A Holistic Sense of Life: Video Transcript

Kaushik Ghosal, PhD (PhD Zoology, Miami, 2007) [Business Development Manager at BioMotiv]: When I came to Miami, I wanted to study neuroscience, and before that I was a chemistry major, minored in math and physics. I knew nothing about biology. But then I did an internship in neuroscience, and that told me that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

I was really fortunate to have excellent mentors, Dr. Kathy Killian, Dr. Phyllis Callahan, who is the current Provost, she was my mentor, and they provided me with this broad picture. They would always ask you to think about the broad picture, how you could take this problem beyond and think about it. In terms of resources, experimental resources, what I needed to do, Miami has created an excellent infrastructure in supporting whatever you needed.

As a graduate student I took part in teaching, teaching lectures and teaching labs. That was an eye-opener for me. I really loved teaching, getting the information out in a meaningful way to the students so that their time is worth here, whatever they spend at Miami.

What the Miami experience was all about, it was all about starting to think in new ways, think outside the box in solving a problem. And that has contributed a lot to what I do now in finding newer ways to solve problems. The problems have been there; we have approached the problems of solving them for the last 20-25 years in more traditional ways. But the education at Miami, I think, allows or prepares you to take these challenges in more, give them a new look, and find out creative ways to solve them. That's a big part of Miami's education, and the Miami experience.

I think it provides great value in creating a full individual, giving a holistic sense of life around you. It's of great importance, and I think this is something that people should have at a certain point in their life.

I always have thought about how I could best utilize my knowledge, my education, and whatever I have learned to give back, and one of the effective ways that I can do that, and I can still utilize what I have learned, is to tackle these problems of high unmet need, be it in cardiovascular fields, be it in a neurological field, but try to get to these medical problems and solve them, or find better ways to solve them.

There are a number of career opportunities for students out of an undergraduate program in biology, zoology, or microbiology. The whole field of pharmaceutical sciences and graduate students have exploded with newer opportunities. An obvious choice is to become a physician or a physician assistant or follow one of these professional paths, either in veterinary or other allied physical therapy disciplines. The other non-obvious choices are getting into more of a scientific writing position, getting into a more regulatory position, because there is a big need for this regulatory oversight on drug development, on environmental protection, on anything, on food and drug administration.

The advice I have for Miami students is what I got from my postdoctoral mentor, is to follow your heart. And that's what I did, halfway through my career, is I was trying to decide what I want to do, how I could give back to the society in a more meaningful way. And then I sat down with him and he told me that you just need to follow your heart. If you think you want to make the process of making new medicine and innovation more efficient, then just do that. And I would just say that to students graduating, follow your passion, follow your heart. You will contribute, you will make the Miami experience count more towards whatever you are doing.

[October 2015]