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Alumni Spotlight on Dr. Abha Chalpe Ghosh

Training at CRS has led me to believe that anything is possible with one’s hard work. ”

Dr. Abha Chalpe Ghosh, PhD

Dr. Abha Chalpe Ghosh is a CRS trainee alumna. Dr. Ghosh is a former postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Kelly Mayo's laboratory and is currently a project manager at PharmaACE in Pune, India. Her work focuses on oncology drugs and she specializes in forecasting the biosimilar products for breast cancer, glioblastomas, and colorectal cancer.

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What is your connection to the CRS community (mentor and position) and what is your current position? 

I was a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Kelly Mayo’s laboratory from 2012-2014. Currently, I am a project manager at PharmaACE, Pune, India. 

Could you describe your current research/studies? 

PharmaACE is a pharma analytics company that helps companies acquire other companies as well as forecast the market revenue of medicinal products. I am in the forecasting department where I build models to understand the current revenue trend of a drug/product and predict the future market share. I mainly work with oncology drugs and specialize in forecasting the biosimilar products for breast cancer, glioblastomas, and colorectal cancer. Forecasting is a very tedious but interesting process, and it involves thorough understanding of how the drug market operates. My background in molecular biology followed by experience working in R&D has allowed me to explore the forecasting field with more confidence. Understanding clients’ needs and designing the model around it is what I enjoy the most. 

What aspect(s) of CRS did you find most valuable?  

CRS has always been a gathering of like-minded people sharing science and the life derived from those scientific endeavors. For me, CRS was a perfect place to understand the meaning of life! As cliched it might sound, it is true, I appreciated the fact about accepting biology as is and not fighting it and applied it to my personal life as well. What I mean by that is, there are fundamental biological differences between male and female. Those differences form the origin of life but do not render one gender superior to the other. CRS harbors people that not only understand and celebrate this difference but also allow each one to flourish regardless of their gender, ethnicity, or background.  

I received training in the areas of ovarian regulation through hormones and attended two CRS symposiums. My network of scientists (and non-scientists) grew immensely in these symposiums, and I still cherish those friendships. 

What has been the most valuable aspect to your training as a reproductive scientist in CRS? 

Creating awareness about female reproduction and its ailments. I not only speak openly about female reproductive health but also encourage people to ask questions. I always try to give them the answer or point them towards sources that will be of help. Training at CRS has led me to believe that anything is possible with one’s hard work. 

What would you recommend to junior scientists in order for them succeed in their scientific careers?​  

Explore! Never settle! I remember a conversation with an undergraduate student about how they did not want to apply to medical school (they had all the credentials) as it would take them away from home and out of their comfort zone. While their points were mostly valid, they were not considering the fact that, leaving the comfort zone accounts for most of the learnings in life! After a month of going back and forth they finally applied and got into one of the best medical schools in the country! As I receive updates on social media about their residency and research (MD/PhD) I wonder if they had not taken the chance of leaving their comfort zone we would have lost a brilliant mind to ‘fear of exploring’! 

Another thing I would like to mention is – do not judge yourself too hard! I mean a good judgement is required to start a career and keep growing in it but judging oneself by the mistakes is the wrong way to be! We must remember that as researchers we plan several experiments at a time and only 10% of them actually yield positive results and we learn so much from the negative results as well. Same applies to life, we can never only focus the negatives, we learn from them and move on. 

What do you think will be the next big contribution in the reproductive biology field?  

Allowing couples to have kids despite of reproductive issues (through IVF) is already a pathbreaking contribution from the reproductive sciences. The next big thing could be generating eggs and sperm from stem cells to produce an offspring. On a personal front I would like to see diagnostic kits available for reproductive ailments such as endometriosis, PCOS and PCOD. 

Do you have any notable stories from your time in CRS? 

I loved each interaction with Dr. Neena Schwatrz. As a fierce scientist, she inspires me even today to be the best at everything. I remember meeting her for the first time at a journal club and being mesmerized by her demeanor! I also fondly recall a potluck dinner at Dr. Teresa Woodruff’s house. The sheer warmth of Teresa’s abode was very inviting!  I enjoyed myself and had some food-for-thought conversations that were the highlight for my entire time at Northwestern.