Below is the SOP that I have written for PhD application at IRB. They did not mention any word-limit. This is my first attempt to write an SOP. Please provide valuable feedback and necessary corrections. Thank you.
The numbers of fields to choose from for research in pharmacology are enormous. I would like to pursue a research career in the field of diabetes. Diabetes is a major health-care problem that is riveting the attention of health-care professionals in many countries across the world. I take this opportunity to illustrate why I would like to pursue doctoral research in metabolic diseases at the Institute of Biomedical Research, Barcelona.
I have completed my post graduation degree- Master of Pharmacy specializing in pharmacology from *** University in August, 2010. During my high-school, my much-loved subject was chemistry, especially organic chemistry. It was this liking for the subject that led me to choose pharmacy as a course for my graduation. Since I was particular about which institution I pursued my higher studies, I chose *** college of Pharmaceutical Sciences which has been ranked amongst the top 5 pharmacy colleges in India. I qualified the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) in the third year of my undergraduate course, which entitled me to receive scholarship from AICTE (All-India Council of Technical Education) for my post-graduate studies. My penchant for pharmaceutical organic chemistry and its overlaps into biology in drug discovery and development led me to pursue masters in pharmacy, specializing in pharmacology. During this course, I worked very hard, studying in detail both basic pharmacology and physiology and various techniques involved in pharmacological screening of drugs.
My first research project was the post-graduation dissertation work titled "Influence of XYZ Derivatives on Diabetic Neuropathy and Diabetic Nephropathy" which was carried out under the guidance of Dr. ***, Professor. The reason I chose this project was because I always wanted to carry out research in the field of metabolic diseases and I wanted something really innovative in my project. During the initial days of my project, I was really anxious as to what direction it would take, since this was the first time someone had taken up this kind of project in our department. Previous research work in our department comprised mainly on developing novel molecules for the treatment of diabetes as such and did not target the complications of diabetes. However, with continuous efforts on improvising and validating the methodology used for the experiments and some amount of technical advice from research scholars in other institutions, I managed to complete the project fairly well.
Though the hypothesized activity of the test drugs was not demonstrated in my project, in the end I was glad because I could successfully execute my ideas and methods. Not only this, the fact that my dissertation work scored the highest among all the others in the pharmacology department that year further boosted my morale. In addition to this studying the pathophysiology and molecular mechanisms involved in diabetes, aroused my interest in the biochemical basis of both the disease and its treatment. The sound theoretical background that I gained in cellular and molecular pharmacology under the guidance of Dr. **** during my Master's program has given me a significant insight into the molecular basis of disease and therapeutics, this in turn has motivated me to take a step further with regard to my research experience so far.
I would like to take up a PhD project that requires a detailed dissection of the molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases. Though I have come across discussions involving molecular medicine in journal clubs and seminars, I have always been yearning for an opportunity to carry out this sort of research by myself under the guidance of renowned scientists and academicians, I feel confident that if selected for a research project involving techniques in cellular and molecular biology, I will be able to master them with perfection, keeping in mind that I always willing to put in hard-work and am determined to deliver the best I can to anything I do.
This year I find myself in that difficult and frustrating transitional period between graduate and doctoral studies. Though I would have preferred to directly continue PhD after graduation, I opted to take some time off. A few months away from school, I reasoned, would afford me the time needed to recuperate from an exhaustive post-graduate education, gain some perspective. And, finally, this l has given me sufficient time to search and research for graduate programs that best suit my needs.
This is when I came across the "la Caixa"/IRB Barcelona International PhD Programme advertised on Nature.com. Upon going through the research activities at IRB, I found that the institution has an excellent record in research in the field of diabetes. The research programs that greatly interest me are those in Molecular Medicine. Upon going through the research activities and publications that were carried out under Dr.Joan J. Guinovart and Dr.Antonio Zorzano, I find that their works correspond to my area of research interests. Further I feel that the multidisciplinary approach involving a combination of several techniques, ranging from basic molecular biology and cell biology procedures to experiments in-vivo adopted at their laboratories at IRB will enlarge my expertise and vision to fulfill my career goals.
In the long run, my career goals after completing PhD include joining a reputed University as a faculty member or researcher either in my home country India or abroad. Though I have spent my childhood in Saudi Arabia and college years in India, I have also been fascinated by Europe, both in terms of research and the place as such. I came across University of Barcelona in Spain, while I was reading the book "Advice for the Young Investigator" by Santiago Ramon y Cajal which I found highly inspiring. I have also learnt French during my college days, thinking that I may require it in the future during my graduate studies. I could learn it with ease and understood that it is possible to gain good command over a foreign language with determination. After getting detailed information from IRB website, I have taken the decision to apply for this PhD programme. I believe that IRB is the right place for my growth both on an academic and personal level.