Do not pre-compromise on your dreams: Dr Shubha Tole

Back in the 1990s, as a PhD student at California Institute of Technology, (Caltech), USA, Prof Shubha Tole drove 30 miles from Pasadena to Orange County to attend Kathak classes because of her love and passion for the art.


Prof Shubha Tole, neuroscientist, department of biological sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research & winner of Infosys Prize 2014 in Life Sciences

Whilst as a first-year student pursuing her PhD, a romance began to bloom between her and Dr Sandip Trivedi, who was a fourth-year PhD student in Theoretical Physics in the same Institution. The romance culminated in a wedding.

After spending 11 years in the US, pursuing doctoral and post-doctoral research (University of Chicago), with determination, Dr Shubha Tole and her husband moved back to India in 1999.

They joined the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai as faculty members, and Dr Shubha started her own lab to make a difference among India's scientific community.

Fifteen years later, this past November, Dr Shubha was in for a great surprise. The surprise came in the form of the prestigious Infosys Prize 2014, which crowned her for her pioneering work in understanding how the brain structures that control cognition, memory, and emotions are formed in the embryo.

"I'm extremely honored and humbled. One doesn't work with the thought of awards or prizes. But it gets recognized years later. It is wonderful to know that Indian Institutions are recognizing scientific research. The true value of this award is that it encourages students and stimulates interest in science and research," says Dr Shubha, who was on a sabbatical in Geneva when the award was announced.


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