Arinjay Banerjee (he/him)
I was born/grew up in: I was born in Calcutta, India and I grew up travelling around with my parents in India.
I now live in: I live in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
I completed my training/education at: I have a Bachelor of Science (Double Major and honours, Microbiology and Biochemistry) from the University of Mumbai. I completed my Masters of Science (Virology) at the National Institute of Virology. I completed my Ph.D. in Microbiology at the University of Saskatchewan. I also trained at the University of Sydney, McMaster University (Postdoctoral), and at the University of Toronto (visiting scientist).
What I do at work
I am a research scientist. My area of research is how viruses evolve and interact with our immune system. I work at the University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO). Our work helps strengthen Canada’s role in responding to infectious diseases. My team investigates bat-borne viruses, such as coronaviruses. We also study how these viruses impact humans and agricultural animals.
It costs money to do scientific research. To fund my research, I write lots of funding applications. These can be to my university, to government agencies or outside groups. I also design and carry out experiments. After I have collected and analyzed my results, I publish what I have learned. Writing papers and publishing results is an important part of what research scientists do. Most of all, in my work, I keep an open mind towards learning new things every day.
My career path is
In school I loved science and biology in particular. I always wanted to work with small things and a microscope. Microbes, such as viruses happen to be extremely small. My interest led me to first complete a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and biochemistry. I then completed a Master’s degree that specialized in the study of viruses. From here, I completed my Ph.D. in microbiology.
During my studies, I participated in programs that allowed me to practice my skills and apply my knowledge in real world settings. After I received my Ph.D., I completed a postdoctoral program in molecular virology at McMaster University. During this time, I was appointed as a Visiting Scientist at the University of Toronto. Here I worked on research to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. My education and experience have led me to my current position as Research Scientist and Principal Investigator at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, University of Saskatchewan.
I am motivated by
I am motivated by the uncertainty and excitement of new scientific discoveries.
How I affect peoples’ lives
I hope that our work will go towards protecting humanity from emerging viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2. Saving lives and preventing the next pandemic drives me to do my best every day. I also have an impact by supporting and nurturing trainees in my laboratory who are the future of Canadian science.
Outside of work I
I love to cook and grill. I also volunteer my time to share our science with the world.
My advice to others
Failures are the pillars of success. We fail a lot in science. However, the one breakthrough is worth several attempts.