I am ASCPT: Lakshmi Manasa Chekka

Author: [AUTHOR] Published on 4/1/2024 12:00:00 AM

Lakshmi Manasa Chekka
Lakshmi Manasa Chekka, PharmD, PhD, Bioinformatics Scientist, US Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
My first scientific research grant during my PhD from the American Heart Association is one of my most proud accomplishments. The grant has strengthened my confidence as a researcher, and it snowballed into several important opportunities and achievements in the following years.

Who has inspired you in your career?
First, my mother is my greatest inspiration. She is a BPharm graduate, and a well-read and well-informed person who never ceases to amaze me. Growing up, she always used to help me with my studies, she used to read my lessons out and explain things to me before my teacher even got to it. I slowly realized that it allowed me to grasp the concepts better and faster in the class, and I started enjoying it. It used to be my secret strength and kept me at the top of my class consistently in my academic career. She inculcated in me an interest in chemistry and health sciences. The rest of my family has also been an inspiration in my life. My father, who never complained or skipped a day of work for 40 long years, taught me the importance of consistency and hard work for success. My sister is my confidante and inspires me to face challenges head on. Last, my husband is a positive role model for me, intellectually challenging and motivating me. He has taught me by his example that with a positive attitude, we can aim and achieve anything we desire. These four pillars of support have kept me motivated and inspired to achieve new heights in my career.

Do you have a favorite tip or trick for clinical practice or research that you want to share with fellow members?
This might be a common thing, but I learned this in a professional development seminar. In our busy schedules filled with lab experiments, regulatory reviews, communications, administrative tasks, and/or training, it is important that we read at least one article in our field of research every day, or if that is too much, one in 2 days. This way, we are setting a tangible goal to keep ourselves up to date with the recent developments in the field. I also learned along the way that setting small achievable goals for the day/week that contribute to a larger goal is very helpful to keep ourselves motivated along the process, be it an experiment, grant proposal, or manuscript writing.

When you are not working, how do you spend your free time?
I like all kinds of arts and crafts and DIY projects. In my free time, I like to paint, sculpt clay, or read a book. I also enjoy traveling and exploring new places. I am a trained classical dancer, but you can catch me grooving to any kind of music.

What was your childhood dream job?
Until high school, I wanted to be an astronaut, but during college I started enjoying chemistry more than physics. I wanted to be involved in health sciences and help patients. Somewhere during my undergraduate program, my dream of being a researcher started taking shape, and I am very glad about how things have turned out. In my current position with the US Food and Drug Administration, I am happy that my work impacts millions of people either directly or indirectly. Giving back to the community gives me great satisfaction.

Lakshmi has been a member of ASCPT since 2017.

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