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Career Profile

Mahesh Rachamalla (he/him)

Graduate Student (Toxicology)
University of Saskatchewan
Mahesh Rachamalla in his lab wearing white lab coat
Mahesh Rachamalla in his lab wearing white lab coat
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Education Pathway

My research will help find solutions for protecting aquatic species from the effects of heavy metals.

About me

I was born/grew up in: I was born in the remote city of Suryapet in the southern region of India, and I spent my childhood and adolescence there.

I now live in: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

I completed my training/education at: I did my masters from National institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Mohali, India. I am currently completing a Ph.D. at the University of Saskatchewan.

What I do at work

After earning a master's degree in pharmacology and toxicology, I worked as a toxicologist in the chemical industry. I worked in this industry for several years.  Part of my job was to make sure the company had followed the regulations and standards set by government. In this job I worked with other team members. There were always new things to learn. My main role was to set the protocols for using animals to test the safety of the chemicals we were producing. At that time, we were moving away from animal testing to more non-animal testing procedures. As a result, I had many issues to consider.

I always wanted to know more about how toxic materials affected living things. This led me to enrolling in the Ph.D. program at the University of Saskatchewan. Today I am a graduate student in the department of biology. My research looks at the effects of heavy metals on the reproduction, development, and brain functions of zebrafish. I am researching the molecular pathways involved in heavy metal exposure through diet in zebrafish. This research will aid in the development of solutions to preserve aquatic species in their natural settings.

My career path is

One of my biggest goals was to find out how chemicals or drugs affect the lives of people or animals. During my undergraduate and graduate studies, I learned a lot about how human and animals’ bodies work. I also learned how different chemical molecules interact with different proteins and receptors in the body.

During my master's degree, I worked on a research project that involved finding new chemical molecules to target cancer. During this time, I learned a lot about cancer and different molecular techniques to understand it. I also learned how to design and make new molecules to stop the growth of cancer.

After I finished my master's, I wanted to learn more about toxicology, so I applied for PhD positions while I was working. I am honored to have received the Saskatchewan Innovation Opportunity Scholarship to start my PhD program. This, along with a university of Saskatchewan grant, is helping me with my research.

I am motivated by

My current research motivates and excites me every day! I love exploring the pathways through which toxic metals show their effects. Conducting research excites and provides a lot of questions to think about. Applying science to solve some real-world problems is challenging. I am very excited about my research because it can help protect the environment.  Getting to publish the research I complete will be the best reward I can get.

How I affect peoples’ lives

I am completing a PhD after working in the chemical industry for several years. My goal is to get a better understanding of how metals have a toxic effect in various organisms. Every species in the environment can be exposed to these hazardous metals in a variety of ways. My present research will directly benefit people's daily lives. My research will offer a fresh look at the methods through which these hazardous metals affect the health of various animal species in their natural habitats.

Outside of work I

I love to cook and watch movies. After working long hours in the lab, I like to cook something good. I also like to watch my favourite movies or web series on different platforms. I also like to spend time with people, so I hang out with my friends and their families. I also want to help my community. Right now, I'm a volunteer for a few groups, so in my free time, I donate and help them out.

My advice to others

Always be interested in what's going on around you. This will give you a sense of responsibility and help you learn about different things. This will lead you to do something good for the environment. As a young person, you should try to ask as many questions as you can and try to understand everything in a scientific way. Using this knowledge can help you make something that will help everyone.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • Geography
  • History
  • Science
  • Physical Education/Health
  • Foods & Nutrition
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Liked helping people
  • Played on a sports team
  • Liked to design or build things
  • Didn't really care about grades
  • Learned best “by doing”
  • Liked to take things apart to see how they worked

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