Jhuma Das is a computational biophysicist at UNC Chapel Hill. Upon completing her undergraduate studies and Masters in Physics in her native country of India, she moved to the United States. Jhuma has a lifelong dream to contribute something significant in the field of human health. Currently, she is studying the etiology of severe human disorders by using the principles of physics as well as computer modeling. The ultimate goal of her work is to find effective therapies to combat fatal chronic diseases, such as Cystic Fibrosis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Asthma, and Pulmonary Fibrosis.
Jhuma dedicates her long days with utmost focus and diligence to medical biophysics research. However, she says her life is incomplete without “a dip in art.” Jhuma’s dedication to science and her love for art stem from a yearning to contribute positively to human lives. Jhuma says, “In science and in art, I have learned that challenges and obstacles are our most precious gifts. They are the stepping stones for discovery and ultimately, success. They provide us with limitless opportunities to learn and grow.”
Jhuma has been a painter and a dancer all of her life. She says, “Without art, my identity feels incomplete and dry.” At a very young age in India, she learned to draw and paint landscapes, still lifes, and portraits using pastels and water colors. Jhuma also has been trained in classical Indian dances
and different forms of Latin dance.
Jhuma explains, “As a scientist, a lot of times you are looked down upon when you have alternate pursuits, like dance or art. I have been told ‘You are not a dedicated scientist if you are doing other stuff.’ But in reality, my artistic life is what inspired me in my current work. Those creative thoughts and passions for doing something bigger, greater, and something that would have a lasting and significant impact on society is what made me decide to be a scientist.”
Jhuma has gone through long periods where her academic studies had to take precedence over her artistic pursuits, however, she always finds herself coming back to them. “Honestly, the day I decided to pick up my brushes again was one of the happiest days of my life. I was suddenly free again – in the world of colors and imagination. Be it painting, dance, or science, my approach to life is to connect with the living, breathing world through authentic expressions.”