/Research work.

I'm working on Bardet–Biedl syndrome (BBS), a rare inherited disorder also known as a ciliopathy. I am focusing primarily on the chaperonin-like BBS10 proteins and aiming to provide some clues to understanding the disease pathomechanisms and dissecting the role of BBS10 (chaperonin-like protein) in the multiple signalling pathways.

2. If someone is looking for PhD opportunities abroad then what are the ways (websites/social media platforms etc.) by which one can come across such advertisements.

There are some relevant websites from which one can apply for the PhD position. (Natures jobs, Find a PhD). Including social platforms and connections with the people pursuing PhD/ Postdoc outside India.

3. How did you come across the PhD program you are/were enrolled in?

I learned about this PhD program from the postdoc fellow in my previous lab.

4. One thing that we hear a lot while applying for PhD abroad is 'SOP'. So, what can be the best practice one can apply to build the SOP?

Go through the professor profile you are applying for, read a couple of papers from the lab and try to come up with your idea to take their research further. Be original in your thoughts; whatever you write is based on your existing knowledge. Don't copy or paste the SOP or ask your seniors or experts to write it for you. You may discuss the idea with your seniors, but you should write it in your words.

5. Is research paper essential to get enrolled in a PhD program?

Yes, mainly, universities consider the applications with research papers. The research paper is not mandatory but reflects the applicant's efficiency, expertise, and experience.

6. Similar to research papers, is prior lab experience/internship as project fellows or trainees essential/helpful to get a PhD position abroad?

As I aforementioned, this is a bonus to have research experience/internship after a master's degree or if the applicant doesn't have good exposure to research culture/techniques during the post-graduation degree. The probability of getting selected with experience is higher than the fresher.

7. How much time should one expect while applying for these PhD program from the date of application to enrollment?

The applicant needs at least six months from application to enrollment in the PhD program.

8. What are the challenges one should expect while doing PhD abroad?

There are a lot of challenges while doing PhD abroad, from personal to professional front. Staying away from family is challenging later language is a significant challenge in the non-native English-speaking countries. Rest dependent on the lab and Professor you are working with.

Myself, Neha Gupta. I completed my schooling from my home town in U.P. After class 12; I took admission in BSc. (Biotechnology) at Sardar Bhagwan Singh postgraduate institute, Dehradun. During my bachelor's, I developed a keen interest in Immunology and wanted to pursue my master's from a well-reputed university. I cleared the entrance exam of Banasthali University and took admission in MSc. Biotechnology with Immunology as a major subject. After completing my master's, I was ready to delve deeper into science; I cleared my exams, but getting a PhD at a good institute was tough, so I decided to work in a company or research institute to get more hands-on experience. Fortunately, I got a position as a Scientific assistant at ACTREC; I worked on the globally recognized International Genome Consortium (ICGC) project and learned a lot of new techniques. I got two publications from ACTREC, which helped me get multiple PhD opportunities abroad. Finally, I joined a translational research laboratory in BioGem affiliated with the University of Campania, Naples, Italy, and my project is based on the Bardet-Biedl Syndrome (BBS).

Neha Gupta

(Doctoral fellow in BioGeM)