LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. — Dr. Sankaranarayana Chandramohan is a professor of anatomy/physiology and microbiology at Palm Beach State College. Everyone there calls him "Dr. Chandra." He grew up in Nagercoil, India. It is the most southern tip of the country.
"It's very tropical," Chandramohan said. "There's lots of palms and coconuts and beaches, like Florida."
Chandramohan was mostly raised by his mother and siblings.
"She had a lot of practical knowledge and wisdom with her years of experience and, more importantly, she trusted me that, you know, I can do whatever I want," Chandramohan said. "I can become whatever I want, if I trusted myself, and she believed in me."
That belief and motivation carried him through his studies and professional career into science. Chandramohan's curiosity of how things work led him to microbiology.
"I wanted to explore more about the role of microorganisms and everything, every living thing plays in this whole ecosystem," Chandramohan said. "So how can, you know, such a small living thing like a microorganism can do wonderful things that can benefit humanity, besides being harmful pathogens?"
Chandramohan considers himself adventurous. He headed to the U.S. to push the limit. He received his doctorate from the University of Florida. He stayed there for years being a research associate and a biological scientist.
Chandramohan's passion for that led him to become a professor at Palm Beach State College. There he created e-text books in 2013 in efforts to make college books more accessible and saving students hundreds of dollars. He also helped launch the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program at the college in hopes to inspire the next generation for a better future.
"Their excitement feeds into my excitement," he said. "Their energy is my energy, so it's a vicious cycle."
His work and accomplishments have led him to receive many accolades, including being nominated for the Heroes in Medicine Award and receiving the Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award in 2020.
Chandramohan said he couldn't have done all what he has accomplished without his mother's support.
"That belief carried me through lifelong and still she lives within me," Chandramohan said. "So many of the things I do for the community, I credit to her belief in me and I continue her vision."