How to get PhD abroad? In conversation with Ms. Duhita Mirika (PART 7)

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

I am pursuing PhD in Dr. Truman Lab at UNC Charlotte. My lab deals with understanding the role and regulation of post-translational modifications of Hsp70 in Cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. My project deals with understanding the structural biology of the Ribonucleotide reductase complex and Hsp70 protein, determining the PTMs involved and their implications in Cancer.

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

Find A PhD, Nature careers are some websites where you can find available positions. Also, many professors advertise positions on Twitter and Linkedin, so you can connect there.

For pursuing PhD in the US, even if you connect with the professor, you need to apply for the Graduate PhD program as every university has a Fall (August-December) and spring (January - may) intake for Graduate applications. So it's always helpful to plan and shortlist universities six months before applying.

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

I connected with my professor on LinkedIn as he had posted an advertisement for PhD position. I shared my CV with him. Then I applied for the Graduate program of the university for fall intakes.

4. A thing we often hear while applying for PhD abroad is 'SOP.' So, what best practice can one apply to build the SOP?

Go through the professor's work and what you like about the work. Universities have word limits or page limits for the SOPs, so be very specific and crisp about your writing. Your SOP should greatly reflect your research interest and why you want to specialize in a particular subject.

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

No, it's not mandatory, but if you have a publication, it indeed strengthens your profile.

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

Again, prior experience is not mandatory, but it strengthens your SOP. You are well aware of the lab setup and techniques. Most of the professors prefer students with previous research experience. Even if you don't have a publication, a work experience of 1-2 years will always help you to get selected.

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

Six months to a year

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

You may experience a cultural shock on moving to a new country.

But in the US, since there are many Indian communities, adjusting is not difficult. Universities have recreational facilities (sports, clubs, etc.), so you can engage in those. People here are very inclusive and helpful. For food, there are many Indian stores and Indian restaurants, so you get everything here. Also, you get a decent fellowship to manage your expenses well.

Hi, I am Duhita Mirika. I pursued M.Sc in Biotechnology from Savitribai Phule Pune University. Later, I joined ACTREC as a Junior research fellow and gained experience for two years. Presently I am pursuing PhD in Biological Sciences in Truman Lab at the University of North Carolina.

I will be happy to answer any further questions.


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