Today is about Chandrima Shaha, the scientist with a speciality in cell biology, who has been associated with the prestigious Indian National Science Academy for 11 years now. She joined INSA in 2008, became its Vice President in 2016, and is now all set to create history by becoming the first-ever woman president of the apex body of Indian scientists. In the 85 years of INSA, Chandrima will be the first female to reach the height. She will undertake the position next year.
The 66-year-old biologist is known for her research about the Leishmania parasite and has authored more than 80 research papers around the Leishmaniasis (fatal but curable disease)-causing parasites.
She has a Master’s degree from the University of Calcutta, where she was raised, and completed her PhD from the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology in 1980. From there, she went to the University of Kansas Medical Centre where she was enrolled from 1980 to 1982. From 1983-1984, she was at the Population Council in New York City, immediately after which she joined the National Institute of Immunology in New Delhi in 1984 as a scientist.
"Initially, when we started our careers, nobody would shake hands with women scientists," Shaha told The Print, adding they would be completely "ignored" by their fellow male colleagues.
In a male-dominated profession, Chandrima is setting a great example by becoming the president of the New Delhi-based INSA for those women who aim to enter the field. "Women have to first believe in themselves in order to take over leadership positions. I have been elected by a council consisting of mostly male members," Shaha added.
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