PhD Student Hypnotised by the Wonders of Nanodots and The Street Dogs of Mumbai

Unveiling the Unseen: My Odyssey in Sensor Development

Tathagata Pal

AMSPARE, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-Bombay)

Hello, dear readers! Join me on a journey through the captivating world of sensor development, where science meets art and the invisible is unveiled. I’m Tathagata Pal, and I’m currently on the cusp of completing my PhD in BioChemical Sensor development at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay under the esteemed supervision of Prof. Soumyo Mukherji. My academic background spans various fields, including an MTech in Nanotechnology, an MSc in Biophysics, and a BSc in Physics (Hons). These diverse disciplines converge in my unwavering passion for crafting sensors that shed light on the hidden facets of the world around us.

One of the milestones of my academic journey has been my MTech thesis, an exploration into the realm of biocompatible carbon quantum dots. These minuscule wonders became the key to unlocking the mysteries of the microscopic universe. With their aid, I could illuminate the intricate details of bacteria, cancer cells, and even zebrafish. These nanodots are a testament to the power of innovation and the limitless possibilities within the field of sensor development as well.

During my MSc studies, I ventured into the realms of microbiology and virology, gaining hands-on experience in assay development with biomolecules. These experiences honed my skills and deepened my understanding of the intricate world of life sciences.

My overarching goal as a researcher is to make sensor technology accessible to all. I envision a world where sensors are not just tools for scientists but instruments that can be harnessed by people from all walks of life. My journey is guided by the synthesis of nanoparticles, interface chemistry, and bio-conjugate chemistry, culminating in the development of sensors that are not only innovative but also user-friendly. These sensors are a bridge between scientific discovery and everyday life, a gateway to understanding the invisible factors that shape our world.

Collaboration is the cornerstone of my research. I find immense joy in working with individuals from diverse backgrounds. The synergy of different expertise and perspectives is often the crucible where impactful discoveries are forged. Together, we can bridge gaps, solve complex problems, and create meaningful innovations.

Beyond the realm of academia, I live a life of quiet curiosity. My solitude is my sanctuary, where I seek answers to the myriad questions that fuel my inquisitive spirit. I cherish the simple pleasures of jogging and trail running, where I’m in sync with nature’s rhythm. I’ve also found unique companionship in the street dogs I’ve befriended and petted during my solitary journeys.

Let’s embark on a quest of discovery together as we explore the invisible, unravel the mysteries, and celebrate the beauty of collaboration. Science is a shared adventure, and I invite you to join me in this exciting journey of unveiling the unseen.

X (Twitter):



A chocolate loving engineer pushing the frontier in bacterial AMR reversal

Dr. Erin Corbett

AMSPARE, University of the West of Scotland

Hi everyone! I’m Erin, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of the West of Scotland working on the AMSPARE project. AMSPARE is investigating the relationships between anthropogenic contamination, microbial ecosystems, and environmental AMR, in order to try and understand how different factors drive the spread of antibiotic resistance. My work includes chemical analysis like ion chromatography and ICP-OES/MS, as well as microbiology including isolating amoebae and carrying out antibiotic susceptibility tests.

I completed my undergraduate degree in Biotechnology and my MSc in Synthetic Biology & Biotechnology at the University of Edinburgh. My MSc dissertation was a team-based project as part of the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition, investigating the use of bacteriophages to re-sensitise antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

During my PhD in Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, I researched the chemistry and microbiology of urban stormwater and its treatment in rain gardens, a type of sustainable urban drainage system. I needed to collect a lot of water samples in the rain, so Glasgow was the perfect place!

Outside of the lab, I enjoy cryptic crosswords, video games, quiz shows, and chocolate in all its forms!


An example of the Highland symbiosis between whisky drinker and animal whisperer

Dr Ronnie Mooney

AMSPARE, University of West Scotland

Hi, I’m Ronnie, a postdoctoral research fellow from Scotland specialising in microbiology, parasitology and molecular biology. I am currently working at the University of the West of Scotland on the AMSPARE project, monitoring the extent of antimicrobial resistance in India and Scotland.

I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Zoology with a strong emphasis on parasitology in my final year. I was then awarded a Carnegie PhD Scholarship to identify novel drug therapies and understand the development of resistance mechanisms within the opportunistic pathogen Acanthamoeba.

My research interests now bridge biomedical and environmental sciences, investigating the complex interactions between amphizoic amoebae (capable of both parasitic or free-living existence) and the bacterial endosymbionts they possess. Much of my research looks to address the role of these interactions in facilitating the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and how this relationship can influence pathogenicity and detectability.

When I do pull myself away from the lab, I enjoy hiking, playing and watching sports, travelling, and of course being Scottish I’m not averse to a whisky or two!

A Poetic Microbiologist, Creating Biology Content Online

My MIC-ROmantic love story with Microbes –

by T. N. Kumaresan (TNK)

Dear all, I am T. N. Kumaresan, a Microbiologist from AMRWATCH Project. To give a brief introduction on my career side, I am currently working as a Junior Research Fellow (JRF) at the Department of Microbiology, Pondicherry University.


The main role of my duties in the project is to collect samples, develop research methodologies for screening Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and evaluating AMR emergence in the environment by culture-based and metagenomic approaches. Apart from these laboratory works; I am a YouTuber, but I prefer mentioning myself as a Science Communicator. I own a YouTube channel called “ThiNK BIOLOGY ThiNK VISION” with more than 1 million Viewers and 25,000+ Subscribers as far now. I deliver complicated biological topics in an engaging and entertaining way so that students get benefited and develop an interest in biology. The main motto of the channel is to ignite the love for science in young minds.


My love for microbiology started in childhood. When a ray of light fell on my eyes crossing the diaphragm, condenser, and lenses. Yeah! you got it right; it was the first time when I held a microscope and delve into the microscopic world. Till that time, I thought only babies are the little cutest creatures. But after that, I was so curious to know many more little and much cuter creatures called micro-organisms. I feel more romantic toward these cute little microbes than anyone else. We inoculate them in a new environment, we feed them with nutrients, we incubate them with appropriate pH, Temperature and with lots of love and care. After all this, they say Hi by popping out as a colony on the medium. Though we outpour this much love, the person who we love the most will be the person who hurt us the most! The same happens here also, some microbes develop resistance against antibiotics and cause some deadly infections and emerge as a global threat. But it is ok, no relationship is perfect! Everything is fair in Love and War, to that phrase, we can add Microbes too.


So as the moral of the story is, not only scientists and researchers can battle this infinity war against superbugs. It is the responsibility of every human to use antimicrobials and antibiotics with caution.


Finally, I like to thank every member of this astonishing AMRWATCH team. I am so grateful to Prof. Joseph Selvin, who gave me a wonderful opportunity to explore this research world. I am so contented to meet great scientists like Prof. Nick Voulvoulis and Prof. Shiranee Sriskandan. The time, I spent with lovable UK teammates Dr. Anna Freeman, Dr. Theodoros Giakoumis, and Dr. Ana Vieira will always hold a special place in my memories. And last but not least, I like to express my sincere thanks to my colleagues, my friends, my mentors Prof. Latha Ragunathan, Dr. Prathivi Raj, Mr. Vishnu Prasad, Mr. Vishnu Chandran, Mr. Gokul Patharaj, Ms. Seethalakshmi, Ms. Anushara Prabhakaran, Ms. Anisha. I have acquired a lot of knowledge from them and they have been a great support in my journey throughout this project.


Besides being a microbiologist, I am a writer, photographer, content creator, video editor, and a cinephile. I like to conclude this blog with one of my poems.

Who needs a “LOVE LIFE” when you have a “LAB LIFE…

In a world full of Corruption and Pollution, I am here in the Lab free from Contamination

Love makes us each other’s slave; Better I shall prepare germ-free media in an autoclave

Love hunts everyone like a predator, I shall stay safe inside an incubator

People use to say love is magical, promptly it is nothing much reactions of chemicals

Like a King wearing his Cape, I wear my Lab coat

The mighty lab coat hugging me, mask kissing my lips

Micropipettes holding my hands, Feeling high with the fragrance of ethanol

My love does not belong to any cultures, rather I create my own cultures

With a pure sterile heart, Making more and more love toward microbes

Who needs a “LOVE LIFE” when you have a “LAB LIFE”!

                                                                                                         A Life by T. N. K

Thank you so much for your time and patience. you can also catch me on:

  • Instagram: thinkbiology_think_vision –

An Environmental Engineer Who is Passionate About Improving Water Quality

Thara M V

Ph.D. Scholar, IIT Madras (AMRflows)

Hi, I’m Thara, an Environmental Engineer with a keen interest on assessing prevalence of antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance in the water environments of Chennai. I’m currently pursuing my Ph.D. in the Environmental and Water Resources Division at IIT Madras, India, under the guidance of Professor Indumathi M Nambi. I have been a part of AMRflows Indo-UK project since July 2022.

In my research, I’ve been focused on developing sampling methodologies, characterization techniques, and analytical protocols for antibiotics in water, wastewater, and sediment matrices. I’ve also conducted field sampling trips to Adyar river and other water bodies in Chennai to gather data.

One of my primary research interests is creating mesocosms to better understand the degradation of antibiotics and triggers for antimicrobial resistance, which poses an additional risk to human and animal health. I’m passionate about finding ways to improve water quality and reduce the potential negative impacts of antibiotics on the environment.

I completed my bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kerala, India. In 2018, I cracked the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) for Civil Engineering, which helped me to get into my Masters of Technology in Environmental Engineering program at the College of Engineering Thiruvananthapuram, affiliated with APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, Kerala, India.

For my Master’s thesis, I conducted a study on “Antibiotic Resistance among Bacteria in Selected Water Sources of Trivandrum City,” which was funded by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board. The study aimed to determine the prevalence of antibiotic resistance in selected water sources and compare the removal efficiency of various wastewater treatment technologies in different wastewater treatment plants.

Microbiologist who is cooking up a storm on the frontline & behind the scenes!

Seethalakshmi (vimisha)

Microbiologist (AMRWATCH), Pondicherry University, India

Hi there! I’m Seetha, a detective of the microbial world, always seeking out new frontiers in this exciting and rapidly-evolving field. The start of my fascination with the “microverse” can be traced back to my high school days, where I first demonstrated the potential of bacteria as a green energy source for a science fair project. Since then, I have been captivated by the intricate world of microorganisms. My work as a microbiologist is incredibly varied, and I’m always learning something new. I might spend one day in the lab, analyzing samples and running experiments, and the next day out in the field, collecting samples from different environments. Some days, I will be sitting at my computer, looking like a mad scientist, surrounded by endless streams of code and data. Despite the challenges, though, I love it when those diagrams finally start to take shape! As a microbiologist, I’ve seen some pretty strange things in the lab. From bacteria that glow in the dark, to microorganisms that thrive in a bacteriological media with 5M NaCl! When I’m not working in the lab, you might find me exploring the great outdoors, or trying out the latest restaurant and sometimes creating new culinary masterpieces (or disasters!).

One of the things I love most about being a microbiologist is the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives and I am glad to be part of such projects in my career. One such experience was working on a government funded project during my undergraduate program which involved the chemical and microbiological analysis of ground-water sources throughout India. The findings from the study were like a wake-up call to the community, highlighting the risks of contamination and the urgent need for action. We collaborated with local authorities, environmental organizations, and other stakeholders to implement these measures, ensuring that our findings translated into meaningful action. It’s funny how life has a way of throwing scientific projects my way that always seem to involve real-life problems, only this time I get to make a thesis out of it. During my master’s project at Pondicherry University, my supervisor presented me with a unique challenge. He asked me to collect samples from a shrimp hatchery that had experienced a devastating mass mortality of the larvae they were rearing. The hatchery had been shut down, and it was my job to investigate what had happened and see if there was a way to prevent it from happening again in the future. As I collected samples and conducted analyses, I realized that the issue was caused by a combination of environmental factors and microbial infections. I further delved into the problem and identified that two multi-drug resistant Vibrio isolates of hemolytic phenotype was the etiological agent and tried to develop nanoparticles that could kill them without harming the larvae. Unfortunately, my research work was cut short due to the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic. I was initially disheartened that I could not finish my previous work. However, life had a way of bringing me back to my university. In fact, it led me to my next big gig- AMRWATCH.

Working on an international project was like being in a global laboratory where the experiments were conducted across borders and it was such a humbling experience for me to realize that I am part of a global effort to improve health and wellbeing of the public. It was exciting to see how our shared passion for science united us despite our diverse backgrounds. Friday progress meetings with my colleagues were instrumental in helping me navigate the challenges of my research. It was during these meetings that we would discuss our ongoing projects, troubleshoot any issues, and provide constructive feedback to each other. These meetings provided me with valuable insights and perspectives, and helped me refine my research approach.

While wet and dry lab work were certainly important components of the project, I was also thrilled to have the opportunity to engage in social work as part of the project. Through our social work activities, I had the chance to interact with people from different walks of life and learn about their experiences and needs in healthcare. Whether it was engaging with local community groups, attending public meetings, or participating in outreach events, I felt privileged to have the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives outside of the lab. This aspect of the project allowed me to see firsthand the impact of our work on the community, and to understand the importance of engaging with stakeholders beyond the lab.

A walk down memory lane: a collage of some of my favorite moments from my past work with AMRWATCH

Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.” – Albert Szent-Györgyi

This quote by Albert Szent-Györgyi perfectly captures what research means to me. As an aspiring PhD candidate, my goal is not only to understand what is already known in my field but to take it a step further by thinking outside the box and exploring new ideas. With dedication and hard work, I aspire to make my own contribution to the scientific community by discovering something that nobody else has thought of before. And when I am not in the lab, I’ll be busy trying to convince people that not all microbes are scary!

Amishi Panwar (Anthropologist & Sociologist With a Love For Fashion)

Dr Amishi Panwar

Senior Research Associate, University of Bristol, UK

I will start with apprising the reader of my background. Though from the Hindi speaking north, I was born in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu and spent the initial nineteen years of my life there by virtue of a parent’s profession with the Government of India. After high school, I decided to study Sociology at the University of Madras, driven by a curiosity to understand society, culture, and community as concepts. I subsequently completed a Masters (2012) and an MPhil (2013) in Sociology at the University of Delhi. In 2020, I was awarded a PhD in Anthropology and Sociology of Development from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID), Geneva. The academic environment in my doctoral programme further nuanced my understanding of critical medical anthropology, science and technology studies.

My doctoral specialisation is in medical anthropology and my dissertation, ‘Banking on cord Blood: Decoding amulets and canisters in south India’ focuses on the ethnography of public and private stem cell banks in India and presents the many meanings of ‘banking on’ cord blood in south India. In India, the cord blood units stored in public and private banks are deeply mired in conflicting scientific opinions about their usage, with guidelines (not laws) governing their circulation and rigorous marketing strategies, which span a billion-dollar industry.

On the teaching front, I have held an appointment as Guest Faculty at the postgraduate department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics (University of Delhi; 2020-22). In this role, I tutored graduate students for­ the modules Sociology of Development, Gender & Society, Population & Society, Sociological Theories: Some Conceptual Issues, Economic Sociology, Political Sociology, and Social Stratification. Beside these, I co-taught Academic Reading and Writing, Research Methods in Sociology, and Medical Sociology.

Presently, I am Senior Research Associate at the department of Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School. In this capacity, I am part of the ResPharm team that is exploring the rise of antimicrobial resistance due to pharmaceutical waste in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh (India). By tracing the prescription as a document of access to antibiotic medication (direct exposure), the social science component of the project aims to delineate the use/misuse/overuse of antibiotics while considering individual relief, medical governance, pharmaceutical industrial production, and public health. Furthermore, by tracing pharmaceutical waste and effluent water (indirect exposure), we further aim to establish crucial linkages between the human, environment, waste, animal, and microbial ‘healthscapes’ in Baddi.

Apart from research and teaching, I enjoy travelling, like dancing, and have a love for fashion and cats!


Anna Freeman (Programmer & Photographer)

Dr. Anna Freeman – Research Associate, Imperial College London (AMRWATCH)

Hello! I’m Anna – an Environmental Scientist with a broad interest in ecosystem health, water resources, and climate risk. As a Research Associate at Imperial College London, I am assessing the hazard and risk of antibiotic manufacturing waste as part of the AMRWATCH project (

For the past year I’ve been busy looking into the extent of environmental pollution, waste pathways, toxicity of antibiotic residues, their role in the emergence of antimicrobial resistance, and the effects on human & animal health. My research helps develop globally applicable tools for detecting antibiotics and resistant bacteria in industrial effluents and the surrounding environment. (

Fig. 1. Researching hazard & risks (AMRWATCH)

You can find me in London writing scientific reports, policy briefs, organising meetings engaging with stakeholders, designing models, and analysing data. Aside from AMRWATCH, I assess global vulnerability to droughts and natural resource-driven fragility for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (

One of my favourite projects was at the University of Reading’s School of Meteorology, where I estimated multi-sectoral indicators of climate risk for the UK. ( ). I enjoy programming, so give me a shout if you need help with Python or R.

In 2019 I completed a PhD at the University of Reading & Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, UK. My study focused on plankton dynamics of the River Thames, modelling risks of eutrophication due to changes in the river’s physical environment. Photographing plankton has now become one of my favourite hobbies. Prior to this, I investigated river hydrology, catchment-scale nutrient load, eutrophication, lake morphometry, and water chemistry.

Outside of work, I spend as much time as possible outside, running, hiking, gardening, travelling, and photographing. I also love poetry and theatre.

Find me on Twitter: @Anya_Freeman,,

Photos below: cactus, water fleas under microscope, and white water rafting during a research conference in New Zealand.

Arpita Bhatt (Ph.D student majoring in Zoology)

Hi, I am Arpita Bhatt, a major in Zoology, enrolled as a Ph.D. scholar in the Department of Medical Microbiology, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Neelam Taneja.

First time during graduation, I was introduced to the world of laboratory research when I was selected to work on a project as part of my Developmental Biology course, where I worked with an animal model (zebrafish). The aim was to study the impact of a drug on different developmental stages of zebrafish. I was fascinated by the transparency of the organism and its use in toxicology. The form changes in such a short time span! I started finding answers and learned that everything is beautifully interwoven at the gene level.

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Cansu Uluşeker (Mathematical Modeller)

Cansu Uluşeker is a Mathematical Modeller with over 3 years of experience after her PhD in academia. Cansu is currently enrolled on the research group of Jan Kreft at the University of Birmingham as a Research Associate to model AMR dynamics in rivers in India within the AMRflows UK-India project. She will develop a mathematical model to understand Antimicrobial Resistance dynamics in the river polluted environment and to predict antibiotic concentration in the rivers in India. This work will be conducted in collaboration with IIT Madras. Cansu will also support IIT Madras colleagues with the river engineering, and sediment transport in Musi and Adyar rivers.

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Keeping in Touch Mondays

Keeping in Touch Mondays

We run weekly drop-in sessions for our India and UK partners. We offer each other valuable support during these difficult times. We discuss common issues and offer useful solutions on topics such as sample collection, processing and transport. We exchange useful tips on techniques and monitor our skills development needs. These drop-in sessions help us to foster our collaborative spirits.

Kathleen Wright