How to get PhD Abroad? In Conversation with Ms. Shalini Roy Chowdhury

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

As we all know mitochondria have their own genetic material but surprisingly the majority of the proteins that it requires are encoded by the nucleus. Once they are synthesized on the cytosolic ribosomes, they have to be transported to various compartments of the mitochondria. Most of the proteins that are translocated into the mitochondria contain a cleavable targeting signal named as the presequence. Presequence containing proteins are translocated by the TOM complex in the outer membrane and the TIM23 complex in the inner membrane. The primary receptor of the TIM23 complex is Tim50. Tim50 has two C terminal domains, the core and the presequence binding domain. I am working on finding out which domain of Tim50 in the IMS interacts with the TOM proteins in order to understand the TOM-TIM23 cooperation during protein translocation.

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.

Science careers, Jobvector, Twitter, etc.

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

I am a part of the ‘Life Science Munich’ program of Ludwig Maximilian University, Germany. I came across this program via Jobvector.

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?

I personally believe that an SOP gets better only with practice. Also, it is always a great thing to get it proofread by your professors and senior colleagues and to take their suggestions.

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

No. I would say that it is good to have one but it is not necessary. Although I have to admit that this criterion is subjective to which country/institute you are applying.

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

Yes. Having research experience always increases your chances of getting shortlisted. It is not a deal breaker obviously but having prior experience puts you in a better situation to explain your contributions to the work you have been doing thus strengthening your research expertise.

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

It takes almost a year.

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

Be ready to be rejected. A lot of rejections come your way when you apply and that’s okay. Be consistent in your efforts and keep applying if it is really what you want to do. It is easy said than done, but don’t lose hope. Also, be prepared to deal with things alone, because finding yourself alone in a foreign country is not easy sometimes. But trust me, it gets better 😊

Hi! My name is Shalini Roy Chowdhury. I have a Master’s degree from St. Xavier’s (Autonomous) College, Mumbai. After pursuing my master’s, I worked at the Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer, Navi Mumbai as a Junior Research Fellow. I am currently pursuing my PhD in cell biology at the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich.