5 March 2024: Kasturika successfully defends her PhD!

There’s arguably no bigger event in a research group than a PhD defence. Two weeks ago, our PhD student Kasturika Shankar defended her thesis at a public defence in the Carl Kempe lecture hall. The defence was chaired by Paulina Wanrooij from our department (left in the picture below, with Kasturika on the right). The Opponent (i.e. main examiner) was Daniel Hurdiss from Utrecht University, Netherlands, and the committee consisted of Eleonore von Castelmur (Linköping), Magnus Wolf-Watz (Chemistry Department, Umeå) and Anna Arnqvist (Dept. of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Umeå).

After the initial presentations by Dr. Hurdiss and Kasturika, the core of the defence started: a more than hour-long discussion between Dr. Hurdiss and Kasturika, examining everything from details of individual experiments to the wider significance of the research. After this, the three committee members also asked several questions and general public was offered the opportunity to do the same before the closing the defence after approximately 2.5 hours.

After the committee convened, they announced their decision to award Kasturika a PhD in Medical Science. The sound of Champagne corks echoed across our lunch room and – some speeches and hugs later – there was time for a photo with Dr. Shankar (centre), the Opponent Dan Hurdiss (left) and the advisor (Lars, right).

Finally, the perhaps most important photo of the day: Kasturika surrounded by present and former lab members. A PhD is an individual achievement, but the kind of supportive environment that this group has formed is hugely benficial. From all of us: congratulations, Kasturika! You deserved this to 100%!