Arjan Banerjee

Arjan Banerjee
Affiliation: 
Graduate Student
Place of Birth: 
Calcutta, India
Department / Division: 
Biology; Genomics and Bioinformatics

UTM is the perfect size for creating community at a university.

Arjan Banerjee

Arjan Banerjee first set foot on Canadian soil in 2011 when he arrived from India for his first year as a University of Toronto Mississauga undergraduate, and he now considers it a second home. He moved into residence on the UTM campus and quickly became part of the community.

“Don’t ask me for an unbiased opinion of residence,” says Banerjee, who served for two years as a residence don and a year as a program assistant, overseeing other dons. “I love it. The people make it. It’s wonderful having other young people around.”

Banerjee came across UTM when he was researching schools that would allow him to study subjects outside his major.

“I was drawn by the openness of the subject combinations offered,” he says. “At home, you can’t combine a major with other interests. In my first year, I knew I’d made the right decision; I took lots of biology and courses in English, classical civilizations and anthropology, subjects not related to biology at all.”

Banerjee graduated with a specialist in biology and a minor in classical civilizations and moved on to pursue a PhD in genomics and bioinformatics under the supervision of Professor Sasa Stefanovic. He is exploring host-parasitic interaction in plants and how their genomes have changed in response to their evolution to a parasitic lifestyle. Outside of the laboratory, he devotes time to working as a teaching assistant, volunteering as a Let’s Talk Science co-ordinator for the campus and serving as president of the UTM Association of Graduate Students. As an undergraduate, his involvement on campus led to an opportunity to represent UTM at the Canadian Conference for Student Leadership and to recognition with various awards: the Volunteer Recognition Award (2013, 2014); the Principal's Involvement Award (2014); and a Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award (2014).

“I try to be involved,” Banerjee says. “My parents drilled into us the concept that extracurricular activities are as much a part of education as classes are.”

Banerjee has never regretted the leap of faith that brought him thousands of kilometres to pursue an education.

“UTM is the perfect size for creating community at a university,” he says. “It is large enough to provide all the support services you need, but small enough that it feels like a community. You meet all kinds of people and make real connections; people are always willing to help; and the campus is beautiful.”