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Soumajit Dutta, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Graduate Student in Shukla Group.

Where are you from? What was your undergraduate degree and from which university?

I am from Bankura (West Bengal, India), a small town near Kolkata, India. I received my bachelor’s and master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. 

Why did you choose the University of Illinois and the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department?

The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at University of Illinois is one of the popular and top ranked graduate programs. The high quality research performed by the faculty members and broad range of topics allowed me to choose the research group which would be best-suited for me.

Tell us about your research interests. What lab do you work in and what is your role in the lab?

Currently I am working with Prof. Diwakar Shukla on molecular dynamics simulation of Cannabinoid receptors to get insights into the dynamic behavior of these proteins. Cannabinoid receptors are involved in regulation of pain, inflammation, obesity and many other disorders in human body. It can be one of the promising targets of pharmaceutical drugs but we still the lack the understanding about dynamic nature of interactions involved in selective binding of ligands to these receptors. The goal of this research is to comprehend interaction and conformational changes of Cannabinoid receptors with ligand binding for the design of selective and potent drugs.

What are your plans after you receive your Ph.D.?

I want to pursue a career in academia. Therefore, after completing my Ph.D. I want pursue postdoctoral degree and apply for a faculty position. 

What do you do outside of the lab?

I am a big Football (Soccer) fan and watch matches of my favorite club FC Barcelona. I am also passionate about running and try to head to the gym regularly.