Aakash is part of the Melbourne India Postgraduate Program and recently completed his PhD on characterising the cell wall of the poisonous Talaromyces marneffei, one of the world’s most feared fungi.
My PhD project involved working on a human pathogenic fungus Talaromyces marneffei. This pathogen is endemic to southeast Asia, but a growing number of cases have recently been reported in other parts of the globe. Immunocompromised people get infected by inhaling the infectious spores and the cell wall of the spores acts as the first point of contact with our immune cell.
My favourite experiences at the University were interacting and socialising with people of different backgrounds and ethnicity. Coming to Melbourne was my first international travel experience and initially I was scared about how I would fit into the community and initiate my work. Fast forward to today and I have a new family here now who guided me throughout my PhD coursework. These interactions have helped me immensely in both my personal and professional growth.
I also have many happy memories of playing cricket each week with my fellow students. I was the President of the Graduate Backyard Cricket Club (GBCC), and each year we arranged an Easter tournament for multiple teams to compete to be the champions of the year. At the GBCC, we welcomed all the students at the University who wanted to play cricket or even just have a good time after their stressful day.
The Melbourne India Postgraduate Program (MIPP) enables graduate research students to undertake an international joint-training experience between the University of Melbourne and selected elite research Institutes in India.
This story is based on an article originally published in the series Humans of BioSciences.