I am ASCPT: Prerna Dodeja

Author: [AUTHOR] Published on 6/1/2023 12:00:00 AM

Prern Dodeja
Prerna Dodeja, MS, Doctoral Student, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA

Who has inspired you in your career?
I have been blessed with many mentors over the years, guiding me as I have trained to be a scientist. My father has played a significant role in fueling my curiosity from an early age and pursuing scientific discovery. Dr. Raman Venkataramanan (my advisor) and members of our lab have helped fuel my thinking and motivation toward improving patient therapies. My peers in the Clinical Pharmacology intern cohort at Gilead Sciences and their enthusiasm around scientific discovery have also been an infectious source of inspiration.

What has been the greatest challenge in your career?
For someone with predominantly neophiliac traits, developing the crucial tilt toward patience and perseverance to stay grounded while performing research has been a challenge. Moving from a rather sheltered Indian family upbringing to managing multi-tasking for pursuing research alone far from home has been educational and challenging.

Do you have a favorite tip or trick for clinical practice or research that you want to share with fellow members?
Having a strong emphasis on the discipline of record-keeping be it handling/storing lab samples or changes made to a pharmacometric model, helps reduce costly blunders. I also believe putting in the time to survey literature and learn as much background about the topic beforehand is worth it. As Abraham Lincoln once said: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” This may seem counterproductive initially but turns out to be more efficient in the long run.

When you are not working, how do you spend your free time?
I love to spend time outdoors! Going on nature trails and to parks is what relaxes me. I am also passionate about music and take out the time to play guitar whenever I can. Spending time with friends from work gives me an interesting variety of insights and food for thought to avoid boredom.

How do you keep focused and motivated?
In my opinion, the key to staying focused and motivated is just to get started. That is the hardest part. Once we have begun a task, we can break it down and approach it as we reach a “flow” state where work becomes easy. Also, even though pompous sounding, actually realizing that the journey is perhaps more important than the destination helps one to enjoy the process and fade away the fears about the outcome.

What was your childhood dream job?
I always wanted to be an astronaut and explore space. Apart from that, being an author was also high on the list. This I shall hope to achieve yet, through academic and scientific writing.

Prerna has been a member of ASCPT since 2022.

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