Anusha Konetti: "I am here thanks to Vicente Ferrer himself and other coincidences"

The Hub and the Vicente Ferrer Foundation (VFF) have signed a health collaboration agreement over two years ago

As a result of this institutional relationship, in March 2011, IDIBELL and VFF signed a collaboration that includes a program that offers students in biomedicine from India the possibility to do their PhD. Thesis in IDIBELL.

Anusha Konetti is the first student to benefit from this program. In her country she graduated in biology and did a masters in molecular biology. Now, thanks to this agreement, is doing his PhD in the laboratory of neuropathology in IDIBELL.  Anusha wants to be a role model for students, especially for girls, in rural areas of Anantapur, India.

What are your interests in research, what is the goal of your  thesis?

I’ve always been interested in neuroscience. First, I wanted to be a doctor but then I studied biology, which has opened a door to study what happens in the human body. In the laboratory of  Isidro Ferrer I am studying biochemical aspects of Parkinson’s disease in search of biomarkers that help us understand the disease and, in the future, find new therapeutic applications.

Why Parkinson?

When I finished my undergrad studies I had no clear where I was heading. In fact, it was  Vicente Ferrer himself  who guided me towards this research. I studied at 300 km from Anantapur and when I came home he always asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up and I did not know what to say. He told me to study to cure of his disease, Parkinson’s, and I replied “But father, this how we call him, I said well, I am not a doctor,” ” then study the disease so others can cure it.” He showed me the way and in the fact that I am here now is because he is watching over me from heaven and blesses me from there.

So how did you end up here?

There have been a number of coincidences, that is way I think that he has something to do with it. Just a year after the death of Vicente Ferrer, Dr. Xavier Corbella manager Bellvitge Hospital went to Anantapur. I was studying in Mysore, more than 300 kilometers away, but by chance we spoke on the phone. We talked for about twenty minutes, and I asked him if he had contacts in the United States because I wanted to go to continue my studies there, and he said I could also do a PhD in IDIBELL in Barcelona.

More coincidences. In September 2010 I came to visit the research groups and see if we could work together. Isidro Ferrer was out but finally we were able to meet one afternoon. We talked for one hour, he showed me the labs and I thought that that was the place where I wanted to work.

Time went by and on March 2011 Xavier Corbella and CEO of IDIBELL Emilia Pola, traveled to India signed the official agreement with the Foundation Vicente Ferrer.

How was the adjustment?

At first everything was difficult for bureaucratic reasons: obtaining visa, approval of my studies … I lost a lot of time fetching the papers and I thought that Iwould not arrive on time to start a PhD. Luckily people like Xavier Corbella, Marga Nadal and Emiliá Pola helped me a lot. The truth is that I do not know how to thank them for all they have done for me. It was a hard time but in the end everything was resolved and now I’m very happy here. I live with a nice family and at the laboratory I have very good colleagues.

And how about a new city, a new culture?

The truth is that I do not go out much, I have learned how to  use the underground  to go to my different classes. My parents would not like it if I adapted too much to a Western culture and they have total confidence in me. I am happy with my host family and my lab colleagues.

What are your future plans?

I really want to do a PhD thesis and present it, and after a postdoctoral stay but I do not know whether here or elsewhere. In any case, I think my future will be tied to education. I think it is essential for the development of individuals and of society. Somehow I would like to help convey this message, especially for girls in India who believe that their only future is to be married and depend on their husband. If I go back I would like to create programs within the Vicente Ferrer Foundation to do so. Or at least go back once a year to help them convey this idea.

Do you think that you will become a role model for young people at Vicente Ferrer Foundation in Anantapur?

I hope so. I Work and study hard to be one, and thus helping the Foundation. In fact, my case is a little different because I was not part of the students accepted by the Foundation but my parents have worked for over 30 years in the organization founded by Vicente Ferrer. In any case, I have an obligation to the Vicente Ferrer Foundation, to make my dreams come true.  I Hope this helps other students to realize how important a education is.

March 2012

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