Deblina Sarkar was selected for the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) Spotlight. The following interview excerpt is posted on the AWIS website.
What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned?
The most important leadership lesson I have learnt is to be able to strike that chord which resonates with the other person. Everyone is unique and has their own special capabilities. Being able to infuse within them enthusiasm and bring out the best are my aims as a leader.
What do you consider to be your most important career achievement or milestone?
We have developed bioelectronic interfaces which are wireless, sub-cellular-sized and have drastically low invasiveness. This technology can lead to unprecedented opportunities in precise diagnostics and therapeutics.
What do you aspire to accomplish in your career and why?
My goal is to solve two grand healthcare challenges: to detect diseases before symptoms arise and to cure neurogenerative diseases that are currently uncurable. To achieve this, we develop novel nanoelectronics-bio hybrids for enabling smart sensing and autonomous feedback-based precise therapeutics.
Describe an amazing opportunity in your STEM career.
Recently I received the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award with the highest and rarely achieved impact score. This recognition is a great boost for our research endeavors, and it will support our work in developing biomedical implants that forego the need for surgery.
How was AWIS helped you professionally and/or personally?
AWIS has helped me to remain connected with and be supported by the amazing community of female researchers, scientists and engineers.
What is your favorite word?
How do you define it?
When we are passionate about something we put our heart and soul into it.
How has this word influenced or inspired your career?
I have always chosen career goals that I am extremely passionate about. This has provided me courage to transverse unchartered territories in science, which leads to truly disruptive innovations. Because I love my work, I am happy even while overcoming challenges associated with a risky career path.
How does AWIS impact your career journey?
AWIS continues to provide me platforms for networking, raising my voice to combat bias against women, increasing the participation of women and minorities in STEM, as well as to influence and encourage young female scientists.
What are you currently reading or listening to?
I am currently reading Karma Yoga by Swami Vivekananda.
What do you consider the best professional or personal advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I have received is to put myself in the shoes of my mentees and think from their perspectives. This is helping me to ensure their holistic success in their career goals and overall well-being.
Dr. Deblina Sarkar is an assistant professor at MIT and fuses engineering, applied physics, and biology to develop disruptive technologies for nanoelectronic devices and create new paradigms for life-machine symbiosis. She has won numerous awards including the Technology Review’s Innovators Under 35 India, one of the top three dissertations throughout U.S. and Canada, the IEEE Early Career Award in Nanotechnology, NAE’s Innovative Young Engineer Recognition and NIH Director’s New Innovator Award.