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S1 | 06 Kanika Khanna

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Kanika Khanna is currently a postdoc at Stanford studying the mechanistic basis of bacteria-host interactions. During her Ph.D., she studied how bacteria grow and divide using high-resolution cryo-electron microscopy imaging methods.

During her spare time, she likes to indulge in crafts including 3D origami and crochet. She usually crochets blankets, hats, scarves for her near and dear ones. But during the pandemic, she challenged herself by crocheting life-sized portraits of Indian Women in STEM.

Her first crochet portrait is that of Janaki Ammal, India's first woman Ph.D. in Botany and the first woman scientist to be conferred a Padma Shri in 1977. Amongst her most notable achievements are the development of a sweeter variety of the sugarcane plant and the restructuring of the Botanical Survey of India. She is the reason why our sugar is sweeter and doesn't have to depend on exports of sugar.

Kanika's second crochet portrait is that of Kamala Sohonie, India's first who became the first Indian woman to receive a PhD in any scientific discipline at a British university in 1939. She worked on the effects of vitamins and nutrition in other staple food items. She received the Rashtrapati Award for her work on the drink 'Neera' (palm extract), an important food for malnourished children.