Indian Women, Transgender and Non-binary Persons in Science 2022-23

The fifth edition of TLoS's yearly desktop calendar has been launched. It features 48 Indian women, transgender and non-binary persons working in various fields of science.
By | Published on Feb 11, 2022

Since 2018, we have found our annual tradition: production of our Indian women, transgender and non-binary persons in science calendar. The initial versions of the calendar were geared towards highlighting contributions of individual women scientists, this changed in 2020. We have realised that the “women in science” framing is too narrow to encapsulate experiences of people from marginalised genders and have, since 2021, broadened the scope of the calendar to include transgender and non-binary persons.

Moreover, we have also moved away from highlighting contributions of individual people on each page to a more thematic representation of the Indian science ecosystem. The 2021 calendar highlighted various roles — from administrators to principal investigators to science journalists, technicians and more — that keep Indian science running.

This year, we tried something different. We identified several concepts as our broad themes for each page. The page for each concept — for example, neurodivergence, the pandemic or model organisms — showcases the contributions of several people working in the field. We’ve tried our best to curate a diverse list of ~50 Indian women, transgender and non-binary persons, many of who were also featured in our #365IndianWomeninScience initiative.

Some of the people featured in this calendar have fought long-drawn public health battles, some have helped us understand how we create and process music, some have charted out the path for us to live harmoniously with other beings on the planet, some have helped us understand lacks in science and science practice — the list is really endless!

What’s more? We are also offering a calendar/planner that you can use to plan your days on!

As we launch our calendar today, 11 February 2022, to mark the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we hope you will support our endeavour by ordering a copy for yourself (links to order below). By getting a calendar or a calendar/planner you will supporting activities on TheLifeofScience.com for the next year that aim to investigate the gaps in Indian science, host a sociocultural dialogue with the Indian science community, and promote diversity and equity in Indian academia. We suggest you order ASAP, since we only have a few copies left. Thanks for the support!

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Meet the people featured!

Read more about the fantastic people who have been featured in our calendar below:

Those We Lost, February 2022

Priya Iyer 

Priya was a researcher in mathematical theory and modelling in evolution at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. She was also a mentor and a source of strength and support to many in the science and conservation community. She passed away in January 2021. Priya’s friends, colleagues and collaborators remember her in this article on TheLifeofScience.com

Anjali Shiras: 

Anjali was a pioneering stem cell biologist at National Centre for Cell Science in Pune.  Her lab has been one of the first in the world to identify a pair of long noncoding RNA and show its role in cancer. She passed away due to COVID-19 in October 2020. You can read more about Anjali in this obituary where she is described to be deeply involved in the growth and evolution of NCCS.

Rathnasree Nandivada: 

Rathnasree was an astronomer, science communicator, and science historian, who was the Director of Delhi’s Nehru Planetarium for over 20 years, until she passed away from COVID-19 in May 2021. You can read a children’s book based on her life here.

Rinti Banerjee

Rinti was a researcher at IIT Bombay specialising in integrative healthcare technology. She passed away from post COVID complications in July 2021. She was involved in several coronavirus-related research and innovations, and known to have been a great mentor, teacher and HoD. In this video, Rinti is seen speaking about her transition from being a medical doctor to BioMed research.

The COVID-19 Pandemic, March 2022

Aqsa Shaikh

Aqsa serves as a nodal officer at a vaccination centre and on working towards TransCare Covid-19, a qualitative study documenting the healthcare experiences of transgender persons during this pandemic. She is a community medicine practitioner and an associate professor at the Hamdard Institute of Medical Science and Research, New Delhi. She is one of the researchers involved in Sputnik V vaccine trials and is an advocate for trans-affirmative public healthcare. The proud Muslim trans woman is profiled in this comix on TheLifeofScience.com 

Priscilla Rupali

Priscilla Rupali is an expert on infectious diseases and a professor at Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she took up the challenge of preparing treatment guidelines for patients affected with COVID-19 in the face of shifting evidence. Science journalist Priyanka Pulla (who was herself featured on the 2021 labhopping calendar) interviewed her on this work here. A podcast where Priscilla talks about her other projects can be heard on TheLifeofScience.com.

Chandrakala Meena

Chandrakala is a physicist, faculty and researcher in nonlinear dynamics, complex systems and network analysis at National Chemical Laboratory in Pune. Her contributions to modelling coronavirus spread supported the government of Israel during the pandemic. She won the DST-INSPIRE Faculty Fellowship in 2019. More of her multidisciplinary work can be found here.

Priya Abraham

Priya Abraham leads National Institute of Virology in Pune as Director and is known for spearheading the institution’s efforts in understanding the COVID-19 pandemic. Under her direction, NIV-Pune stepped into the study of the SARS-Cov-2 virus, isolating and characterising it. A report on her work at NIV is here. As part of the medical research community at Christian Medical College she has done a lot of work on Hepatitis and other viral infections in India.

Reeteka Sud

Reeteka is a neuroscientist who coordinates the Accelerator program for Discovery in Brain disorders using Stem cells at National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru. She is also actively involved in science outreach and communication. With other Indian scientists she initiated IndSciCOVID or ISRC – Indian Scientists’ Response to CoViD-19, a voluntary group working to create and gather evidence based resources to take on the pandemic. Some articles by her can be found here.

Neurodivergence, April 2022

Shubha Nagesh

Shubha is a physician and global health professional based in Dehradun, Uttarakhand where she works with the Latika Roy Foundation, an organisation supporting families with children with developmental disabilities. She strives to make childhood disabilities a global health priority.​​ She speaks of the challenges in her work with families during the pandemic in this video here and has written profusely on including people with disabilities in global equity, be it for vaccine access or climate action.

SS Meera

Meera is a speech pathologist focusing on interventions for infant-toddlers at risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder. She also studies language development in children from various socio-economic and multilingual backgrounds. She leads the Infant-Toddler Language Development and Intervention Lab (LiL’) lab at NIMHANS Bengaluru. One can read more about her and her work on the lab website.

Rachelle Bharati Chandran

Rachelle is a writer-poet and an independent researcher whose work lies in the intersection of intergenerational trauma, aesthetics, gender and neurodivergence in Dalit communities. Listen to zir speak about casteism in Indian academia here. Among much of zer writing is also this story on navigating healthcare. 

Chetana Sachidanandan 

Chetana is a neurodevelopmental biologist who runs the Chemical Genetics lab at CSIR- Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in Delhi, where she models conditions such as dyslexia, ADHD & Autism Spectrum Disorders in zebrafish embryos. She also writes a science blog and has written many articles in national media on her own science and other related topics. More about her on her website.

Mathematics, May 2022

Siddhi Pathak

Siddhi completed her PhD from Queen’s University, Canada in 2019, after which she was a S. Chowla Assistant Research Professor at Penn State. She is now an INSPIRE faculty at the Chennai Mathematical Institute, India. Her work utilises analytic and probabilistic techniques to investigate the arithmetic nature of special values of L-functions. One can read more about her work here.

Sugandha Maheshwary 

Sugandha is a mathematician at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali, who works on group rings and their structure. She is a member of the Core Committee of the Indian National Young Academy of Sciences and has often been regarded as an inspiring teacher and mentor. One can read more about her work here.

Mita Tarafder 

Mita Tarafder at the CSIR-National Metallurgical Laboratory in Jamshedpur where she explores the field of fractal mathematics to analyse high resolution images of metals. She also uses the concept of fractals to bring about positive social change through education. To know more, watch this TEDx talk she delivered about her work. She has won many awards and is involved in many projects involving outreach for children including the Make My Robo programme and Digital Literacy Mission.

Flora and Fauna, June 2022

Keerthipriya P

Keerthipriya is an evolutionary biologist with a PhD from the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research. She collected a vast amount of long-term field data from Bandipur & Nagarhole Parks to study the social relationships of male Asian elephants. A report on her work can be read here on TheLifeofScience.com

Mehreen Khaleel

Mehreen is a Kashmir-based primatologist studying the Langur in the Himalayas who founded the Wildlife Research and Conservation Foundation, an NGO providing wildlife & biodiversity education to the people of Kashmir. Here is a talk Mehreen delivered in December 2020. In this article by 101 Reporters she talks about her experiences while working on wildlife conservation amid conflict.

Vanjulavalli Sridhar

Vanjulavalli Sridhar is currently Deputy Conservator of Forests, Puducherry. She works to enforce environment protection laws in remote settings in the Andoman & Nicobar Islands. One can read more about her journey in this report on Mongabay India

Noorunnisa Begum S

Noorunnisa is a plant taxonomist at The University of Trans-Disciplinary Health Sciences and Technology in Bengaluru. She is an expert in herbarium techniques and is now working on a virtual database for the flora of Andaman and Nicobar. Here is a profile featuring her that was published as part of Season 6 on TheLifeofScience.com

The Universe, July 2022

Shilpa Dubal

Shilpa is an observer at the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) at Khodad, which gives astronomers access to the goings-on in distant galaxies, jets of particles moving at speeds close to the speed of light, stars that are invisible in the optical wavelengths, and many other fascinating astronomical objects. Shilpa is responsible for managing and troubleshooting activities of the GMRT. Here is an article profiling her published on thelifeofsicence.com.

GC Anupama 

Anupama is a professor at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru. She is also the current President of the Astronomical Society of India (ASI), the first woman to hold this position. She served as the professor-in-charge of the Indian Astronomical Observatory in Ladakh, one of the few telescopes in the world situated at high altitudes. You can read more about her in this interview

Harvinder Kaur Jassal

Harvinder is a physicist at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali, where she works on general relativity, cosmology and astroparticle physics. She is interested in the early universe and late-time acceleration believed to be driven by dark energy. She is also a member of the Working Group for Gender Equity of the Astronomical Society of India. She speaks about her work in this video.

Rubinur Khatun

Rubinur Khatun works as an astrophysicist at the National Centre for Radio Astronomy (NCRA) in Pune. Investigating dual Active Galactic Nuclei which can be formed by galaxy mergers. She uses data from the Very Large Array observatory as well as the ultraviolet imaging telescope on ASTROSAT. You can read more about her field of work in this paper she co-authored in 2020.

Model Organisms, August 2022

Geetanjali Mishra 

Geetanjali Mishra is a behavioural ecologist and teacher at University of Lucknow working on evolutionary questions using the ladybird as a model system. She has addressed scientific questions in fields such as life history, temperature adaptation and inter-sexual coevolution. Here is a recent study from her lab.

Shampa M. Ghosh 

Shampa is an evolutionary biologist who set up Bhubaneswar’s first Drosophila research laboratory at Kalinga Institute of International Technology. She has done pioneering work in experimental evolution and evolutionary developmental biology. She talks about her work in this video.

Phalguni Alladi 

Phalguni studies the role of ethnicity in determining risk of developing Parkinson’s disease using animal models at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru. She is an advocate of kindness in academia and is known to be a great mentor. Here is a short video on her journey.

Rohini Londhe 

Rohini is a Technical Officer at Agharkar Research Institute, Pune. She successfully maintained the hydra facility through frequent lockdowns and ensured its supply to various institutes for teaching & research during the pandemic. You can find out lots more about her work in text, visual & video form & also in Marathi, here on TheLifeofScience.com

Engineering, September 2022

Ratnamala Chatterjee

Ratnamala is a professor and materials scientist at the Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, where she heads the Magnetic and Advanced Ceramics lab. Her group investigates magnetic and electronic properties of solids. She is the coordinator of the national facility of ​​SQUID magnetometer that can create conditions for taking measurements in a magnetic field of 70KOe. More about her here.

Namrata Gundiah

Namrata is a mechanobiologist and professor at the department of mechanical engineering at  Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. She also works on biomaterials. She has three patents to her credit. Here is a recent publication from her lab.

Saakshi Dhanekar

Saakshi is an assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Jodhpur, where she works on microfabrication, and gas- and bio-sensors. She received the first prize in Tata Hackathon 2017, and was also a recipient of the IEEE Hall of Fame Award for Young Professionals, 2019. Catch a glimpse of working in a fabrication lab in Saakshi’s own words here on TheLifeofScience.com

Aparna Akula

Aparna works as a principal scientist at the Centre of Excellence in Intelligent Sensors and Systems, Central Scientific Instruments Organisation in Chandigarh. Her research is geared towards building sensors using Computer Vision, Signal and Image Processing, Machine Intelligence and Multi Sensor Data Fusion approaches. One can read more about her here.

Food, October 2022

Sylvia Karpagam 

Sylvia is a public health doctor and researcher, whose interests lie in investigating social determinants of health. She has written extensively at the intersections of caste, nutrition and public health. Some of her writings can be accessed on her website here.

Radha Gopalan

Radha earner her PhD in environmental science and engineering from IIT, Mumbai, and is currently a visiting faculty at the School of Development, Azim Premji University. She worked with children and young adults to make natural history and science learning more engaging for school students. She also engages with issues of food sovereignty, and is a crusader for social and environmental justice. One can read some of her writings here.

Purnima Menon

Purnima is a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute, where she directs Partnerships and Opportunities to Strengthen and Harmonize Actions for Nutrition in India (POSHAN). She is also interested in bridging the gap between academic research on nutrition and policy development. One can read more about her work here.

Music, November 2022

Shantala Hegde

Shantala is a neuropsychologist at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bengaluru. She studies music cognition from both basic sciences and clinical application perspectives. She is also a trained musician in the Hindustani tradition. To know more about her and her work, check out her lab website here.

Vinoo Alluri

Vinoo heads the music cognition group at the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad. Her team and she study music processing in the brain, and the relationship between music and depression. Her current work hopes to identify the risk of depression in individuals based on their music-listening habits. One can check out her current research projects here.

Samira Agnihotri 

Samira is a senior editorial assistant at the Office of Communications, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. For her PhD, she worked on birdsongs, particularly those by the Greater Racket-Tailed Drongos. Her MSc work resulted in bilingual CDs of recordings of more than 100 species of birds. A podcast featuring her can be found here

Manjari Jain

Manjari is a behavioural ecologist at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali, where she studies the ecology, evolution and perception of sound-based (acoustic) communication in animals. In her work, she uses a combination of theoretical and experimental approaches, and she has worked on several model systems including fishes, birds, insects and mammals. Here is an interview of her where she talks about the need for affirmative action in Indian science.

HIV & AIDS, December 2022

Amrita Sarkar

Amrita is an activist and resource person involved in advocacy for transgender and marginalised communities since 2000. She currently works at Alliance India as the advisor in transgender wellbeing and advocacy. Here is her TEDx talk on inclusive education and here is a comix by TheLifeofScience.com based on her work.

Aparna Banerjee

Aparna is a Kolkata-based transgender-rights activist who has been spreading awareness of the risks of sexually transmitted infections, the risks of undergoing surgeries from untrained professionals and self-medication practices among hijra communities in her state. She is also a vocal advocate for political representation of transgender persons in decision-making bodies. Here is a comix based on her work that was published here on thlifeofscience.com.

Ritu Gaur

Ritu Gaur is a disease biologist at South Asian University, New Delhi, studying host-pathogen interactions in HIV infections. Her work has contributed to the development of maturation inhibitors as a novel class of anti-HIV retroviral drugs. You can find out more about her in this interview

Varsha Shridhar

Varsha Shridhar is a molecular biologist and entrepreneur. In 2016, she co-founded Molecular Solutions Care Health LLP (MSCH), a company focused on making diagnostics accessible to all. Its early years were focused on developing in-house HIV drug resistance genotyping and viral load testing. Varsha aims to set up a network of labs at primary health care centres so people can access even advanced tests in a timely and accessible manner. You can listen to her talk about her work in a video here.

Feminist Science Studies, January 2023

Ayush Gupta

Ayush is a faculty at the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Mumbai. Having completed a PhD in Electrical Engineering, their research interests now include physics and engineering education. They are interested in how ideologies and power intersect with learning, with a focus on how engineering students think about the relationship between technology and society. They have spoken previously about the need to expand the definition of scientific misconduct and how seniority, caste and gender shape experiences of people in science as part of a TheLifeofScience.com webinar.

Asha Achuthan 

Asha Achuthan is a faculty member at the Advanced Centre for Women’s Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. She is also the chair of the women and gender development cell there. Originally trained in medicine, her current research interests include feminist critiques of the relationship between gender and biomedicine. To know more about her journey, check out this feature published here in Season 6 of TheLifeofScience.com 

Aswathy Raveendran

Aswathy is a faculty member at the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Mumbai, where she works on science-technology-society studies. Her work is inspired by the idea that science can not be taught in a neutral or value-free way, and that teachers and writers of science textbooks need to critically examine what values they inculcate in students when they teach in a classroom or write a science textbook. Here is a recent paper of hers where she talks about how students adopt different ethical and political perspectives when discussing controversial medical technologies like commercial surrogacy.

Computer Science, February 2023

Poovizhi P

Poovizhi  is a software engineer and STEM teacher. Her research interests are image processing and computer networks. She supports children from rural areas in learning STEM at STEM land, a learning and resource centre in Auroville. In this video she talks about the digital divide in urban and rural communities in India and also genderism adds to this divide in our technology driven society. 

Neeldhara Misra

Neeldhara iis the Smt Amba and Sri VS Sastry Chair Associate Professor in Computer Science at IIT Gandhinagar. She works on algorithm design, computational social choice and combinatorial games. She is also interested in making computational thinking a part of school education, and in using visual tools and narratives for communication. If you’d like to explore her work in greater detail, please check out her website here.

Kalika Bali

Kalika is a researcher working with Microsoft Research, India. Her areas of expertise are machine learning, natural language processing and technologies for emerging markets. She is keenly interested in developing natural language processing and speech technologies for Indian languages. To know more about her work, check out her TEDx talk here.

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Meet our artist

Curious about who made the calendar so beautiful and intriguing? It is our pleasure to introduce Ipshita Thakur, artist and illustrator who has helped us produce a visually emotive calendar this year! Ipshita is a visual artist & illustrator living in New Delhi, India. They are interested in science fiction, natural history, queer bodies/politics and nostalgia. Their praxis includes documenting and collecting images, objects and found materials in order to develop a visual language full of little details and overlapping meanings in order to engage with the project at hand. When not drawing or making digital collages, they are often found playing immersive video games like Life is Strange or trying to keep their plants alive. They studied fine arts at Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore. Notable exhibitions include the group shows Etiquette I & II at The Substation, Singapore and Me/We, a group show featuring queer south Asian artists at The American Centre, New Delhi. They’ve been working as a visual artist & illustrator for the last eight years.

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Download links: If you would like to take a look at our calendar, please check out the link below. The calendar, as always, is free to download as a PDF!

DOWNLOAD PDF VERSION OF LABHOPPING CALENDAR 2022

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Credits: Produced by Nandita Jayaraj, Aashima Dogra, Sayantan Datta and Aishwarya Viswamitra | Design and illustrations by Ipshita Thakur | Logistics partner: SciRio.in | The production of this calendar was made possible thanks to all crowdfunders of season 6 of TheLifeofScience.com, a grant we received from the Thakur Family Foundation and a contribution from Arun Shukla from IIT-Kanpur. Neither our crowdfunders or the Thakur Family Foundation have exerted any editorial control over the contents of the calendar.

About the author(s)
TLoS Team
TLoS Team

thelifeofscience.com or TLoS is a feminist science media collective based in India

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