Ritu Raman, Ph.D., is an engineer with a passion for biohybrid design: building machines powered by biological materials that work with the human body to fight disease and damage. She has led several initiatives to introduce the next generation to this emerging discipline, including authoring a general audience book titled Biofabrication (MIT Press, Fall 2021). Ritu is currently a postdoctoral fellow advised by Prof. Robert Langer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, funded by a L’Oréal USA Women in Science Fellowship and NASEM Ford Foundation Fellowship.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early Bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?

Pro-pun

3 Do you have any pets?

I aspire to have a dog!

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

Yes

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?

Cooking

6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?

Both

7 Do you speak any other languages?

Yes

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

I’d be a writer, maybe a journalist who evolves into authoring books

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?

I’d go to medical school instead of getting an engineering PhD

10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

Kauai, but only if I can bring the people I love

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?

Healing

12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

Funny podcasts like “Hello from the Magic Tavern” or anything that makes you smile

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Go for a long outdoors run, read a good book, and spend time with loved ones

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

Lots of social time with family and friends, libraries, and ice cream

15 What beverage gives you life?

Tea (special points to bubble tea)

16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

Impossible to pick just one, but PG Wodehouse novels encouraged my predisposition towards optimism

17 What did you want to be when you grew up?

An inventor/writer

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

Wanting to have a positive impact on the people around me

19 What got you excited in science?

Wanting to solve problems that had never been solved before

20 What excites you about science now?

The fact that it’s always changing – you can’t get bored of it!

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

I eat a truly embarrassing amount of ice cream with a regularity that would surprise most people

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

Speed reading

23 What is your favorite game?

Scrabble

24 What is the last book you read?

I reread the Hermux Tantamoq series and highly recommend it for a dose of warm fuzzies

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

Don’t focus on following your passions, focus on how you can use your talents to help other people

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

Become a better swimmer

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

Focus less on what other people might think about you

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Time with people you love and trust completely

29 What is the last thing you watched?

I finally got around to watching The Office!

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

Not sure it’s weird, but maybe a small tool kit?! I like to be prepared

31 What is your favorite animal?

Elephant

32 What is your favorite book?

I refuse to pick one, every good book has a special place in my heart

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Anything my mom makes

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

Thanksgiving

35 What is your favorite plant?

Jasmine

36 What is your favorite science fact?

Elephants are close to their families and mourn their dead

37 What is your favorite season?

Fall

38 What is your favorite smell?

Jasmine, hence it’s my favorite plant haha

39 What is your favorite sound?

My mom’s singing

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

Optimism

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?

gratitude

42 What is your proudest moment?

Anytime I make my parents proud

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Banyan

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

It’s near the ocean

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I often wish I were a whole lot funnier and could be a stand-up comedian

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

@DrSimoneDouglas