We can all do our part to unleash our world’s enormous untapped talent – starting with filling classrooms, laboratories, and boardrooms with women scientists.UN Secretary-General António Guterres
As part of celebrating the International Day of Women & Girls in Science 11th February 2023 we would like to shine a light on Dr. Bhagyashree Kamble, Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Research Associate with the University of Bradford. Dr Kamble is carrying out research work at Nature’s Laboratory.
We asked Dr. Kamble if she could tell us a bit about her life, her passion for science, what or who inspires her and advice for other women or girls who would like to make a career in science.
Could you tell us a bit about your background and how you first became interested in a career in science?
Talking about my background, I was born and brought up in India. I come from a very humble, middle-class family where education was of the utmost importance. I understand now that education may have been the only way to overcome the limitations that we had then. Both my parents managed to educate themselves, but not to the best of their capabilities, due to the responsibilities they had and circumstances they were part of in their respective families. So they were keen on my education.
When I think about my interest in science and I look back, I realise that I was a child who always had an inquisitive approach. I was always ready with a list of questions, no matter what we were doing!
As I grew up, I started to be aware of circumstances and situations around me. I have always seen diverse lives around me. I am perhaps part of the last generation who has seen leprosy patients in early 90’s. When I was in high school, I was shocked to see that, and I tried asking my parents many questions at the time. I didn’t get answers that my young mind could accept.
That was the time I decided that I wanted to contribute to healthcare.
I always wanted to be a medical doctor which did not happen but my ultimate thought was to contribute to making healthier/ better lives.
I would like to share a few stories: After I finished my 12th final exam, I helped blind students by being their writer for their exam papers. During my masters I worked with a very renowned gynecologist from India who was exclusively a herbal practitioner despite all her higher education in allopathic medicine.
What or who inspired you to become a scientist & do you have any role models that you admire?
I admire all those people who really contribute to society with dedication and passion in whatever field they are working, to make human lives better and healthier.
Marie Curie’s journey as a woman scientist I always find very interesting, and of course there are many incredible women around the globe we can look up to.
Could you tell us a bit about your role as a university lecturer and supervisor?
Prior to coming to the UK, I worked with pharmacy students. I really enjoyed working with those budding minds, I learnt a lot about the life approaches of the new generation. Working at university is always an exciting and equally challenging process. I have worked closely with doctoral students and believe that management lessons can be learnt so well during the journey of studying for a doctorate.
Could you tell us a bit about your research work and what you have worked on in the past?
I have worked extensively in herbal drug research, exploring herbs for their potential and overcoming challenges associated with them. Nature has spread its wings to offer so many natural products for making healthier lives I feel we should use and preserve it with the utmost attention and care.
What have you enjoyed most about your work?
I always enjoy developing something from nothing at work, which means developing ideas from scratch, considering the need or problems in the system.
What has been your greatest challenge?
No-one’s life is without challenges. I feel my biggest challenge has been moving to the UK and establishing myself. Also, I am always trying to excel in my work, and I challenge myself with this goal continually.
Could you tell us a bit about working with Nature’s Laboratory and what you are working on at the moment?
Nature’s Laboratory’s CEO, James Fearnley has a passion and dedication to the company and his work. He trained in law, but I feel he is ultimately a visionary researcher in his heart and mind.
Nature’s Laboratory is a company which is very much research driven, socially responsible and has been a consistent contributor to making many lives better through developing herbal based and propolis products for decades. (Propolis is an incredible substance produced by honeybees which has many therapeutic effects for humans as well as for bees.) I am immensely happy and proud to be part of the team at Nature’s Laboratory.
I’m currently working on developing a biofilm gel using propolis to overcome antimicrobial resistance.
What would you like to work on in the future?
I would like to continue my propolis and herbal research in order to work on neglected diseases, and immunity development in human beings.
What advice do you have for any women or girls who are thinking of a career in science?
Every woman who wants to make a career in science, needs to figure out what her thoughts are about getting into science so she can visualize the path. Once the path is known, hurdles will also be there but don’t lose heart, after every dark night the bright sun will always shine.
If you know hard work ,honesty ,consistency and positive thinking and working, nothing can stop you from being successful.
Anything else you’d like to share?
It has been quite overwhelming for me to go down memory lane and I have relished the journey through these questions! Thank you for the idea and impulse to interview me for this very special day of Women and Girls in Science and thank you Nature’s laboratory and team for accepting me.
Did you know?
- Women are typically given smaller research grants than their male colleagues and, while they represent 33.3% of all researchers, only 12% of members of national science academies are women.
- In cutting edge fields such as artificial intelligence, only one in five professionals (22%) is a woman.
- Despite a shortage of skills in most of the technological fields driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution, women still account for only 28% of engineering graduates and 40% of graduates in computer science and informatics.
- Female researchers tend to have shorter, less well-paid careers. Their work is underrepresented in high-profile journals and they are often passed over for promotion.
Thank you to the United Nations website for the facts above, there is clearly still a long way to go to promote women in science, but we applaud brilliant women like Dr. Kamble who are doing research work every day with the goal of improving lives.