Kaohsiung Medical University
Gopal Chandru Senadi
I would like to introduce myself as Dr. Gopal Chandru Senadi, from Chennai, City, India. I completed my B.Sc Chemistry in 2005 from the University of Madras, India, and M.Sc Applied Chemistry from Anna University, India in 2007. After my graduation, I worked at two leading Contract Research Organizations, GVK Biosciences Pvt Ltd, Hyderabad, Telangana, and Anthem Biosciences Pvt Ltd, Bengaluru, Karnataka for 4.4 years as a synthetic organic chemist. During this time, I have understood the significance of organic chemist and their contributions to drug synthesis and process development. With the above-mentioned experience, I was highly motivated to pursue a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry, particularly an international Ph.D. program. In this context, I was informed about the world-class facility available in Taiwan for the international students who are interested in studying depend upon their educational profiles through my friends who were studying their Ph.D. studies in Taiwan.
I found that Kaohsiung Medical University (KMU) from the southern part of Kaohsiung is offering a Ph.D. program for the international students with entirely waived tuition fees and a monthly stipend of NT$ 10,000 along with free dormitory inside the campus. I found Prof. Jeh-Jeng Wang from the Department of Medicinal and Applied Chemistry as my choice of interest. Fortunately, I was selected to work in his lab after an online video interview and other admission processes. Today, I can say confidently that “Taiwan is my second home” because I dwell there for 7 years (11th September 2011 – 5th August 2018), including Ph.D. for 4 years and as a Postdoctoral researcher for 3 years.
Initial Days at Kaohsiung City
I was the 3rd international Ph.D. student admitted at KMU chemistry department, and things were a little difficult at my initial days in Taiwan due to a vast difference in the traditions and cultures. Most importantly, language, everyone speaks in mandarin/Chinese only, and all the information’s in the local language only. Because of that, it is hard for me to buy the food which I would prefer to eat. However, at that point, my lab mates were very friendly to help in all aspects, and I began to have good interactions with my colleagues, other students, and faculties at KMU gradually. I started to attend a Chinese language program offered by KMU to overcome the language barrier, which made me more comfortable to be independent and gained more confidence to live in Taiwan over a period of time. Then, I also took my spouse to Taiwan and rented an apartment nearby the KMU campus and had wonderful times in Kaohsiung as a family with my 3 years old child.
Ph.D. and Postdoctoral Research Work
My doctoral dissertation was conducted in consultation with Prof. Jeh-Jeng Wang at Kaohsiung Medical University (KMU, 2011-2015) discussed the harnessing activity of alkynes/alkenes under various catalytic conditions and also exploring the scope of isocyanides as a C1 synthon. During the postdoctoral stint in the same lab (Aug 2015-July 2018), I was more interested in exploring the reactivity of isocyanides and carbon-carbon multiple bonds under metal- as well as metal-free conditions. The developed new synthetic methods will be useful for the medicinal chemists and industrial people in the synthesis of bioactive drug molecules and their scaffolds for various infectious diseases. The outcome of this research work resulted in good research publications, including a Taiwanese patent.
Work Culture and Infrastructure
I cannot move forward without mentioning the freedom availed from faculties at KMU. In particular, my mentor who is also an active researcher himself and always happy to discuss the problem and solutions to overcome it scientifically. Hard work alone is not sufficient to become an efficient researcher, the need of advanced instruments to get the data of your investigated research are highly crucial without any time delay, and KMU has excellent lab facilities with sophisticated instruments. To mention a few from a chemist point of view are NMR, X-Ray, GC, GC-MS, LC-MS, HPLC, UV-VIS, FL, FTIR, Raman, etc. Importantly, these instruments can be handled by the students promptly without any delay. The exposure obtained by repeated handling of these instruments not only made me an expert on these techniques but also became an asset throughout my career. The knowledge, experiences, and international ambiance gained at KMU, Taiwan landed me with an opportunity to become an Assistant Professor at the Department of Chemistry at SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai, India. Currently, two Ph.D. students are working under my guidance on developing new synthetic methods for bioactive drug molecules.
Why Prefer Taiwan
I certainly do not have words to express how my life has changed during this time living in Taiwan. Chinese language, night markets, tea, etc everything has blended into a special kind of life. Mountains, canyons, beaches, and amazing food – this delightful island has it all. The living expenses are not too high as compared with western countries and found out that people are too friendly and too trustable and polite. I never imagined that a human being could be that kind. I was fascinated by these behaviors and the country is very safe at any time in a whole day. When it comes to research several national and private universities are there to excel in your academic career. For example, KMU is ranked No.1 in the field of Medicinal and Applied Chemistry in Taiwan and a variety of research fields are available in the department like organic, inorganic, physical, and analytical with high profiled faculty members. Taiwan provides internship programs like TEEP Asia Plus, where interested people can do research in their desired field for 3-6 months. Similarly, there are several institutes and TIGP funded programs to do your Ph.D. studies. After you get graduated, you can prefer for a broad spectrum of jobs depending on your technical and language skills such as academic research jobs, industrial jobs, or an entrepreneur. In a nutshell, “Taiwan is a wonderful place to educate, enjoy and chance to grow in your life.”