Learning. Teaching. Sharing.
Surabhi Sonam knew from early on that they wanted to pursue a career in teaching and research. She has been lucky to have been taught and inspired by a number of mentors who have had a meaningful impact on their academic life. As an enthusiastic and devoted Science Professor, they strive to pass on their love of learning to their own students.
As a Stem Cell Bioengineer, she has gained expertise in cellular biology, stem cell biology and cellular biophysics. She also diversify in epithelial healthcare and microfluidics-based techniques. With a prestigious Graduate Student Scholarship of Mechanobiology Institute, Singapore and support of Government of Singapore at National University of Singapore (NUS), she developed a microfluidics platform with combination of nano-architecture to control the self-renewal capacity of mesenchymal stem cells. During her post-doctoral research at NUS, under the Human Frontiers Science Project (HFSP), she studied the microtube formation of epithelial cells and later, at Institut Jacques Monod, Universite Paris 7 Diderot/CNRS, Paris, under a project from European Research Council (ERC), she studied the strength of the adherens junction proteins and the instability in epithelial cells on soft tissue substrates. An engineer, by training, she venture at the junction of Basic sciences and Engineering.
With a keen interest in intriguing young minds towards research, Surabhi has mentored 2 graduate and 1 undergraduate student during her post-doctoral studies. Later, she chose a profession based on teaching and research at D Y Patil International University, Pune, India to interact with many more young individuals and developed courses and labs for varied subjects ranging from cell biology, microbiology, biological physics to computational studies (Python), bioinformatics and biostatistics. Beside her classroom teaching, she has organised and conducted several workshops, mentoring programs and internships to give better exposure to the students.
Beside teaching and research, Surabhi holds a keen interest in scientific communications and writes opinions and commentaries on current issues. She also writes poems on scientific topics. She volunteers with various scientific communication platforms like TheSTEMTimes and STEMPeers Editor’s Choice Weekly.
NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE, MECHANOBIOLOGY INSTITUTE, SINGAPORE
July 2009 - December 2014
SASTRA UNIVERSITY, THANJAVUR, INDIA
August 2005 - June 2009
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, DY PATIL INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY, PUNE, INDIA
July 2019 - Present
Developing an artificially intelligent inhaler for auto-delivery of drug-laden aerosols.
Diagnostics for gut health
Paper-microfluidics based low-cost diagnostics for assessing the gut health
RESEARCH FELLOW, INSTITUT JACQUES MONOD, UNIVERSITÉ PARIS DIDEROT/CNRS, PARIS, FRANCE
June 2016 - May 2019
Worked with Dr. Benoit Ladoux and Dr. René-Marc Mège
Fracture in epithelial tissue
Combined lithography, immunocytochemistry, live cell and confocal imaging techniques to understand the fracture formation and sealing in epithelial tissue to release tension.
Performed Traction force microscopy and stress mapping to compute the traction forces between the cell and substrate and the resultant stress generated within the tissue.
Supervised and trained PhD and Masters students.
In vitro reconstitution of cell-cell adhesion machinery
Reconstructed the interaction of cell-cell adhesion proteins and actomyosin network using micropatterning and microfabrication and studied protein interaction dynamics by TIRF and epifluorescence microscopy.
Developed methods to measure forces by micropillars during unfolding of α-Catenin by actomyosin bundles.
RESEARCH FELLOW, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE
April 2015 - May 2016
Worked with Prof Lim Chwee Teck and Dr. Benoit Ladoux
Collective cell migration in microtubes
Studied tube formation of epithelial (Madin-Darby Canine Kidney; MDCK) and endothelial (EAHY 962) cells in 50-250µm tubes.
Performed immunocytochemistry, image analysis and particle image velocimetry (PIV) to measure cell tube migration dynamics.
RESEARCH ASSISTANT, MECHANOBIOLOGY INSTITUTE, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE
November 2014 - March 2015
Worked with Prof Lim Chwee Teck
Human Mesenchymal Stem Cell differentiation on highly wrinkled carbon substrates
Evaluated the difference in proliferation and lineage determination process of human Mesenchymal Stem Cells on 6 carbon substrates with varied roughness and wrinkling.
Adopted immunocytological techniques and confocal microscopy to quantify the differentiation phenomenon.
GRADUATE STUDENT, MECHANOBIOLOGY INSTITUTE, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE
August 2009 - December 2014
With Prof Lim Chwee Teck and Prof Michael Sheetz
Effects of fluid shear stress on Mesenchymal Stem Cell contractility and fate
Developed a microfluidic system to apply fluid shear stress on single cells
Fabricated micro- and nanoscale topographical patterns inside microfluidic channels, developed by soft lithography techniques, to control cellular contractility and examined stem cell fate using live cell imaging, immunocytochemical techniques, confocal microscopy, atomic force microscopy and quantification of genetic expression (qPCR).
Wrote Risk Assessments and Standard Operating Procedures
D Y PATIL INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY, AKURDI, PUNE
July 2019 - Present
As Head of the Department of Bioengineering, I am managing all the administrative issues related to the department including developing the laboratories and course structure.
As School Admissions Head, School of Biosciences and Bioengineering for Academic Year 2020-21, I managed the admission, marketing and counselling procedures for the School undergraduate and post-graduate intake and headed a team of 8 people.
As Faculty In-charge, University Learning Management System, I have managed the all the courses and student interactions on the University scale for the academic year 2020-21.
As Faculty Advisor of the poetry club, Mehfil and student development club, Lasux-V, I oversaw the working and functioning of the clubs and formulated the rules of club functioning.
As a Member, PhD Admissions Committee, academic year 2020-21, I participated in identifying and interviewing process of the PhD students at the University
As Organiser and Moderator of online webinar series conducted in June 2020 on “Opportunities in Bioengineering”, I interacted with entrepreneurs, scientists and researchers from academia and industry to promote concepts of Bioengineering among high school and university students.
As a Member, Course Designing Committee for B.Tech. Bioengineering, School of Biosciences and Bioengineering, in January-April 2020, I identified the four tracks for specialisation in the program and designed the core courses for two. I also designed the layout the entire course.
As Student Co-ordinator, First Year, B.Sc. Biotechnology, School of Applied Sciences in academic year 2019-20, I managed all the administrative procedures for first year students.
NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE
July 2009 - May 2016
As the Safety Lead of Lim Lab, Mechanobiology Institute, Singapore, I maintained the record of the chemicals purchased and available in the lab and ensured their safe storage. I also conducted regular safety trainings for the lab members to assure continued safety precautions of the lab. Additionally, I maintained the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Risk Assessments (RA) for every equipment and project.
Member, Organising Team of 3rd, 4th and 5th Mechanobiology Conferences, an annual international conference and Forces and Cells, a training workshop, at National University of Singapore, Singapore in Nov 2009, Nov 2010 and Nov 2011.
ASSOCIATION FOR PROMOTION OF CREATIVE LEARNING, PATNA, INDIA
Member, Organising Team of International Conference on Educational and Social Inclusion (ICESI), organized by Association for Promotion of Creative Learning at School of Creative Learning, Patna, India in Nov 2011.
SASTRA UNIVERSITY, THANJAVUR, INDIA
August 2005 - June 2009
Member, Event Management Team of TECHNOVISTA’06 and TECHNOVISTA’08, a national level technical symposium and workshop held by Students’ Chapter of Society for Biomaterials and Artificial Organs (India) and Bioengineers@sastra at SASTRA University, India in 2006 and 2008.
ONLINE SUMMER SCHOOL FOR UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS
June – August 2020
Organised a summer school for 40 undergraduate students at DYPIU, Pune
In project-based learning students were taught computer programming, design thinking, analytical thinking, problem identification and ideation
LEAPS, INVOLVE LEARNING SOLUTIONS FOUNDATIONS, INDIA
Mentored a team of 4 high school students for Learning Entrepreneurship & Problem Solving, one of the kind entrepreneurships programs that develop students to launch their own start-ups and learn all the skills related to it within 10 days in July 2020
STUDENT WORKSHOP IN MICROBIOLOGY, DYPIU, PUNE
Conducted a 10-day internship program for 10 undergraduate students in various principles and experiments of Microbiology
Designed the program and delivered the outcomes as a Department meeting
FREEDOM EMPLOYABILITY ACADEMY, INDIA
March – July 2019
Mentored a group of 25 students from low-income background and introduced them to different possibilities of employment and helped them prepare accordingly based on their interests
INSTITUT JACQUES MONOD, PARIS, FRANCE
June 2016 – May 2019
Mentored two Masters student, Cecile Jebane and Maud Ginestet.
Mentored one Undergraduate student, Mark Moody.
Mentored two High school students, Stephanie Li and Owen Marquis, under the ‘apprentis-chercheur’ program