Seerat Virk

PhD student, Memorial University

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Women in STEM are the real players.

What do you do?

My research work focusses on developing efficient and environmentally benign synthetic strategies to build complex chemical structures found in many Natural products which have been reported for their interesting biological properties. There is always a limit to how much Nature can produce and how much biologists can extract and this is when we as Organic Chemists with expertise in Total synthesis of natural products come into play. Extractions from natural sources are very low yielding, thus the medicinal industry has to rely on Organic Synthesis for meeting society's needs.

Why did you choose this field?

I loved Science back as a kid in school. Although I grew fond of High school Physics and Mathematics as well, but Organic Chemistry had me bewitched! I would often dream of organic molecules personified as the people in my life, it was a really strange feeling. Organic Chemistry became a really fascinating part of my life, I could dream it, I could relate it with life in general, I could feel it aroundme all the time! All this curiosity, laid my strong foundation in the subject and I knew I wanted it to be my vocation and not just an avocation!

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

I came to Canada as a PhD candidate and am so proud of myself to have decided to do so. Soon I would be graduating with a Doctorate in hand which certainly is a big accomplishment but I feel it would have been a real gamechanger if I had the awareness to pursue my Undergrad studies abroad as well, the amazing research facilities and the various development opportunities would definitely have me a notch higher than where I am today!

Why do you love working in STEM?

Working In Science keeps me thrilled, a successful chemical reaction, a new technique learnt, learning about new chemical tranformations, all this not only makes me happy at what I am doing today but also extremely excited at where I am going to be one day with all this great deal of organic chemistry I know!
I see myself as a Cosmetic Chemist doing some revolutionary work, developing world-class, never before line of cosmetic products which could change the way people define beauty; sans makeup yet naturally beautiful using products containing the active chemical ingredients of plants and trees, because I know for sure, Nature has everything we need, we just need to dig deeper and find solutions.

Best advice for next generation?

Educated women are the biggest strengths of society' is old! 'Women in STEM are the real players.’

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

“If you can dream it, you can do it!”

NOMINATE a woman in STEM

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