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Published: 19 Aug 2022

During National Science Week 2022, we are catching-up with some of TIA’s researchers, who work across a wide variety of areas to help transform the knowledge of agriculture, food production and post farmgate practices of Tasmania’s farmers, to create sustainable economic benefit for Tasmania and the world.

Dipon Sarkar is a food microbiologist, science communicator and a PhD candidate at TIA. His research focuses on the development and use of predictive tools and risk analysis to ensure the microbial safety of paneer, a traditional Indian soft cheese.

Outside the lab, he is engaged in community science engagement through school visits, public shows, and festivals. His research and science communication work has been recognised through awards such as AIFST 2022 Young Food Microbiologist Award, 2022 Festival of Bright Ideas Stage Fellowship.

What is the coolest thing about being a scientist?

Being a scientist allows you to explore questions such as “how does this work?” Sometimes this question leads you to understand the awesome work that scientists before you have done in that field, and on some occasions lead you to discover something new yourself! Literally, no question is a silly question!

Why did you choose to follow this study/career path?

As a teenager, I was fascinated by the life sciences. How the human body functions, what’s the function of the cells, how diseases and their cures work. This fascination led me to pursue Biotechnology when I was in University in India. Slowly, I was more and more intrigued by the invisible world of microbes and how they help us in our foods, environmental balance, and health. I have followed microbes all the way to my PhD project here in Tasmania.

What are you working on right now that is especially exciting?

Finishing my thesis! To be able to take all the work that I have done in the past three years and putting it together to tell one big story is very exciting and pleasing (even if the process can be very challenging and demanding).

Do you have any advice for students considering studying science?

Be inquisitive, creative, communicative, and persistent. Without an inquisitive mind, you won’t start asking the questions that will interest you. Without creativity, you won’t be able to find the solutions, be it based on someone else’s study or your own. Without communication and openness, you won’t be able to discuss your idea with a wide range of audience and get perspective. Without persistence, you won’t stick around after the first attempt.