Turning dreams into reality

PhDs of India
3 min readJun 7, 2024


“Raised in a family of doctors, I had always been inspired by my father’s unwavering dedication to his patients. His commitment to making a difference in people’s lives through his profession motivated me to follow a similar path. I aspired to work in an area that had a direct, translational impact on society. Siddhartha Mukherjee’s “Emperor of All Maladies” sparked a profound interest in cancer biology within me. I was captivated by the remarkable intelligence of this disease and felt a calling to explore it further.

To my immense joy, I got selected to BHU, my father’s dream college, despite not having a fellowship. My PhD journey began during the pandemic, and the initial phase of my studies was conducted online. When the world started to open up and I finally stepped onto the revered campus, the excitement was swiftly dampened. Whispers and pointed remarks followed me, with people insinuating that I didn’t deserve my place without a fellowship. The humiliation was sharp and relentless, leading me to a difficult decision: I chose to quit and return home.

My parents were more hurt than I was by the treatment I had faced. Seeing their disappointment, I channeled my frustration into determination. I burnt the midnight oil, studying tirelessly. 4 months later, my efforts bore fruit; I secured a PhD fellowship.

Not long later, I had the opportunity to interact with numerous esteemed faculty members from top Indian research institutions when I qualified for several PhD interviews which not only boosted my confidence but also gave clarity and direction to my passion for oncology.

I found the perfect place and mentor to nurture my burgeoning passion at PGIMER Chandigarh.

My PhD now focuses on unraveling the mechanisms that render bladder cancer resistant to anti-cancer drugs. The start of this journey was not easy; I was the first student under my supervisor, and we built our laboratory from scratch. I vividly remember carrying tiles up to the sixth floor for the construction of our laboratory. Despite having easy access to patient samples, my supervisor, the only basic scientist in our department, and I, often had to, and still have to, tirelessly work, alongside the medical doctors, to make our work worth all the efforts. Without seniors to guide me, I had to optimize all protocols myself. But through every challenge, my supervisor’s dedication and hard work were a beacon of inspiration. She worked longer hours than I did, ensuring we overcame every hurdle together.

Looking back, I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have had such supportive supervision. Although my PhD journey began with setbacks and struggles, I now find myself exactly where I need to be. Despite the rough start, I wouldn’t change a thing. The journey has shaped me, and I embrace every moment of it, knowing I am fulfilling a dream that transcends generations.”

-Shouryarudra Banerjee, PhD in Cancer Biology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh.

Interviewed and written by Payel Das



PhDs of India

Inspired from HONY and HOB; bringing you stories of unsung heroes of our society: PhD students. For sharing yours, email us at: phdsofindia@gmail.com!