From the coastal mangrove forest of Sundarban (Bangladesh) to Plentzia
First publication date: 13/05/2021
I am Joyanta Bir, currently doing my PhD with the Cell Biology in Environmental Toxicology Consolidated Research Group (CBET) at Plentzia Marine Station (PiE - UPV/EHU) of the University of Basque Country. Prior to this, I did Erasmus Mundus master on Marine Environment and Resources (MER) for the session of 2015-2017.
I am coming from a very rural coastal village (Name: Laudobe under Khulna District) of Bangladesh, which is very close to the world largest coastal mangrove forest The Sundarban. I did my secondary education from this village school and then I moved to a city (Barishal) which is around 200 km. away from my village for my higher secondary education. After finishing higher secondary courses, I have admitted bachelor courses in Fisheries and Marine Resources Technology discipline of Khulna University, Bangladesh. I successfully completed my Bachelor studies in 2011 and stood first position with the president gold medal. After completing my graduation, I have been joined as a lecturer in the department of Fisheries and Marine Resources Technology discipline of Khulna University at 2012 and subsequently promoted as Assistant Professor at the same department at 2014. And still I am a permanent faculty in the same department.
From my childhood I cherished a deep dream to study in Europe. During my bachelor studies, I deeply intended to the study of Marine Biology and Ecology. That way I was looking for Master courses on the field of marine biology and ecology in elsewhere of Europe. I came to know about the Erasmus Mundus scholarship and I applied three mundus master courses and one master course under VLIR-OUS scholarship of Belgium at 2015. Fortunately, I was selected for VLIR-OUS scholarship and one mundus course (MER) that session. I was happy to award two scholarship at the same time but it was difficult for me to choose one. Finally, I decided to choose ERASMUS MUNDUS master “Marine Environment and Resources” (MER) because I have a fascination to be a marine biologist and I thought that MER is the best chose to fulfil my dream. This master is coordinated by the UPV/EHU and has the participation of the Universities of Bordeaux, Southampton and Liege.
For the first time I arrived at Europe (France) at September 2015 for pursuing my master at MER. It was a two years course and I have completed this MSc at September 2017. After that I back to Bangladesh and joined my faculty again.
I did my MSc thesis in PiE - UPV/EHU under the supervision of Professor Dr. Manu Soto. During my thesis research I felt an amazing research atmosphere (touch of The Bay of Biscay with Basque nature) and with highly skilled, friendly and cooperative researchers around the marine station. When I used to face any difficulties instantly I get very friendly support from them. The facilities at the Marine Station, including laboratories, equipment and aquarium rooms were modern and more than enough to study environmental health from a holistic and multidisciplinary perspective, cell biologists, ecologists, microbiologists, chemists, physics and geologists working together. And that's one of the main reasons to come here for my PhD research. This master MER made me highly motivated to study in the field of marine ecotoxicity and cell biology. I believe PiE - UPV/EHU is one of the best stations to conduct high quality research on these field.
After the Master, I went back to Bangladesh, to Khulna University, and meanwhile I tried several times to obtain a fellowship to come to the UPV/EHU, but every time funding was the main problem. At this time, I have come to know about pre-doctoral scholarship under the Ministry of Science Innovation and Universities of Spain. First time at 2018 I applied FPI call for a research project of Prof. Nestor Etxebarria of Analytical Research & Innovation research group at PiE - UPV/EHU and that time I was not success to award the position. Finally, I was succeeded to award this scholarship for the following year with another research project of Professor Dr. Ibon Cancio and Dr. Maren Ortiz Zarragoitia. This research mainly focuses on intersex condition and development of more effective biomarkers of exposure to xenoestrogenic compounds, and their link with abovementioned intersex condition. I am highly grateful to my supervisor for their continuous cooperation and cordial supports. I am also very grateful to the head of my discipline at Khulna University, Prof. Dr. Md. Abdur Rouf for his mental and official cooperation. Because it was not an easy journey for me to come here. I came here with my wife, so it was very difficult to manage all the necessary documents during the extensive Covid-19 situation. We had to spent too many times on road just to come to our capital from my home city. I needed to legalized all the documents from our ministry authority located in our capital. I was frustrated several times but I am lucky that every moment I got tremendous cooperation from my supervisors (Ibon and Maren). Even they extended my contract signing date due to procedural complications several times that was not an easy work. And I must want to give thanks to my wife as she inspired me all the ways. Finally, I arrived to Bilbao the 19th March and I signed my PhD contract at 22th March 2021. I am really happy to came back again to this fantastic research lab at Plentzia. I am very grateful to my supervisor and all the supportive staff on my long and difficult journey. It is time to start working hard!!!!