April 14, 2017
The spring semester hasn’t even wrapped yet, and Diptadip Dattaroy has already won four national awards during the early part of 2017. A doctoral candidate in the Arnold School’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences (ENHS), Dattaroy is on track to graduate with a Ph.D. in just 3.5 years. But the Arnold Fellow isn’t simply checking all of the boxes to get to graduation; he’s making the most of his time at UofSC.
Originally from Kolkata, India, Dattaroy earned bachelor’s (microbiology) and master’s (biophysics and molecular biology) degrees and gained experience as a research biologist at a pharmaceutical company before shifting his career goals to earning a Ph.D. in environmental health sciences.
“I have always been very much interested in doing my research on environmental pollutants and their disease-specific mechanisms on public health,” says Dattaroy. “I found that the Department of Environmental Health Sciences is dedicated to this niche of research. Plus, USC has a high research standard and a very friendly environment for international students.”
A graduate research assistant in Associate Professor Saurabh Chatterjee’s Environmental Health and Disease Laboratory (Chatterjee Lab), which specializes in how environmental toxins contribute to liver disease, metabolic syndrome, and obesity, Dattaroy has contributed to an array of collaborative projects. “I am glad to have Dr. Chatterjee as my mentor,” says Dattaroy. “He has always been very supportive and motivated me to do better research. He always encourages us to think outside the box.”
Dattaroy’s own line of research focuses on deciphering the molecular mechanisms through which environmental toxins and the built environment drive liver injury in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Using this information, he is trying to develop targeted therapeutic strategies using novel plant-derived compounds. The Breakthrough Scholar’s dedication to these areas of research has already resulted in nine peer-reviewed publications (three of them as first author with two more in preparation) and numerous scientific presentations.
As a reflection of his impact on the field, Dattaroy received the Ronald G. Thurman Student Travel Award from the Mechanisms Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology (SOT), the Dr. Harihara Mehendale Graduate Student Best Abstract Award from SOT, the Graduate Student Travel Support Award from SOT, and the Trainee Poster Award from the American Association of Immunologists.
In addition to his scholarly achievements, Dattaroy is also committed to service. He currently represents the ENHS department on the Arnold School’s Dean’s Student Advisory Council, and he has judged undergraduate research posters and high school science projects at UofSC’s Discovery Day and Science and Engineering Fair, respectively. Dattaroy mentors new members of the Chatterjee Lab as well as undergraduates through SOT. On top of his many educational, service, and professional pursuits, he somehow finds time to read, cook, sketch and listen to contemporary and classical Indian music.
“Utilize every research opportunity the school provides,” Dattaroy advises prospective students. “And communicate with faculty members and researchers from other disciplines and participate in multi-disciplinary research.”