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"If you want to work on some of the most important engineering problems of your generation, and have the desire and humility to work with and learn from passionate and highly talented peers, there is no better place than MIT."

 

 

 

 

 

Dhananjaya Dendukuri, PhD '07

Various members of my family had studied at MIT and always spoke of the experience in glowing terms. When I was an undergraduate, I became interested in chemical engineering and I knew that MIT was considered the Mecca of engineering, so I was excited to come here to do research. I was pleasantly surprised by the strong sense of community at ChemE, yet I wasn't sure exactly what kind of research I wanted to do. I was greatly inspired by my advisors, especially Pat Doyle. When I needed help he was always there, but he also gave me the freedom to tackle problems on my own. He taught me the importance of clearly defining problems that will have a high impact, taking a first-principles approach to problem-solving, and applying rigor, thought, and detail in my work.

Ultimately, my research area was microfluidic particle synthesis, and my project resulted in the development of a novel process to synthesize micron-sized polymeric particles with unprecedented control over shape and chemistry. This work is proving to be of great importance in fields as diverse as medical diagnostics and self-assembly. Looking back on my experience after being away for a year — I am currently Lead Scientist at Connexios Life Sciences in Bangalore, India — I would say that what makes ChemE unique is the mix of smart, passionate students; faculty who constantly redefine the boundaries of research in their areas; and the excellent resources.