NSERC Chair for
Women in Science & Engineering

Mousumi Majumder

Dr. Mousumi Majumder

Follow your passion. You can achieve anything and everything.

Assistant Professor, Biology
Brandon University

Dr. Majumder is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Biology at Brandon University. She got her Postdoctoral training in translational breast cancer research at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, and a Ph.D. degree in Cancer Genetics jointly from the Indian Statistical Institute, and Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India. Dr. Majumder received her M.Sc. with Microbiology special from Kalyani University, India, and B.Sc. with Hons. in Microbiology from the University of Calcutta, India.

Dr. Majumder is investigating the "Roles of miRNA in vertebrate growth and development". Her lab also works on Breast Cancer, validating a new drug target to abrogate Cancer Stem Cells, also known as stem like cells (SLCs), a small subset of tumor cells resistant to treatment and responsible for disease recurrence after treatment.

Recently, they identified two oncogenic miRNAs promoting SLCs, could be detected in patient’s blood. Currently, Dr. Majumder and her collaborators at University of Western Ontario and London Health Science Center, Ontario are trying to establish COX-2 induced miRNA as a breast cancer biomarker.

As an academic, what is your favourite part of your job?

I enjoy both research and teaching. Being an academician I am never going to get old, I am surrounded by young faces in every term at the university. I love to conduct research and train graduate and undergraduate students. The best experience for me when student comes up with a novel idea, unsolved, unknown in my area of research and the thrill they show to answer that question by conducting research in my laboratory.

What are you researching and what excites you about it?

My research interest is to investigate the roles of micro RNA (miRNA). miRNAs are mostly known for their roles in cancer development, hence targeted for many cancer therapies. In the funded NSERC project, I am investigating the roles of miRNA in our development and in angiogenesis or new blood vessel formation. Most exciting part of my research is to show the basic valuable and positive roles of these miRNA, which are popularly known for their disease causing functions

What types of professions can students graduating in your field enter?

In my area of research, once students graduate, they go for medicine, dentistry, pharmaceuticals, R&D in biotechnology farms (mostly molecular biology companies), lab instructor, lecturer, research associates, postdoctoral fellows, laboratory assistant, lab manager and pathologist.

Is your workplace male-dominated? If so, how do you negotiate being a woman in a male-dominated workplace and/or field?

No. My workplace is well distributed with both males and females. In my department of Biology, in recent times two men and two women were recruited at the same time.

How do you foster and encourage diversity in your workplace?

We spend most of our day in the workplace. Diversity is the pride of Canada. To begin with my own laboratory, I recruited graduate students according to their credibility. In my laboratory, I have recruited two women and one man, from different countries. While conducting teaching related lab works in the group, I always consider diversity and encourage the students to make the group as such.

What kinds of systemic support could institutions provide to help encourage girls and women to pursue careers in science and engineering?

ICAN-WISE is an excellent support programs and a great way to connect women mentees and mentors. Undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral scholarships are key opportunities to help women advance in STEM.

What advice would you give to girls or young women who are interested in careers in science or engineering?

Follow your passion. You can be a good daughter, sister, mother, friend, scientist, teacher, engineer, doctor, archaeologist or an astronaut. In short, you can achieve anything and everything. If you wish to pursue your career in science or engineering, your gender should not get in your way.

As a professional in science or engineering, who are your role models and mentors?

The role model of my life is my Mother, who taught me to smile in both the good and bad phases of life. In science, Prof. Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Nobel laureate 2009, is the scientist I look up to! Dr. Blackburn is a great human being, a symbol of humility and a great mentor. I am also influenced by my senior colleagues at work; I learn from them how to balance teaching, research, and motherhood at the same time.