Bio Matters: U.S. publications in India put scientist on road to Oklahoma

Published: Sunday, January 25, 2015 By: Jim Stafford Source: The Oklahoman

As he pursued a master’s degree in Biochemistry in his native India, Kumar Sripathirathan was drawn to the library at the American consulate in the city of Chennai along India’s southeast coast.

The young Indian student was a regular visitor to the library. There he discovered books and journals by American authors that sparked both his scientific interest and his curiosity about the United States.

“It drove my imagination and, I would say, fascination with science because they went into so much great detail about evolution, biochemistry, embryology and how things work,” Sripathirathan told me as we sat in his office at Oklahoma City’s Drik Safety Testing, a preclinical toxicology services laboratory for drug safety evaluation.

“I just always had a fascination about developments that were happening in the U.S,” he said.

The son of a housekeeper and a banker, Sripathirathan went on to earn his Ph.D. in 1998, and soon made his first visit to the United States at a scientific meeting in Seattle.

“When I was in Seattle, I went to the Boeing factory,” he said. “It blew my mind. It was so huge, so big and gave me an idea of the capabilities and strengths of this country.”

Sripathirathan subsequently was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship at Loyola University in Chicago. Then he moved to the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and earned a second master’s in clinical research.

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