An Indian-Australian scientist is in the running for a nomination for 2018 TV Week Logie Awards for his work as a television host for ABC series, Ask The Doctor.
“I am very excited. I have been communicating and talking about health and medicine since high school. I have been very passionate about sharing health facts with people and this series gave me that opportunity,” says 39-year-old Dr Shalin Naik, who works as a Laboratory Head in the Molecular Medicine division at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne.
Dr Naik, who has been working on understanding how stem cells and immune system work to help find better therapies for diseases like auto-immune disease and cancer since 2000, says the opportunity to be the host for Ask The Doctor came in 2016.
“Towards the end of 2016, ABC was looking for scientists and doctors who could communicate well and my institute recommended my name. They wanted new and diverse faces and that’s how I got selected.
“I thought it was an ultimate opportunity where I would get a chance to talk about health and medicine not just to friends and family but to the entire nation which was scientifically factual and entertaining at the same time,” he told SBS Hindi.
Used to working in labs, Dr Naik soon learnt television was a completely different ball game.
“I realised there is a lot of repetition when you are filming. And it can take an entire day of filming to get couple of minutes of footage,” he shares.
Filming for twelve episodes on different health issues was exciting, he recalls.
“In the first episode, I had to wear a cold suit to lower my body temperature and get into a MRI machine. While I lay completely still in the machine for 90 minutes, I was thinking, “What am I doing here?” he laughs.
The series aired in May 2017 on national television.
“The response was amazing. My parents wanted me to become a doctor but I became a scientist. When they saw me on television, they were incredibly proud of me and told all their friends.
“They even feature in the series where we are discussing gut and bacteria. I even got to say ‘bhinda nu shaak’ (Okra subzi) on national television when my mother is shown cooking it for a meal,” he shares.
Married to a scientist, Dr Naik says, “My wife is equally passionate about communicating facts about health and medicine so she was thrilled too when i got to do it on tv. We found it strange when people would stop me in the street and recognise me.”
Dr Naik’s role as a host has now earned him an opportunity to earn a Logie nomination.
“I came to know from the producer of the show that I have been nominated. There is a long way to go as I need votes to make it to the red carpet.
“I want to wear a tuxedo and go to Logies and tell the world that I was there,” he says.
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