Deepti Gupta - Scientific Database Curator
Every protein structure is a masterpiece of nature revealed to us through the lens of science - a perfect blend of science and art.
Deepti Gupta, Scientific Database Curator at EMBL-EBI
As a Scientific Database Curator in the , Deepti makes sure that the 3D protein structures that scientists submit are consistent and of the highest quality.
What do you do at EMBL-EBI?
I curate – or “clean up” – the protein structures that scientists around the world submit to PDBe, making the data useful to others. Consistency is crucial for scientific databases, so my task is to spot, investigate and clarify any disparities or errors by working with the submitters. It’s a bit like quality control for biological data.
I have also initiated work with the team to integrate macromolecular complexes into PDBe. This gives researchers a more comprehensive biological context for the molecule they’re interested in.
Alongside annotation, I also lead the project that introduces school children in Cambridgeshire to the beauty – and importance – of proteins. The students create works of art inspired by their favourite molecules. Some of this artwork is featured in our annual calendar, which is widely distributed to scientists around the world. The students have produced paintings, sketches, sculptures, ceramics and even fashion designs, some of which are truly stunning!
What did you do before EMBL-EBI?
I did my PhD in biochemistry at the University of Cambridge followed by postdoctoral research at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB). Thereafter I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for four years to build my experience on the commercial aspects of science.
Throughout this time, I was a wetlab scientist investigating protein structures but my interest in bioinformatics led me to my current role. Joining PDBe has been a great opportunity to satisfy my natural curiosity about structural biology.
What advice would you give someone who wants to join EMBL-EBI?
Visit our green and beautiful campus, talk to the people who work here and discover the exciting projects that are going on! Maybe, like me, you will fall in love with it.
Also, the employee benefits are great. The relocation package made the move relatively smooth for me and the on-site nursery meant I could always have my kids close.
What do you like most about working here?
I love how dynamic it is. There is always something new happening and you can get involved in lots of different projects, participate in local events and conferences. People are open to new ideas and collaborations, so if you’ve thought of something exciting, you probably won’t struggle much to get others interested.
There are also many opportunities for gaining transferable skills, so you’re always growing and learning.
What’s the one thing that we couldn’t find out about you from Google?
My stress-buster is cooking. Being a cooking enthusiast goes well with my experimental mindset. I like to try different cuisines and come up with quick, delicious recipes. Time is of the essence and I have always followed the mantra ‘always do your best’, which keeps me motivated in anything I do.