Workspace

ABOUT

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.

 

EDUCATION

NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE, MECHANOBIOLOGY INSTITUTE, SINGAPORE

PhD (Mechanobiology)

July 2009 - December 2014

SASTRA UNIVERSITY, THANJAVUR, INDIA

BTech (Bioengineering)

August 2005 - June 2009

 

RESEARCH EXPERIENCE

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, DY PATIL INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY, PUNE, INDIA

July 2019 - Present

Automated Inhaler

  • 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

 

ADMINISTRATIVE EXPERIENCE

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

November 2011

  • 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.

 

MENTORING EXPERIENCE

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

July 2020

  • 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

December 2020

  • 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

 

SCIENCE AND EDUCATION OUTREACH

SCIENCE COMMUNICATION VIA POETRY AND ARTICLES ON BLOGSITE, WWW.SURABHISONAM.COM/BLOG

EDITOR AND TRANSLATOR, SCIENCE-OUT, AN ONLINE SCIENCE NEWS PLATFORM

CONTENT EDITOR, EDITORIAL TEAM, THE STEM TIMES, A SCIENCE COMMUNICATION PLATFORM

CONTRIBUTOR, STEMPEERS EDITORS' CHOICE, A WEEKLY ONLINE UPDATE OF THE LATEST SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS.

COMMUNITY AMBASSADOR, ELIFE, APRIL 2019-MARCH 2020.

SCIENTIFIC COMMUNICATION POET, WHAT’S SCIENCE MEDIA LTD, INDIA FROM MARCH 2019-JUNE 2019

REVIEWER, BIOPROTOCOLS JOURNAL

PEER REVIEWER, ENAGO ACADEMY, PRE-SUBMISSION SERVICES, SINCE 2019.

LIFETIME MEMBER, ASSOCIATION FOR PROMOTION OF CREATIVE LEARNING, INDIA, A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION FOR DEVELOPMENT OF INNOVATIVE AND APPROPRIATE EDUCATIONAL METHODOLOGIES