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From Classroom to Cutting-Edge: Chirag Ghag’s Journey from BITS Pilani to Biotech Innovation

 From Classroom to Cutting-Edge: Chirag Ghag's Journey from BITS Pilani to Biotech Innovation


Chirag Parag Ghag, a graduate of BITS Pilani (Dubai, ‘16) with a B.E Biotechnology degree is a dynamic professional passionate about biotechnology and innovation. Chirag's journey from BITS Pilani to the forefront of biotech innovation showcases his dedication and expertise in the industry.

How did BITS Pilani shape your devotion towards Biotechnology and inspire you to pursue it after graduation? Mention any faculty member/ members who have significantly impacted your career development.

The intersection of exceptional education and cutting-edge technology at BITS Pilani within the realm of biotechnology sparked my enthusiasm for the subject. It fortified my resolve to pursue it further after graduation. The caliber of education delivered at BITS Pilani was unparalleled, offering a comprehensive curriculum alongside access to advanced life science equipment. The incorporation of state-of-the-art instruments and laboratories facilitated hands-on learning and acquainted us with real-world applications, nurturing a profound appreciation for biotechnology's potential in industrial domains. Among the faculty members who profoundly impacted my career trajectory, Prof. Mainak Dutta shines as a guiding light of inspiration. Serving as my mentor, Prof. Dutta imparted invaluable knowledge and instilled in me a sense of curiosity and resilience crucial for success in the industry. His enthusiasm for research and commitment to nurturing budding talents left an enduring impression on my journey, shaping my dedication to the discipline and fueling a desire to push the boundaries of innovation. Through his mentorship, Prof. Dutta offered invaluable insights into the practical applications of biotechnology, exposing me to emerging trends and industry challenges. His steadfast support and encouragement empowered me to explore new horizons, embark on ambitious projects, and hone the skills requisite for thriving in the ever-evolving landscape of biotechnology.

Could you share a memorable project or research experience you have undertaken at BITS? What values have you learned through this experience, and how have these qualities shaped you as an individual?

One memorable project I undertook at BITS Pilani involved collaborating with Prof. Mainak Dutta to investigate the health benefits of locally grown Salicornia in the UAE. Our research focused on estimating the fatty acid content of Salicornia using metabolic approaches such as HPLC and gas chromatography. This project was particularly significant as it provided valuable insights into the nutritional properties of a unique plant species and allowed me to apply theoretical knowledge in a practical setting. Throughout this endeavor, perseverance played a pivotal role. Research, especially in biotechnology, often presents challenges and obstacles that require determination and resilience to overcome. Despite encountering hurdles along the way, including experimental setbacks and data analysis complexities, I remained steadfast in my pursuit of knowledge and discovery. This unwavering perseverance enabled me to surmount obstacles and instilled in me a sense of resilience that I carry forward in my professional endeavors.

Moreover, this research experience reinforced the importance of research values such as rigor, accuracy, and attention to detail. Conducting experiments with precision and ensuring the validity of results is paramount in scientific inquiry. I learned to uphold these values through meticulous experimentation and thorough data analysis, understanding their significance in producing reliable and credible research outcomes. Furthermore, this project served as a testament to the transformative power of mentorship and collaboration. Working closely with Prof. Dutta provided me with invaluable guidance, support, and mentorship, shaping my research skills and professional outlook. His expertise, encouragement, and constructive feedback inspired me to strive for excellence and pursue my passion for biotechnology with zeal and dedication.

Can you discuss any extracurricular activities or organizations you have participated in at the university? How did they enhance your educational experience?

I was a part of Toastmasters - BITS Pilani Dubai Chapter, which significantly enhanced my educational experience in several ways. Firstly, being part of Toastmasters improved my public speaking skills. Through regular opportunities to speak in front of an audience and deliver speeches, I gained confidence and fluency in expressing myself effectively. Moreover, involvement in Toastmasters helped me develop leadership skills. Whether organizing events, leading meetings, or mentoring fellow members, I learned how to inspire and motivate others, fostering teamwork and collaboration. Participating in Toastmasters also allowed me to maximize my potential. The supportive environment allowed me to stretch beyond my comfort zone, take on new challenges, and discover hidden talents. Furthermore, being part of Toastmasters offered unlimited personal growth. By receiving regular and constructive feedback from peers, I could identify areas for improvement and continuously work on refining my communication and leadership abilities.

Can you share a challenging moment or obstacle you faced at the University, and how did you overcome it?

During my time at the university, one of the most challenging moments I faced was obtaining accurate results in my research project. Despite meticulous planning and execution, I encountered several obstacles along the way that threatened the accuracy and reliability of our findings. One significant challenge was the presence of unexpected experimental variables that interfered with our measurements. Despite our efforts to control all possible factors, unforeseen fluctuations in experimental conditions and equipment performance constantly challenged obtaining consistent results. Furthermore, the complexity of our analytical techniques added another layer of difficulty. The intricacies of techniques such as HPLC and gas chromatography require precision and expertise, and any slight deviation could lead to misleading or inaccurate results. However, perseverance played a crucial role in overcoming these challenges. Despite setbacks and frustrations, I remained determined and resilient in pursuing accurate results. I approached each obstacle as an opportunity to learn and grow, seeking alternative approaches and solutions to address the issues. Additionally, collaboration and seeking guidance from mentors and peers proved invaluable in navigating through challenges. By leveraging the expertise and experience of others, I gained new insights and perspectives that helped refine our experimental protocols and improve the accuracy of our results. Ultimately, it was through unwavering perseverance, a commitment to excellence, and the support of my peers and mentors that we overcame the obstacles and achieved the desired outcomes in my research project.

Handling multiple responsibilities tends to take a toll on a person. What do you do apart from taxing work to de-stress? Mention any volunteering work undertaken in your leisure time.

Apart from handling multiple responsibilities, I engage in various activities to de-stress and contribute positively to the community. I find solace in environmental drives such as tree plantation initiatives, which help rejuvenate nature and provide a sense of fulfillment. Additionally, I dedicate my leisure time to volunteering at OYE (Organization for Youth and Elderly), where I actively participate in NGO work, fostering connections with the younger and older generations. I prioritize physical activities like playing badminton and swimming to unwind and recharge. These activities provide a healthy outlet for stress and contribute to my well-being. Through a balanced approach of giving back to the community and engaging in personal hobbies, I strive to maintain harmony amidst the demands of multiple responsibilities.

How has BITS Pilani supported your professional development since graduating, such as through alumni networks, career services, or continuing education opportunities?

Since graduating from BITS Pilani, my professional development has been significantly supported by various resources provided by the institution. Firstly, the BITSAA (BITS Alumni Association) connections have been invaluable. Through this network, I've connected with fellow alumni on platforms like LinkedIn, fostering meaningful professional relationships and gaining access to a wealth of industry insights and opportunities. Moreover, the guidance and insights from our esteemed ex-director, Dr. RN Saha, have been instrumental in my career growth. His expertise, particularly in drug design and development, has provided me with valuable perspectives and knowledge that have directly contributed to my professional development. His mentorship has been invaluable, offering practical insights and advice that have helped me navigate the complexities of my field.

Tell us about what you do at 3DBioFibR. What have you learned from Leader Life Sciences that has allowed you to evolve and excel as a professional at 3DBioFibR?

As a Life Science Business Analyst at 3DBioFibR, my role revolves around leveraging our proprietary dry-spinning platform to produce collagen fibers for the tissue engineering and regenerative medicine industry. A significant aspect of my job entails business development, where I explore opportunities to expand our market reach and drive growth for our innovative products. My experience at Leader Life Sciences has been pivotal in shaping my professional journey at 3DBioFibR. During my tenure at Leader Life Sciences, I was introduced to the fascinating world of tissue engineering, particularly through our partnership as distributors of CELLINK, a leading 3D bio-printing company. This exposure provided me with valuable insights into the evolving landscape of regenerative medicine and the critical role that advanced technologies play in the field. Drawing from my experience at Leader Life Sciences, I've been able to apply my understanding of tissue engineering principles and market dynamics to excel in my role at 3DBioFibR. Whether it's identifying strategic partnerships, understanding customer needs, or navigating regulatory landscapes, the knowledge and skills acquired at Leader Life Sciences have empowered me to effectively contribute to the growth and success of 3DBioFibR in the dynamic field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

What advice would you give to current engineering students at BITS Pilani to make the most out of their time there?

To current engineering students at BITS Pilani, I would offer the following advice to make the most out of their time there:

Focus on Skill Development: In today's world, skills are paramount. Dedicate time to build a diverse set of skills relevant to your field of study and future career aspirations. Continuous skill development will set you apart in the competitive job market, whether through coursework, projects, internships, or extracurricular activities.

Utilize LinkedIn: Create and maintain a LinkedIn profile. It's not just a social platform but a powerful tool for professional networking and career advancement. Connect with alumni, industry professionals, and peers to expand your network and stay updated on industry trends and opportunities. You never know who might offer valuable insights or open doors for you in the future.

Engage in Hands-on Projects: Take advantage of the practical learning opportunities BITS Pilani offers. Participate in projects, hackathons, and competitions to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world problems. Hands-on experience not only enhances your skills but also demonstrates your capabilities to potential employers.

Seek Mentorship: Don't hesitate to seek guidance from professors, alumni, or industry professionals. Mentorship can provide invaluable advice, support, and direction as you navigate your academic and career journey. Reach out to individuals whose experiences align with your interests and goals.
Balance Academics with Extracurricular: While academics are important, don't neglect extracurricular activities. Engage in clubs, sports, cultural events, or community service to develop soft skills like leadership, teamwork, and time management. A well-rounded experience will enrich your college life and shape you into a more versatile professional.

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