Atom Sarkar - Steady Surgeon

From a young age, Atom Sarkar’s innate curiosity in understanding the mysteries of the world was piqued by his father, a biophysicist, and the projects he worked on. Sarkar’s first attempt at science was constructing a duplicate of his father’s electron microscope out of tin cans. That enthusiasm and drive for scientific discovery stayed with him while studying at schools like Brown and Columbia. He eventually ended up at Ohio State’s Department of Neurosurgery to tackle the biggest mystery of all: the mind.

“The mind is really the greatest mystery out there,” Sarkar says. “It’s been evolving for millions of years, and we really don’t have a complete understanding of it all.”

With the idea of trying to understand the brain on every level, Sarkar earned a Ph.D. and an M.D. while working his way through the halls of numerous upper-tier colleges. He looks at the mind with two hats—the researcher and the doctor. He’s interested in what causes the disease and how to cure it. This can be seen by the duality of his time spent in surgery and his time spent working on Nanomedicine in a lab that bears his name at Ohio State.

“The whole idea of Nanomedicine is kind of like that movie Fantastic Voyage,” Sarkar says. “We’re trying to trace the cause and root of the disease through Nanotechnology.”

Sarkar spends more of his time actually correcting and combating brain disease in the operating room. He admits that conducting the actual surgery is the most enjoyable part of his job. He can get away from the paperwork and everything else going on in the quiet of the operating room and focus on what his job is really all about—helping people.

“I might not be a football player or an actor,” Sarkar says, “but I think I have the best damn job out there.”

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