International postdoctoral scholar helping fight bone cancer
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 17, 2023) — Originally from India, Namrata Anand now calls Lexington and the University of Kentucky home. A postdoctoral scholar in the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, Anand is part of a team conducting research into potential life-saving treatments for bone cancer. This rare type of cancer is most likely to affect those younger than 20 years old.
At UK, postdoctoral scholars often play a crucial role in cutting-edge research. For Anand, the opportunity to further research into treatments for this rare type of cancer was more than worth moving halfway around the world.
“We’ve made real strides with treatments for this type of cancer already, and it’s exciting to be part of this research, especially because I know what kind of impact our findings could have,” Anand said.
Anand is currently working under the mentorship of Jill Kolesar, Pharm.D., a professor of pharmacy at UK. Kolesar is also director of the UK Markey Cancer Center's Precision Medicine Clinic, co-chair of the Molecular Tumor Board and the co-leader of the Translational Oncology Program.
“I feel like I have been blessed to work under her supervision and mentorship,” said Anand. “She gives me the freedom to work and to look at all aspects when assigning a task. She always encourages me.”
Anand came to UK in late 2019 and anticipated being joined by her family in late 2020. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted these plans.
“It happened so suddenly,” said Anand. “Unfortunately, it meant putting a hold on my family coming to the U.S. It also meant that my research became much different, much more solitary.
“Being in a completely new place, a new job, and then having things suddenly shut down was such a challenge. It was certainly a stressful time. I was thankful for the support provided by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, as well as UK’s International Center.”
Towards the end of 2020, though, Anand’s family was finally able to join her in Lexington.
“It was a big relief to finally have them here,” she said.
After this stressful period, Anand settled into her new role and has been enjoying life at UK and in Lexington ever since. She takes advantage of UK’s Bike Voucher Program to explore campus and Lexington.
“Getting around campus by bike has been so easy and so fun," she said. "It’s been a great way to connect to the campus more and to Lexington.”
Since her family’s arrival, Anand has also taken advantage of some of the benefits of graduate housing, such as the community garden.
“It makes it feel like home being able to grow my own vegetables and other plants," she said. "It’s such a rare thing, but it just makes it feel that much more welcoming.”
Anand also credits UK with having state-of-the-art research facilities, which made her transition to a new environment easier and exciting.
“There were key resources available, and it felt as if great care went into the facilities. It made my arrival and adjustment a bit easier. I was able to utilize these resources and more fully engage with the university.”
Anand hopes to use her time as a postdoctoral scholar to launch a career as a faculty member in academia. She also plans to stay in the United States and continue her career and research in the place she now calls “home.”
“I’ve greatly enjoyed my time at UK," she said. "It has solidified my desire for a career in academia. I hope to be able to stay here in the U.S. to fulfill that goal.”