KIIT School of Biotechnology (KSBT) organized an alumni talk under Kuora-KSBT Alumni Talk Series – Special Chapter on “Big Data Analysis in Biotechnology”. The talks were delivered by Ms. Taniya Chatterjee, Statistical Analyst, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceutical Ltd.; Ms. Rupal Rani Bhanja, Statistical Programmer, Pfizer; and Ms. Saira Konar, Statistical Programmer, Novartis India Pvt. Ltd. The session was hosted by Dr. Gopal Choudhary and graced by Dr. Srinivas Patnaik, Dean, KSBT.
Data and information are the key resources of the present times and the future of biology overlaps with the understanding of Big Data, the speakers emphasized. Illuminating the path to this promising and emerging field, the three alumni of KSBT explained the various aspects of starting and achieving excellent results in this wonderful intersection of biology and mathematics.
Ms. Taniya Chatterjee, who completed her M.Sc. in Biotechnology from KSBT in 2017, said that the academic curriculum in KIIT was a perfect fit for her aspirations of pursuing an industrial job and soon she developed an interest in Biostatistics. She resolved her struggle to choose between R&D and a commercial job with help from faculty and through her experience of working at Dr. Reddys’ Labs. She recalled having been notified of an opening at Novartis by KSBT unexpectedly, for the position of Statistical Programmer. The opportunity was a perfect match for her and, with training at the company, she mastered handling big data for drug designs and clinical trials.
Ms. Saira Konar talked about KSBT’s top-notch faculty and infrastructure that contributed to her success as a data analyst. She started her career at Novartis where she learned the necessary skills of Big Data Analytics at job and discovered a high demand for skilled data professionals. She explained the details of Data Analytics and how it impacted the efficiency of decision-making processes at business organizations and also at healthcare sectors. She recommended starting in this interdisciplinary field as it calls for candidates from diverse backgrounds with lucrative salary packages.
Ms. Rupal Rani Bhanja said she initially disliked mathematics, only to become a Statistical Programmer at Pfizer. She had acquired an excellent dissertation programme which allowed her to focus on her priorities and skills. During that period, she enrolled herself at Cytel, a company providing training in Data Analytics and discovered her calling. From there, she went on to work at Cognizant as a programmer and then made a move to Pfizer. She advised the students to always have patience and perseverance.
All the speakers advocated the learning of programming languages. Incorporating it in the syllabus would greatly benefit current biotechnology students, they added. The talk was followed by an interactive Q&A session. Dr. Gopal Chowdary proposed the vote of thanks.