Pranav Vasanthi Bathrinarayanan
Research Fellow (EPSRC), School of Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham
What A-Levels (or equivalent) did you do?
Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Maths
Why did you chose a career in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE)?
My current area of research is tissue engineering wherein I employ biologically relevant materials to build novel models of tissue and diseases. Materials are diverse and everywhere. Engineering materials to solve specific biological problem sounded quite interesting to me and hence I choose a career in MSE.
What did you enjoy most about your MSE course?
I did not do a course on MSE but it was during my Master’s final project at the University of Nottingham that I was introduced to the field of biomaterials. It was during this time that I learnt to chemically modulate naturally available materials (such as gelatine) to suit my experimental aims. That was the starting point of everything I have done since then!
What is your research about?
My current research focuses on building microfluidic models of the vasculature (blood vessels). It involves using several polymers and natural biomaterials that will help build a miniature ‘blood-vessel-on-a-chip’. We will use these miniature models to investigate a condition called acute compartment syndrome which is an emergency orthopaedic/vasculature condition.
What is the coolest thing you have done in your career so far?
I built an in-house ‘smoking robot’ which would smoke cigarettes and e-cigarettes in a fashion mimicking the human smoking behaviour.
What do you see yourself doing in the future?
I see myself as scientist in a pharmaceutical company.
What is your favourite material (and why)?
My favourite material is a class of materials called hydrogels. Why? These are materials that are almost 90% water and yet they can act as a solid. Also, their physical and chemical properties can be fine-tuned easily to alter their mechanical properties. For example, one could chemically modify hydrogels to control their stiffness based on the time exposed to UV light.
What advice would you give your 16 year old self?
I would tell myself, “A career is science is going to be a lot of fun. But it is not just fun but a lot of hardwork, perseverance and uncertainty. Don’t give up at any time!”
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