Trainee at GlycoNet: Simha Thota

Where do you work, what is your position and who is your supervisor?

I am currently a final year Ph.D student in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Alberta under the supervision of Professor Todd Lowary.

Which project do you work on?

My research focuses on the target oriented synthesis which involves synthesizing rare sugar building blocks found in oligosaccharides related to the capsular polysaccharides present in many campylobacter species and their assembly into complex glycans.

If you have previously attended the AGM/Symposium, what was your experience?

I have had the opportunity to attend AGM/Symposia three times since 2016 and had a great experience each time. They are all well organized in a beautiful location. Being a synthetic carbohydrate chemist, get to know the different fields of high level research from other trainees, keynotes and speakers that comes under glycomics not only tells how important the sugar molecules are in biology but also explains the broader prospects of our research. Besides conference presentations, I enjoy the food that is provided and also the landscape/sightseeing around the conference location.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

After completing my Ph.D, I would like to pursue postdoctoral studies in North America preferably in Canada. I see myself pursuing research in the field that relates to glycomics.

What does glycomics mean to you?

By definition glycomics is the study of carbohydrates (sugars) or glycans in biological systems. It involves the collective effort of different fields of glycomics to solve the leading health issues. In my opinion, it continues to grow much bigger and stronger and we reach a stage where we develop new medicines to treat people.

What is your favourite quote?

Hard work supersedes talent” and “Luck favours favoured mind or prepared mind” these are the two quotes that are taught to me by my teachers and I strongly believe in them.

Is there anything interesting that you would like to share about yourself, such as any sports that you enjoy, talents you have, and/or what you do in your spare time?

During weekends in my spare time, I enjoy playing sports. I am an ardent fan of cricket, which is an outdoor game in my country (India) but when I moved to Canada I had no option other than switching to indoor games. Currently I enjoy playing badminton and/or squash in the weekends along with my research colleagues. These physical activities help me to maintain my BMI… 😊.

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