Alumni connect: ‘Make a substantial impact in the society through research and innovation’
Abhay Jere, one of the prominent scientists in the country, in collaboration with the ministry of human resource development (MHRD), created the world’s biggest open innovation model- Smart India Hackathon. With an illustrious educational background and many achievements to his credit, Jere is the vice president of Persistent Systems, a software company. He shares his insights with Ananya Barua about his journey and his future plans.
Tell us about your educational background?
I graduated from Doctor Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University with a B.Pharm in 1996 and later went to do MSc.Tech in Bioprocess Technology (Chemical Technology) from 1996 to 1998, at Institute of Chemical Technology, under Mumbai University. Later in 2001, I did my PhD in the field of molecular biology,genetic engineering and health sciences. I have been a good student and have faired quite well in academics.
How did you acquire the required knowledge and skill in your field?
During my PhD years, I was studying the molecular biology aspects of nef gene of HIV-1. PCR, cloned and sequenced nef gene from Indian patients.I was part of the first Indian team to research on HIV and later received the CSIR-Senior Research fellowship. I was also trained in Immunology, Biotechnology and Vaccinology by the World Health Organization (WHO) at Geneva, Switzerland. This was followed by a trip to Japan on a scholarship, where I conducted genotypic and phenotypic studies at University of Tokushima, Japan with the renowned scientist, Prof. Akio Adachi. I was one among the three Indians to get the scholarship. Again, I was one among 3 Indians to be selected for UNESCO and Islamic Culture and Relations Organization (ICRO) for their course on Bioinformatics in Tehran, Iran. Later, I also went to work with National Institutes of Health (NIH), United States for more than 2 years. However, I have always wanted to work back home and give back to the nation and so, I returned to India.
Can you please share your career journey with us?
My journey has been good so far. From meeting Anand Deshpande, head of Persistent Systems on a flight and discussing our shared goals in terms of R&D- industry research to establishing the Smart India Hackathon(SIH) in 2016, it has been great going.
Which do you think are your lows?
I do not consider anything as a low because every experience is a learning and has a positive impact, if steered in the right direction. However, I wanted to do my PhD from Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore, but could not crack that, for some reason. I don’t regret that too because I have not missed out on much.
Can you please tell us about SIH?
SIH began in 2016 with us skirting through every corner of the country to find innovative minds that can change the face of the country at a grass-root level. With the governement’s support, we have taken it to newer heights and established the world’s biggest open innovation model.
What are your future plans?
Learn more, achieve more and make a substantial impact in the society through research and innovation.