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BNERC: Special Interview - Episode 1010

Big Bang Interactions with Superb Researchers -
  Dr Saakshi Dhanekar,
 Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi

Episode 1010
Dr Saakshi Dhanekar
Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India

Saakshi sanDr Saakshi Dhanekar, a researcher of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, visited the Bio-Nano Electronics Research Centre, Toyo University for 3 weeks to carry out a collaborative research project.

Please introduce yourself and your university.

I am Dr. Saakshi Dhanekar working as INSPIRE Faculty at Centre for Applied Research in Electronics (CARE), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, India. My designation at IIT comes through a Govt. of India funded project which deals with detection of bacteria in water using nanomaterials. Since my background is electronics, material science therefore, I am looking for and have collaborations with groups/researchers working in the area of bio-detection.

IIT is one of the globally known leading institutions. It selects and delivers very high quality students who aim to be one of top leads in the world. The IIT faculty is also known to have sufficient experience and knowledge that can be imparted to students for their advancement.

What is your recent research topic?

I am working on optical and electrical detection of E. coli bacteria in water using nanostructured silicon and metal oxides. In addition to this, I am also exploring the chemical sensing properties of these nanostructures in presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and gases. Apart from these subjects, I work in the area of MEMS, MOSFETs, bipolar technology etc.

What is your motivation to do research?

By being a researcher, it is easy to prototype innovative ideas quickly. Since, research is directly linked to the need of the society, I believe, that a researcher can closely understand the demands of society and can suggest solution options in very less time. The main motivation to do research is to develop and contribute new ideas and technology options for the common man.

Please tell us about your life in India.

In terms of professional life, IIT is one of the best places to work at since it has a well-defined and structured system with latest facilities required for leading research and innovation. We have faculty colleagues and students who are some of the best minds in the country coming from diverse backgrounds. As is well known, India is culturally diverse and varied, and it is exciting to work with and learn from a diverse group of experts and researchers.

What's it like to do research at the BNERC?

LabThe time that was spent at BNERC was informative and fruitful. There was appropriate knowledge and ideas exchange. My background is material science and electronics and wanted to carry out experiments in the area of bio-electronics interface. I was impressed with the warm welcome of BNERC team for sharing ideas, discussing and performing bio-experiments in the committed time period. As research is always a learning process, there was lot of learning for me during the time I was at BNERC.

What is your dream and goal regarding research?

Currently, I aim to develop low cost, portable biosensors for detection of bacteria to be used by the common man. The idea is to provide cheap bio-devices to the rural section of the society who are dependent on natural resources of water and do not have facilities to know if the potable water is contaminated or not. The ultimate goal is to continue working on similar ideas that benefit the society.