Padwoman's research is benefiting Animal, human and environment. All through Eco-friendly products.
Research is not a degree that you hold after finishing your thesis. It's not a doctorate before your name and not a certificate that you carry to secure high profile jobs. Research is a commitment to the community. Research is a word that you give to yourself that you will use your knowledge for the betterment of the community. Research is a disciplined act that gives rise to new theories to make lives better. It's a noble thing and so are researchers. This story of Preethi Ramadoss, a Ph.D scholar from Anna University shows the true meaning of a researcher to the world.
The Background Of A Courageous Soul:
Chennai based Preethi Ramadoss, completed her Engineering in Bioinformatics from SRM University in 2008. She then went on to obtain her Master's degree in Forensic Science from the University of Strathclyde. Later, in the year 2015, she started to pursue Doctor of Philosophy in Biomaterials from Anna University, Chennai. Ever since her childhood, Preethi was an inquisitive kid and she always looked for solutions to the constant day-to-day problems. She also loved pets but the family never had one fearing that they would make the house dirty. But Preethi's wish to embrace a pet came true in the form of Jessie, a stray dog, she and her mother let inside their house on one rainy day. It is this love for Jessie that made Preethi feel empathetic towards the unfed dogs in the Anna University campus. She started to feed them against the wish of a few professors there who raised serious objections. Brave Preethi wrote to the minister Maneka Gandhi who inturn ordered the University that they have no right to stop a student from feeding the animals. Though the university officials turned utterly upset with the girl writing to the minister, they had to eventually accept Preethi's work. This shows how brave this young soul is.
A Committed Researcher:
Preethi is not just doing her research by choosing a topic out of the suggestions provided by the guides. She had a vision in her mind that she wanted to develop. This animal lover and activist also thinks of the environment and this side of her led her to work upon the effects of the regular sanitary napkins on both humans and environment. She innovated plastic-free biodegradable sanitary napkin. She says that her sanitary napkins are made of cellulose derivatives. She used raw materials derived from plants, naturally occurring polysaccharides and polymers in developing the napkins that she says, degrade within just one month. Anna University's Crystal Growth Centre has tested the product on various parameters, including its liquid retention capacity and have found it to be efficient and eco-friendly. Professor Dr S Arivuoli, Preethi's supervisor said, "We had funding from the Department of Science and Technology initially. Now we are looking for investment that would help this project take wings,". For this innovative development that she took up in 2019, Preethi came to be called the "Padwoman".
In the year 2020, Preethi came up with yet another incredibly useful innovation. This innovation helps the diabetic people not to suffer needle pokes every time they have to test their blood sugar levels. While we know that the diabetic people poke the tip of their finger and transfer the blood droplet to a strip which goes into a glucometer, there are a few causes of concern here. While poking is not so comfortable, on the other hand, the strips are also quite expensive and are made of non-biodegradable plastic. This is where Preethi's innovation comes as a saviour yet again. Preethi, along with her guide Dr. Arivouli has developed a biodegradable, self-adhesive semiconductor that dissolves into human sweat and accurately detects the sugar and alcohol levels in the blood. This discovery came up while Preethi was working on a super-absorbent to develop the biodegradable sanitary napkin. She discovered a material which she didn't want to throw away suspecting that it would be of some use. She kept it aside wishing to learn more about its properties. She found out that it's a semiconductor and further research on it revealed that it detects glucose very well and can be used to monitor the glucose levels. She also said that the material decomposes in 15 days. "It is a composite of a cellulose derivative, derived from plants and wood. This natural semiconductor is a very flexible and transparent film like Sellotape. Usually, semiconductors are toxic, despite being able to give good results. But this is a film-like material and is non-toxic," she explains. The strip can also be connected to a smartwatch, that would in turn show the reading. The researcher said that upon commercial manufacturing, this material can cut down the cost of glucometer by three quarters. "We are hopeful to get it commercially manufactured and develop a device to use it in the next month. The aim is to develop it in the Anna University lab," says Dr Arivouli. Preethi also ensured that her innovation is cruelty-free. They have tested the strip for biocompatibility for which they have cultured skin cells in the laboratory instead of using the regular fetal bovine serum to grow cells, for which pregnant cows are slaughtered. "I used blood serum from the blood bank, which was cheap too," she said. The material is also antibacterial and thus, it can be safely used on any sensitive skin without the risk of any infections.
A researcher with a sensitive eye for the environment and also towards the creatures around only can make innovations that offer a wholesome benefit. Preethi Ramadoss is one such very few researchers whose work is helping the people as well as the environment. We wish many more such constructive inventions take birth from her laboratory.
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