Raghavendra Ramachanderan

PhD student at ETH Zurich

I'm Raj, a doctoral candidate in the Platt group, and I'm working towards equipping bacteria with tools to detect pathology in the human gut. I help bacteria learn new tricks–to sense volatile chemicals that indicate disease, and to improve upon Transcriptional Recording, a stunning new technology developed by the group to dissect bacterial physiology.
I grew up in the Indian south, in Chennai, next to the sea, where the heat of the city is rivalled only by the warmth of its people. I moved to Germany for my post-secondary education, pursuing a bachelor's in Regensburg and a master's in Heidelberg, before moving to Basel.

Through this journey, science, literature and music have been my indispensable succour. I have lost myself in the pages of microbiology as much as I have snuggled into the pages of fiction or lapsed into meditations on Indian classical music. I have borrowed so much from them all, and I'm inspired to weld the gaps between them. I'm still uncertain how, but I'd venture the answer (as most answers are) lies in art.

Film in particular is such a permissive and arresting art form. I have enjoyed little opportunity to exchange thoughts with its makers and connoisseurs. And that is what I'm most looking forward to from the Locarno Film Festival: to see how others around me think and frame their lives in stories and art, to experience their synthesis of Thought and Expression, and perhaps, with a bit of luck, add a brushstroke to the canvas myself.