Graduate Student Profile

Sam Majumder

Sam Majumder blurred shadow drop
Sam Majumder
Sam Majumder

Kolkata, West Bengal, India

College:

College of Sciences

Degree Program:

Integrative and Conservation Biology PhD

Research Focus:

Botanical Machine Learning


As a child growing up without siblings, Sam Majumder took advantage of his imagination to keep him occupied. The broad range of toys he had, helped him to critically think through how to make all the toys work together in a cohesive story. “In other words, I was ‘Joining the Dots’ to get/create a full picture,” he says. He imagined the dots as action figures and the picture as the stage with its own background. The way he imagined his toys helped him integrate his courses during his undergraduate experience to better understand how biotechnology works.

Majumder earned a bachelor of Technology degree in Biotechnology from the West Bengal University of Technology. Hired as an intern, he worked for the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, a national cancer research institute in his hometown. From there, he decided to study at the University of Giessen, Germany to earn his master’s degree in Agro-Biotechnology. He continued to conduct research there working at the Leibniz Institute for Plant Genetics and Crop Science Research.

Impressed by the wide variety of research done at UCF, Majumder decided to pursue his third degree in yet another country. Although he can use these diverse experiences and knowledge to his benefit, the experience of living in three different countries while pursuing an educational career has shaped him into who he is today in more ways than one. He says, “Living in different parts of the world for about six years now, I did encounter my share of microaggression stereotype and discrimination. I want to contribute and do whatever I can to help create a system which is more inclusive and accessible to all sections of society.”

He is currently pursuing an Integrative and Conservative Biology PhD and considers himself fortunate to be part of the university. “It makes me feel really happy to see in real-time the various research projects blossoming into something amazing right in front of our eyes,” he says. “I like how the Biology Department and UCF, in general, provide a platform for young scientists like me to evolve.”

Majumder’s research is focused on three different topics including understanding how 28 species of wild sunflowers have evolved. He aims to look at the life history and evolutionary timeline to discover how these species might have interacted differently with the environment and now have subtle differences. His other research includes understanding how biosynthetic pathways have evolved in terrestrial plant species and in using machine learning to forecast and understand global agricultural output for specific crops.

His passion for science isn’t just reflected through his research at the college level. Majumder participates in the “Skype a Scientist” program where he is given the opportunity to volunteer at three public schools in Utah, Wisconsin, and Ohio answering questions and speaking on what it means to be a scientist.

“We have the responsibility of making knowledge accessible to everyone.,” he says. “A well-informed population can make sensible decisions.”

After graduation, Majumder plans on working in basic and applied science through the pursuit of Data Scientist positions for agricultural industries. He would also like to continue pursuing research projects in academia and working for a government agency to solve real-world problems.

Highlights:

  • Earned degrees in three countries
  • "Skype a Scientist" program volunteer
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