15 Sep Interview with Raghuveer Ramachandra
Raghuveer is an excellent scientist and Studylog expert.
Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?
I grew up in rural parts of the Southern Indian state called Karnataka. My family moved quite often because of the nature of my father’s job so I studied in five different schools by the time I finished high school. I did my undergraduate and graduate education in India and then pursued my PhD in the United States.
What sparked your interest in Science?
Education was always the most important thing in my family. There was a lot of respect for educated members of the family so we always looked up to people who were well educated and went to college. My parents thought that education was the only gateway for a better life. I also had quite a few good teachers in my elementary and high school years. I can’t point to just one instance, but all of that together sparked my interest in science.
Did you have any specific role models? If so, who were they?
My father definitely is a role model to me. He was an agriculture extension specialist working for the government, which meant we had to move quite often, as I mentioned before. He would work long hours and walk tens of miles every day to help attend to these farmers’ problems. The way he helped farmers while sacrificing his own comfort and compromising family time was very inspirational. My elder cousin was pursuing a career in science at that time and we all looked up to him and thought of him as a leader. Incidentally, he eventually ended up following in my father’s footsteps and now he works as an agriculture extension specialist for the government.
What would you say to a young person considering a career in science?
Go for it for sure, but also keep in mind that you should only take it up if you really like it for what it is and not what it is portrayed to be in pop culture because along the way, it’s going to get tough. Making a good career in science is becoming increasingly difficult in one way or another and only your true interest in science can keep you going and will only push you in the right direction.
What is important to you personally? I.e.what things do you value most in life?
This is ever-evolving depending on what point of time in your life you get asked this question and various things influence what your answer is going to be. I’m about 42 now and I have two kids, and I also co-founded a company, so what I have been realizing and coming to understand is that we have a very short time on this earth and it is very important to spend time with people who trust you and who you feel comfortable working with. This applies to the workplace, this applies to friends and family, etc. I read a quote somewhere that if it makes you put in effort to get along, it’s probably not worth the effort, right? So it should be an easy exercise. It should be really easy and only then can you focus on being productive, being present in that moment, and being helpful so that is what my current thinking is. Spending time with those whom we trust, love and respect is very important to me.
What are some of the challenges you have faced either in your career or personally that you feel have helped you become the successful person you are?
I don’t know if I’m a successful scientist yet. I will consider myself successful when one of the drugs that we worked on makes it all the way to approval and improves patients’ life. There are many exciting drug discovery programs that I’ve worked on in the fifteen or sixteen years of my working life after my PhD. Many of them have great promise for patients addressing their unmet medical needs and if we can help patients live a healthier, longer life that’s what I’m striving for.
How has Studylog impacted you or your team?
Oh yeah. So people don’t want to fix things that have not been broken. That’s usually the path of least resistance, right? At least until you make them aware that things are broken, many people don’t know what they are missing and how things can be improved. When you get to know what Studylog can do, you realize what Excel was not able to do. After the learning curve and after we started using Studylog in full-fledged mode we made a calculation and we were able to take up twice as much work as we could before. Studylog can double productivity, but not just that. Another very important part of Studylog that is probably underestimated or not talked about too much is its data archiving and ability to keep the data in a centralized place where it can be accessed at any point of time in the future. This helps in regulatory filing or routine data retrieval for a particular model or keeping track of statistics, such as moving averages. These become very important when the group is big and when the same studies are run over and over again. How these models evolve over a period of time becomes very important and with Excel, I don’t think you can compare multiple studies with a few clicks. That is an additional advantage of Studylog for me.
What is your favorite Studylog feature?
Studylog is not just a cookie cutter software. It is highly flexible and highly customizable. What I really like is how flexible the customizability is. You can create your own calculations, your own alerts, your own statistical parameters, your own calculations and as long as you can put it into an equation, you can get that done in Studylog. That is the flexibility Studylog has, because it has evolved over the last decade and a half and probably more. It can fit into multiple therapeutic areas and multiple disease conditions. That flexibility is what I really like about Studylog.
What do you do for fun outside of the lab?
I used to be a marathon runner. I try to explore new hiking trails and like to go cycling and swimming whenever I can.