My interview was on 13th may 2010 at GATE OFFICE, IISC Bangalore. My reporting time was at 1:30. The interview was conducted by the interview board B3. There were two interviewers in the panel. They were friendly and welcomed me with a smile. The interview was inside a class room. They occupied the front bench of class room. I was offered a seat at teachers table and chair (there was no platform as in our college). They asked me to submit the call letter and self attested verification form (Both were provided from site to all who were called for interview. It was downloaded on 5th May itself and had it filled by me.).
They asked me the name of college, university and year of degree.
They showed me list on the blue-board (instead of blackboard in our college) asked if they were the subjects we exactly studied. But some subjects were alien to me. I informed that all those subjects were not in our curriculum. The list was written by one candidate who was interviewed by them. So I was asked to write the list of subjects on board. I listed almost 13 subjects instead of the 6 on board and they were impressed by seeing the chemical subjects like CRE we studied. I wrote Biochemistry, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Enzyme Science and Engineering, Bioprocess, Plant and Animal Cell Technology, Chemical Reaction Engineering, Heat Transfer Operations, Mass Transfer Operations, Process Dynamics and Control, Transport Phenomenon, Mathematics. They interrupted me asking its enough and they were happy with this list.
Next was about my project. They asked what my project was. I said “ANALYSIS OF ENZYME CATALASE”. I continued saying that the enzyme catalase was studied for the kinetic parameters and compared that with enzyme peroxidase. The enzyme was studied to find the optimal conditions like optimum pH, temperature, etc.
One of them said that recently they have heard of tissue regeneration technology, i.e., the use of self tissue instead of artificial materials. How is it possible to replant organs like kidneys? I answered, “Stem cells are used for this. Stem cells are capable of regenerating into complete tissue. These cells are pluripotent and hence they can divide and differentiate into a complete tissue by the reception of correct chemical signals. The stem cells are packed inside a bio-degradable polymer and are placed in place where the tissue is to be regenerated. This can be used in regeneration of tissue or organ to replace the old damaged tissue.” (Thanks to Gayathri mam, I could answer this question only because she mentioned about this during Bioprocess Technology class when she taught about PHBV and Xantham gum biopolymers.)
Can polymers be used for this? Polymers are harmful to human body, hena? I answered “All polymers are not harmful. Only polymer which gets degraded inside our body is used for this purpose”. The second interviewer supported me and said all polymers are not harmful.
You have written there you have undergone a course on Enzyme Science and Technology. What are enzymes? I replied, “Enzymes are biological catalysts that convert substrate to product. They help in reducing the activation energy of reaction. They won’t undergo a change during the process but helps to speed up the reaction”. “Ok, what is the mechanism or governing rule of enzyme reaction?” I replied, “Single substrate reactions are governed by Michaelis-Menton kinetics.”
In your chemical reaction engineering course you have studied of speed of a reaction. What are the factors and governing equations of speed or rate of reaction? I answered, “The speed or rate of a reaction is given by K0e-E/RTCAn. The rate of reaction depends on Temperature, concentration of substrate and order of reaction.”
What did you study under microbiology course? “We studied about the different microorganisms and classification. We studied about the different techniques to isolate pure culture, enumeration of cells in given sample, different staining techniques, microbial genetics, etc.”
Next they noticed about Bioprocess that I have listed among subjects. They asked what exactly is Bio-processing. I answered “The use of living cells for the benefit of humans is called bioprocessing. Bioprocessing includes upstream processing, fermentation technology and downstream processing. The upstream processing part involves the selection of micro-organism, plant or animal cell for the production of required products. Strain improvement is done by recombinant DNA technology. The fermentation part involves the production process inside a bioreactor or fermentor. The reactor is operated under controlled conditions of pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, etc to provide the necessary conditions needed for product formation. The product is separated and purified by downstream processing.”
What is life? “Life is the external manifestation of sum total of all metabolic activities inside a cell.” Which do you think cell or DNA is the basic unit of life? “Cell is the basic unit of life and DNA or genetic material is the control centre of life. A complete cell is needed for life to exist. DNA controls all processes and activities that is necessary for life.” Are all cells in your skin alive? “All cells in skin are not alive. Some of the cells are dead.”
Have you heard of Millers experiment? “Yes sir. Urey-Miller experiment was performed to prove that life originated from abiotic components.” Ok, explain it. “Miller simulated the atmosphere of early world inside a chamber. To this environment lightning was provided by introducing electric discharges. At the end of experiments he obtained protobiotins which meant that the life can be created by abiogenesis. But the molecules produced were not true life forms but were only protobiotins.”(Thanks to Lageesh sir who taught me biology in plus one and plus two)
The interview was very nice and it was a great experience. The IISC campus was worth visiting but couldn’t roam inside it for long time as security insisted us not to roam inside.