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Introducing Dr. Jahnavi Punekar

We would like to welcome Dr. Jahnavi Punekar to the IIT Bombay family. She joined the Department of Earth Science this year.


She pursued her Bachelors in Geology from St. Xavier’s College in 2007, University of Mumbai and her Masters in Geology from Department of Earth Sciences, IIT Bombay, 2009. She then went to Princeton University and complied her Ph.D. in Geosciences in 2015.

Dr. Jahnavi worked as a Research Assistant from 2010-2015 at Princeton University.  She has also served as an Assistant Professor at Earth and Climate Science Program, IISER Pune from February 2016 to June 2017 before joining IIT Bombay.

Speaking on her Research Interests she mentions topics like Foraminifera, Biostratigraphy, Palaeoclimatic/

Palaeoenvironmental/Palaeoecological reconstructions and Geochemistry of major climatic and faunal turnover events in Earth history.

When asked about her area of specialization and the recent developments in it which according to her will have a great impact in the future she says that one of the most interesting outcomes of her research is the climate change - ocean acidification- biological crisis have occurred multiple times in the life’s history on earth. This according to her is highly relevant to humans today as we are on the verge or maybe even in the middle of a global environmental crisis right now! Learning from the historic crisis events would be a powerful tool to understand (and respect) the thresholds of our ecosystem and mitigate the anthropogenic damage to whatever extent we can. 

Talking about her future plans at IIT Bombay and what she aims at achieving she mentions that she wants to set a  dedicated "Palaeo-reconstructions Lab" in the Department of Earth Sciences at IIT Bombay where she hopes to have multi-disciplinary facilities to explore the biogeochemical nature of major mass extinction and faunal turnover events in Earth history. 

Sharing her thoughts on engaging students inside as well as outside the classroom, she mentions that with her little experience in teaching she believes that the teaching technique depends on the age/stage of the students, and the number of students in the class.She further adds  that for large batches of over 100 undergraduate students,traditional teaching methods often fail. But screening science documentaries and holding debates work. For smaller batches, nothing beats classical teaching, aided by audio-visual enhancements. She still believes that she is experimenting on  the most effective way to communicate and create interest in them. Outside the classroom she plans to hold weekly science documentary screening sessions followed by debates and discussions if the students are interested

Speaking of her spare time interests she mentions her interest in art and music and the healing capabilities they possess and she also is fond of experimental cooking.