Summer of Science Spotlight of Meenakshi Bhattacharjee, PhD

Meenakshi Bhattacharjee, PhD has over 35 years of experience in algal studies

Jul 3, 2023

by Meenakshi Bhattacharjee, PhD

Introduce yourself and describe your work

I am an internationally renowned algal biotechnologist with about 35+ years of experience decorated with several awards and distinctions. In 2023, I was nominated as one of the Top 50 Women Leaders of Houston. I work as a Professor of Research at Rice University, an advisor, and an independent consultant.

What do you consider to be your most important career achievement or discovery?

My career highlights and achievements are related to algal biotechnology which gives products like biofertilizers, biofuel, biopesticides, algal bioactive molecules, single-cell proteins, bioremediation of wastewater, green energy source, and extremophiles.

During times of imposter syndrome or feelings of discouragement, what or who helped you persevere?

My biggest strength is believing in myself and God. This deep belief in myself and my intellectual abilities gives me the courage to overcome all odds in life and gives me the courage to persevere.

How does your work impact people and the world around us?

My work on using eco-friendly algae in solving burning environmental problems, the use of algae to fight malnutrition, and high-value products such as omega-3, astaxanthin, vitamins, antibiotics, animal feed fish feed, and sources of green energy have an impact worldwide.

What is a unique fact about your career/industry?

I consider advising and mentoring 25 PhD students, all of whom are female, through obtaining their degrees a very unique phenomenon in my career. Educating women is a way of improving the generations to come with a proper and balanced life.

What advice do you have for other women or nonbinary individuals considering this field?

For women who want to join algal R&D, my advice is to go ahead fearlessly without doubting one’s own capabilities. I strongly believe that you don’t know how far you can fly because unless you fly you don’t know to what heights you can reach.