What is your field of expertise and why did you choose it?
My field of expertise is Neuroscience. During my Master’s program I had an opportunity to work on the brain, to understand how the brain functions in stress responses. Our experiments lead to unexpected findings and the results intrigued me to learn more about the brain. I fell in love with the brain, and I chose Neuroscience as a field of study to become an expert in.
Tell us a bit about your career path.
I have an undergraduate degree in Biotechnology and a Masters in Cell and Molecular Biology. I specialized in Neuroscience as a field of research in my Masters and in my Ph.D. During my Masters I learnt several techniques, including brain sectioning, molecular biology, and several microscopy techniques. After graduation, I spent 2 years working as a research technician at a Bone Biology lab where I learned bone Histology and Electron Microscopy. I also used this time to build my skill sets for my Ph.D. application. My Ph.D research was focused on understanding how growth factors contributes to inhibitory neuro transmission. During my Ph.D., I also spent ample time to find and explore my career options and what I would love to do after post graduation. I am currently a research fellow at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, where I study drug interactions in the blood-brain barrier. I am also an active science communicator and spread the message of science via blogs, infographics, and participating in STE(A)M events/fairs.
Any advice for students interested in STEM?
Engage in STEM fairs/projects/pitch-competitions when you can. It gives you exposure to what different areas of STEM can offer you. Speak to people who are in the field to learn about their experiences. Be inquisitive and ask pertinent questions that can help guide you in your career!
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Rajamani Selvam received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience. She is currently pursuing a fellowship where she studies the blood-brain barrier. She is interested in a career in science policy or regulatory affairs. During her free time, she volunteers as a judge to science fairs for elementary and high school students and conducts hands-on activities to provide insights on brain and neuroscience. She also mentors students through "1000 Girls, 1000 Futures" program and Freedom English Academy where she provides career guidance. Away from science, she is an artist and enjoys leisure travel.